Saturday, February 16, 2013

Space Rocks!

I have to admit, I think rocks are cool. I had a rock collection of mostly found mineral specimens throughout my youth and in fact, I never parted with that collection or my admiration for minerals and geology.

Back in the late 60's and early 70's, my Dad and I would take our rock picks and hike some of the quarries and old mines open in rural Connecticut. An old silver mine near our house yielded some lovely pale purple amethyst crystals, and at other sites we found quartz, veins of copper ore and garnets. Today these areas are gone.The mine was filled in when another housing development was built and the other spots are parking lots or highways, but this experience outdoors with my Dad, literally hunting for treasure is indelibly etched into my personality. I never walk a beach without searching for stones and when hiking or camping I've got my eyes peeled for interesting specimens. Even around town, I've found tiny geodes in the pebble landscaping around malls or restaurants and yes, I still get the "finder's thrill." I have panned for gold, found fossilized bones, arrowheads, ancient beads, bits of jade, and a meteorite...

The excitement over the flyby of asteroid DA14 and the unexpected meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia brought back my meteor memories from when I was a 4th grader in Massachusetts. Back then, kids could be outside after dinner and I was a big stargazer. I saw a green/yellow streak just above the trees and ran up the street to see where it landed; it disappeared behind a house next to the paved path to school. I planned to search that backyard after school. It took about an hour but I did find a weird rock; it looked like rusted metal but without the weight, was smooth and burnt.  My Dad took it to the local science museum but they couldn't identify it, so I tucked it away as my little bit of the greater galaxy.

This weekend I got it out and thought it would be interesting to share. Our planet is amazing but to think we are surrounded by the vastness and mysterious expanse of space is beyond incredible. The intersection we on planet Earth have had with the universe these last couple of days shows how puny we are compared to the power of some falling space rock.

No comments:

Post a Comment