Sebastopol 4 a.m.: Jewelry artist Aaron Poovey loaded his gear in the back of the Suburban and we were off for Barstow in the Mojave Desert, the first leg of our rock show trip. 2 p.m. Barstow, Ca.: We checked in and unpacked a few things for the one-night stay. Our first shop stop was the famous Diamond Pacific factory and showroom in Barstow. The company makes some of the best lapidary equipment in the business. As I drifted through the display cases Aaron was in an animated conversation with the owner. I picked up my pitiful pile of goodies to be rung up as Aaron was just coming back from the car where he had stowed two big blocks of turquoise. This was the first of many high end purchases he made on the trip. You see he actually cuts, polishes and set the stones in his workshop, then closes by selling his art to happy buyers. I have ambitions in that direction but my stuff never leaves the storage boxes in my shop, I just keep buying more. Most of what I produce becomes gifts for my family and friends. None the less, my heart pumps faster around the natural beauty of stones, I get weak in the wallet and add to my horde.
Next morning, we drove four hours to Blyth, Ca. and checked in to our hotel; we then drove the twenty miles to Quartzite, Arizona. The huge open lot vendors are always fun, we find goods that the seller has dug up with his or her own hands as well as polished, shiny boxed merchandise from.... wait for it...China! The Desert Gardens is the biggest venue for rough stone in Quartzite. The Gardens were only half full at this late date, many had pulled up, packed up and headed to Tucson for the two-week show there. I found a vendor with good quality dinosaur bone fossil, one of my favorite things.
Just holding a Dinosaur bone fossil makes me think of the beast that lived sixty-five million years ago. What was it like, what species, age, cause of death and other questions? The theory is that they all perished in the fifth world-wide extinction known as the K5. This was an asteroid that hit the earth near the Yucatan peninsula, known as the Chicxulub impact. The cloud from that impact caused so much debris aloft that it was many years before the earth recovered. The fossil record of that event is a consistent layer of chalk that settled back down on the earth surface. This chalk layer has many times more of the rare mineral Iridium than is typical in earth rocks, more typical of an asteroid. This layer was first found and verified by a German scientist in the Netherlands. In German ‘chalk’ begins with the letter K. The layer is known as the Paleogene boundary in the fossil record, thus the name is the K-Pg event. This is the fifth world-wide extinction in the fossil record, in abbreviation: K-5. Thus began the Cenozoic era, which is the current time in which we live. This massive change opened the earth to another species to evolve of which we are one. The bit of dinosaur bone fossil in hand is no younger than 66 MYO (million years old) and could be as far back as 200 MYO when dinosaurs first evolved late in the Triassic period. To learn more, Google the subject, to see pictures Google Image your search.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.