Malachite
WARRNAMBOOL GEM CLUB
CANADIAN ROCKIES, AMMONITES & FOSSILS In 2012 I travelled to the adjoining Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta in western Canada. The region is rich geologically and contains many gem & mineral resources. The photos below summarise some of the features which will hopefully be of interest to gem/mineral/fossil enthusiasts.

Trans-Canada

highway, B.C.

Mt Robson, on the trans-Canada highway, B.C. The highest mountain in the Canadian rockies. The Athabasca Glacier is part of the Columbia Icefield, which covers an area of about 200 square km. The glacier flows down hill at around 15 - 20 m per year at the lower end, but at  up to 127 m per year in the upper part. At the  lower end of the Athabasca Glacier you can see on the left side part of the ‘lateral moraine’ deposited by the glacier. Lateral moraines consist of rock debris and sediment that have come loose from the walls beside a valley glacier and have built up in ridges along the sides of the glacier. The Saskatchewan Glacier, showing the lateral moraine on the LHS of the valley and the glacial till (rock & soil carried by the glacier) on the valley floor downstream of the glacier. Lake Louise, in the Rocky Mountains, showing several glaciers in the distance. In the city of Canmore, Alberta, there is an Ammonite factory which I visited. The pictures in this slide show some of the Ammonite specimens and gem material on display. THE ROYAL TYRELL MUSEUM OF PALAEONTOLOGY  is located in Drumheller in Alberta. This museum contains a large number of spectacular dinosaur skeletons recovered in the region. It provides an excellent insight into the wide range of fossils which have been discovered in Alberta, varying from the enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex to the lovely Ammonites. DINOSAUR PROVINCIAL PARK South of the Royal Tyrell Museum is Dinosaur Provincial Park, located in the ‘Badlands’ (a dry eroded area which contains extensive fossil deposits). In Dinosaur Provincial Park, there are many areas where large numbers of fossils are found together, covering large areas. It is believed that the large numbers of dinosaur fossils found in this area may be the result of a natural disaster such as a tsunami, as the area was next to an ancient inland sea at the time!  
Close up view of Canadian Ammonite shell
The photo to the left shows you a view of Moraine lake, located near Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. It has formed behind a ‘terminal moraine’ as a result of glacial action. The photo to the left shows you a view of Moraine lake, located near Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. It has formed behind a ‘terminal moraine’ as a result of glacial action.
While driving through Washington State, along hwy 90, I visited Ginkgo Petrified Forest state park. At a local rock shop I got to see some of the material which had been collected from the area. Quite spectacular. See the four photos to the left.
THE HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is located on the island of Hawai’i, or the ‘big island’. The park includes part of Mauna Loa volcano and also contains Kilauea volcano, two of the most active volcanoes in the world. Over the last 200 years they have erupted, on average, every 2 or 3 years. Most eruptions of these volcanoes are non-explosive and the volcanoes are monitored by the USGS (US Geological Survey). Hawaiian lava is highly fluid and mainly composed of basalt. This fluidity reduces the likelihood of explosive eruptions. Most eruptions begin with lava fountains spouting from a series of fissures. In 1959 a lava fountain some 580 m high was observed. ABOVE AND LEFT: KILAUEA volcano showing steam from the vent. At night the glow of the lava is clearly visible. LEFT: This photo shows Kilauea volcano at night. The lava lake in the vent causes the glow in the gases escaping from the vent. This is the same crater shown above left. L:  Looking over the crater of Kilauea Iki, showing the once-molten lake of lava on the crater floor. Kiauea’s vent is visible in the background. Kilauea means “spewing”, which is what happened on 14/11/1959 when a curtain of lava burst from a 800 m long fissure in the crater wall. Over five weeks molten rock flooded the crater, creating a lake of lava that rose halfway up the crater walls (some 120m high, approximately 86 million tonnes of lava). Note the cinder cone, Pu’u Pua’I, in the centre of the photo. This  cone did not exist prior to the 1959 eruption. The reddish-brown cavity at the base of this cone was the main vent from which lava erupted, surging some 580 m above the vent. [See the photo below left] During one eruptive episode spatter (blobs of molten rock) up to one metre in diameter shot across the crater landing near where this photo was taken! Note the main vent (reddish-brown) at the base of the cone. There are people walking across the floor of the crater which provides an indication of the size of the crater. A small part of the floor of the crater of Kilauea Iki. When the vent stopped erupting (after being submerged by the lava lake) the molten lava drained back into the vent. As this occurred the lava crust subsided and broke in to the surface you see today. There are still active steam vents on the crater floor. The road was closed by the lava flow in 2003. A black sand beach formed from the lava flows. You can also visit green beaches (olivine) and white beaches (coral) on the ‘big island’. Vegetation is slowly returning to the lava flows. Initially lichen and mosses appear, then small ferns in the cracks in the lava, then larger plants. Note the interesting lava shape in the middle of the picture. ‘Holei’ Sea Arch, some 18 m high, where the lava flows are being eroded by the sea. The two photos left, plus the one below, are of the Moku’aweoweo caldera at the summit of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawai’i (the ‘big island’). The summit is 4169 m above sea level. These photos were taken from a helicopter in misty/rainy conditions, typical of the area. They clearly show the molten lava in the crater.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Elbaite crystals
WARRNAMBOOL GEM CLUB
CANADIAN ROCKIES, AMMONITES & FOSSILS In 2012 I travelled to the adjoining Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta in western Canada. The region is rich geologically and contains many gem & mineral resources. The photos below summarise some of the features which will hopefully be of interest to gem/mineral/fossil enthusiasts.

Trans-Canada

highway, B.C.

Mt Robson, on the trans- Canada highway, B.C. The highest mountain in the Canadian rockies. The Athabasca Glacier is part of the Columbia Icefield, which covers an area of about 200 square km. The glacier flows down hill at around 15 - 20 m per year at the lower end, but at  up to 127 m per year in the upper part. At the  lower end of the Athabasca Glacier you can see on the left side part of the ‘lateral moraine’ deposited by the glacier. Lateral moraines consist of rock debris and sediment that have come loose from the walls beside a valley glacier and have built up in ridges along the sides of the glacier. The Saskatchewan Glacier, showing the lateral moraine on the LHS of the valley and the glacial till (rock & soil carried by the glacier) on the valley floor downstream of the glacier. Lake Louise, in the Rocky Mountains, showing several glaciers in the distance.
Close up view of Canadian Ammonite shell
In the city of Canmore, Alberta, there is an Ammonite factory which I visited. The pictures in this slide show (above) show some of the Ammonite specimens and gem material on display. THE ROYAL TYRELL MUSEUM OF PALAEONTOLOGY  is located in Drumheller in Alberta. This museum contains a large number of spectacular dinosaur skeletons recovered in the region. It provides an excellent insight into the wide range of fossils which have been discovered in Alberta, varying from the enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex to the lovely Ammonites. DINOSAUR PROVINCIAL PARK South of the Royal Tyrell Museum is Dinosaur Provincial Park, located in the ‘Badlands’ (a dry eroded area which contains extensive fossil deposits). In Dinosaur Provincial Park, there are many areas where large numbers of fossils are found together, covering large areas. It is believed that the large numbers of dinosaur fossils found in this area may be the result of a natural disaster such as a tsunami, as the area was next to an ancient inland sea at the time!
While driving through Washington State, along hwy 90, I visited Ginkgo Petrified Forest state park. At a local rock shop I got to see some of the material which had been collected from the area. Quite spectacular. See the four photos to the below. The photo (bottom left) shows you a view of Moraine lake, located near Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. It has formed behind a ‘terminal moraine’ as a result of glacial action.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
THE HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is located on  the ‘big island’. The park includes part of Mauna Loa volcano and contains Kilauea volcano, two of the most active volcanoes in the world. Over the last 200 years they have erupted, on average, every 2 or 3 years. Most eruptions are non-explosive and the volcanoes are monitored by the US Geological Survey. Hawaiian lava is highly fluid and mainly composed of basalt.  Most eruptions begin with lava fountains  In 1959 a lava fountain some 580 m high was observed. TOP TWO PHOTOS: KILAUEA volcano showing steam from the vent. At night the glow of the lava is clearly visible. The lava lake in the vent causes the glow in the gases escaping from the vent. L:  Looking over the crater of Kilauea Iki, showing the once-molten lake of lava on the crater floor. Kiauea’s vent is visible in the background. On 14/11/1959 a curtain of lava burst from a 800 m long fissure in the crater wall and flooded the crater, creating a lake of lava some 120m high). Note the cinder cone, Pu’u Pua’I, in the centre of the photo. This  cone did not exist prior to the 1959 eruption. The reddish-brown cavity at the base of this cone was the main vent from which lava erupted, surging some 580 m above the vent. There are people walking across the floor of the crater which provides an indication of the size of the crater. A small part of the floor of the crater of Kilauea Iki. When the vent stopped erupting (after being submerged by the lava lake) the molten lava drained back into the vent. As this occurred the lava crust subsided and broke in to the surface you see today. There are still active steam vents on the crater floor. The road was closed by the lava flow in 2003. A black sand beach formed from the lava flows. You can also visit green beaches (olivine) and white beaches (coral) on the ‘big island’. Vegetation is slowly returning to the lava flows. Initially lichen and mosses appear, then small ferns in the cracks in the lava, then larger plants. Note the interesting lava shape in the middle of the picture. ‘Holei’ Sea Arch, some 18 m high, where the lava flows are being eroded by the sea. The two photos left, plus the one below, are of the Moku’aweoweo caldera at the summit of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawai’i (the ‘big island’). The summit is 4169 m above sea level. These photos were taken from a helicopter in mist/rain. They show the molten lava in the crater.