American Geode visits Centralia, PA Ghost Town

The American Geode team visited abandoned ghost town Centralia, PA to explore this old coal town that had been abandoned, demolished and condemned in the 1990s due to an underground coal mine fire raging since the early 1960s.




Abandoned Old Route 61
Abandoned Old Route 61

Centralia can still be discovered on a map, which is what Joe and Charles followed for a different kind of rockhound adventure. First, how to get to Centralia, PA? We drove on I-80 from Pittsburgh and took the exit for Route 15 South. Route 15 South connects to Route 61, and then you are on your way to Centralia. Passing through coal country, one notices distinctive elements in the towns whose livelihood once depended, or still relies on coal. Many hill sides are open. You drive past a hill with an exposed side, stripped to the anthracite inside. At the base of these hills in many towns are coal mining operations with industrial equipment with the kind of large scale wheels taller in their diameter than a 6 foot tall man. The houses in the towns along Route 61 are row style. Small houses were built side by side in a row for the coal miners and their families so they could remain close to the mine.

While driving Route 61, a sign that you are near Centralia is when the highway turns red. At a point, the entirety of Route 61 is red as it has been covered with flame-retardant substances. At that point you can see that upkeep of the medians, and the shoulders of the road was abandoned years ago. Overgrowth, old light-posts, no light posts and vintage street signs remain.

Part of the Centralia mine fire destroyed a section of Route 61, and it was abandoned and built up at two different points in the area to completely cut off admission to Old Route 61. We were able to find where Old Route 61 was when we came up on this cemetery, and the large yellow arrow sign that directs you away from the area where Old Route 61 was blocked off.

Cemetery near Old Route 61
Cemetery near Old Route 61

Park your car here, and walk opposite where the arrow points to enter Old Route 61
Park your car here, and walk opposite where the arrow points to enter Old Route 61

Wear comfortable shoes, or boots before this hike mind you. American Geode had been in business meetings that day, this rockhound adventure was not planned with our usual high measure of advance preparation, and we were both in expensive dress shoes.
Once you enter Old Route 61 you see a large crack in the street. This crack was caused by the underground mine fire. The area is covered in coal mines and shafts, and many of those shafts were wildcat mines. Illegal mining was common in the area because the anthracite in Centralia is very high quality.

Back to the underground mine fire that has been raging since the early 1960s, the Old Route 61 buckles and cracks in areas where the heat from the underground fire destroyed the stability and integrity of the road. The fire has moved however, and we did not notice or feel any warmth or heat emanating from Old Route 61. In fact, while the American Geode team was exploring Centralia we encountered a group of 5 teenagers with spray paint cans, two separate couples holding hands for a romantic (?) walk, and we even met a TV production team from Ukraine were were reporting on Centralia and the mine fire disaster!

As you walk along Old Route 61, as the photos will attest, you see that nearly every square foot of Old Route 61 is covered in street art and graffiti. We took photos of the street art we liked the most, or found most unusual.

American Geode visits Centralia, PA Ghost Town
American Geode visits Centralia, PA Ghost Town.

American Geode co-founder found his name in Centralia.
American Geode co-founder found his name in Centralia.

Hook 'em Horns!
Hook ’em Horns!

Had we been wearing the right shoes, had a walking stick and our usual rockhound kit with us, American Geode would have ventured off Old Route 61 to explore Centralia for fissures of rising steam. One thing you notice when in Centralia is the lack of wildlife. You hear no birds, and you see no birds in the area. While the area around Centralia is enjoying spring time, tulips blossoming, trees greening, and weeds sprouting, in Centralia the trees and foliage are grey, and struggling to bud, and nothing is flowering.

We walked the length of Old Route 61, observing and occasionally admiring the street art and graffiti, and then returned to our cars. When you leave Centralia, on the new Route 61, your road is still red, and you know you have left Centralia when Route 61 turns the normal, expected shade of black asphalt, and you notice that the shoulders of the road are manicured and green with grass.

Reference for further reading about Centralia courtesy of the New York Times:

Centralia, PA
Centralia, PA

Centralia, PA
Centralia, PA

Centralia, PA
Centralia, PA

Centralia, PA
Centralia, PA

Centralia, PA
Centralia, PA

Centralia, PA
Centralia, PA

Centralia, PA
Centralia, PA

Tulip City Gem and Mineral Show

Tulip City Gem & Mineral Show


A great gem, jewelry, fossil and mineral show coming to beautiful Holland, Michigan by our friends with the Tulip City Gem and Mineral Club.

Tulip City Gem and Mineral Show
Tulip City Gem and Mineral Show

This is an excellent group of skilled, knowledgable and fun rockhounds and gem, mineral and fossil professionals. Some of the best in the mineral business will be at this gem and mineral show that attracts the world class dealers and collectors, as well as academics, rockhounds, families and casual collectors.
Be sure to “tell ’em American Geode sen’cha!” The good folks at the entrance will get a kick out of hearing that you are also friends with American Geode. American Geode has spent time in Holland, on our own proprietary prospecting missions and we attest to the beauty of Michigan, and the fun you can have at this show. Plan your trip in advance and take advantage of the state and national parks, museums and historic landmarks in the area.

Keep updated on the best shows with the American Geode gem, mineral, jewelry and fossil show newswire and calendar!
Watch a short video here for gem, mineral and fossil show tips from the experts!

Santa Clara Valley Gem and Mineral Society festival is this April!

Gem and Mineral Festival


2016 SCVGMS GM&J festival $1 off coupon

The Santa Clara Valley Gem and Mineral Society announces their 61st annual Gem and Mineral Festival on April 16 and 17 at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in the Exposition Hall. Come and celebrate the wonders of our Earth at this fun-filled family event.
This year offers some new and exciting vendors, displays, speakers, and activities for you and your family. Make sure to mark your calendar, and visit our club website www.scvgms.org for discount coupons.
Some of the highlights of our festival are:
• World renowned paleobotanist, Walt Wright will be displaying some of his vast collection of petrified wood. Walt has traveled the world studying and identifying many ancient species of plant life.
• Mr. Richard Wade, a renowned children’s science speaker, will be presenting different interactive talks. Richard is wildly popular with children and has a way of explaining scientific principles while making them fun and memorable. At our festival, Richard will be speaking at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM daily. Topics will be the “Last Days of the Dinosaurs” and “Volcanoes” for ages 4 to 104.
• Fluorescent Rocks and Minerals will also be on display in a darkened area and available for purchase at our festival. This is a must-see for children and adults. The bright “glow-in-the-dark” colors are simply amazing.
• Lapidary Arts demonstrations will be happening throughout each day. Rock tumbling, intarsia, cabochon making, sphere making, stone setting, silver smithing, wire wrapping, and beading are all possible demonstrations. A schedule will be posted at our hospitality table by the front door.
• Donna Kelley will be demonstrating the ancient art of flint knapping throughout both days of the festival. She makes arrowheads from a variety of different materials including obsidian and agate. It requires incredible patience and skill. Donna answers visitor’s questions while she works.
• Children will love our Kids Area. It is a hands-on, interactive area where children of all ages can learn about geology, rocks, minerals, fossils, volcanoes, and more. With their entrance fee of $3.50, children will get a worksheet to complete, a rock bag with 5 specimens, and a show patch, in addition to a fun learning experience. There are special programs for Cub Scouts and Webelos to satisfy their geology-related Adventure requirements and Girl Scouts can earn a fun patch and get a memory wire bracelet kit to make. Scout programs are higher priced according to the extra materials needed to complete their programs. Advanced reservations are not necessary, walk in participation for individuals and groups are welcomed. For more information on the Scouting programs please see our Kids Area webpage .
• Our Scholarship Booth helps support Earth Science and Geology students at local universities. This area has an eclectic mix of minerals, rocks, magazines, and a spinning wheel for children to win a prize. There will also be a station where geodes of various sizes can be selected for purchase and then cut in half by club members while you watch. While supplies last, children will also get a free sample of California’s State Rock, Serpentine. This year, we will be giving four San Jose State University students and one University of California at Santa Cruz student a $1000.00 scholarship each. Don’t miss this, there are lots of interesting things for sale and all of the purchases support our future scientists and geologists.
• There will be 30+ individual display cases from collectors all over California.
• There will be over 50 dealers with a variety of materials and items for sale including gems, beads, rocks, minerals, jewelry, fossils, lapidary equipment, books, and so much more. We will also have dealers who will be demonstrating how to polish, carve, and sculpt rocks and create jewelry. We have many returning dealers, but some new and interesting dealers, too.

The SCVGMS annual show will delight you with its vast offering of activities, displays, speakers, and vendors. Come, bring the family, and be amazed.
2016 SCVGMS GM&J festival $1 off coupon

Keep updated on the best shows with the American Geode gem, mineral, jewelry and fossil show newswire and calendar!
Watch a short video here for gem, mineral and fossil show tips from the experts!

NEW JERSEY EARTH SCIENCE ASSOCIATION GEM & MINERAL SHOW


Learn more about the New Jersey Earth Science Association and their events, membership and activities here.
A great, educational and affordable gem and mineral show is coming to New Jersey next month! Here are the details of this show hosted by the top notch members of the New Jersey Earth Science Association. Bring your questions, bring youngsters, bring your friends, bring cash, and have a great time!
44TH ANNUAL N.J. EARTH SCIENCE ASSOCIATION
GEM & MINERAL SHOW WITH OUTDOOR SWAP

APRIL 23, 2016, SATURDAY
9 AM – 5:30 PM
SWAP OPENS AT 8:00 AM
APRIL 24, 2016, SUNDAY
10 AM – 5 PM
SWAP OPENS AT 9:00 AM

FRANKLIN SCHOOL
50 WASHINGTON AVE.
FRANKLIN, N.J. 07416
DONATION : $6.00 PER PERSON CHILDREN UNDER 14 FREE WITH PAYING ADULT
Learn more about the New Jersey Earth Science Association and their events, membership and activities here.
PURPOSE : To promote popular interest and education in the various Earth Sciences, and in particular the subjects of Geology, Mineralogy, Paleontology and also Lapidary and other related subjects.

MEMBER SOCIETIES:
FRANKLIN-OGDENSBURG MINERALOGICAL SOCIETY
MORRIS MUSEUM MINERALOGICAL SOCIETY
NEW JERSEY LAPIDARY SOCIETY
NEW JERSEY MINERALOGICAL SOCIETY

Keep updated on the best shows with the American Geode gem, mineral, jewelry and fossil show newswire and calendar!
Watch a short video here for gem, mineral and fossil show tips from the experts!