Thursday 11 August 2016

The Gold of Devils Tower

Near the northeast corner of Wyoming is a striking mountain of igneous rock that looks like a gigantic tree-stump.

Columns run vertically up the top part of the rock like giant scratches. The name given to the mountain by the white man was "Devils Tower." The Indians had many names for it. One of them was "Bear Lodge." According to legend, while exploring the rocks at the base of the mountain, natives discovered a passageway underneath it.

They made torches out of pitch pine knots for light and started exploring the tunnel. They found the passage strewn with bones. Perhaps human bones.
At the end, the tunnel opened up into a cave with an underground lake some 25 yards long and more than 15 yards wide. Around the lake were large quantities of gold.
No hidden passages have ever been found. Geologists agree that Devils Tower was formed by the intrusion of igneous material, but they cannot agree on exactly how that process took place.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Devils Tower as Americas' first national monument.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Liquid mercury found under Mexican pyramid could lead to king's tomb

View of the Pyramid of the Moon from the Pyramid of the Sun
An archaeologist has discovered liquid mercury at the end of a tunnel beneath a Mexican pyramid, a finding that could suggest the existence of a king’s tomb or a ritual chamber far below one of the most ancient cities of the Americas. A researcher reported that he had discovered “large quantities” of liquid mercury in a chamber below the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, the third largest pyramid of Teotihuacan.
Last November the team announced they had found three chambers at the tunnel’s 300ft end, 60 feet below the temple. Near the entrance of the chambers, they found a trove of strange artifacts: jade statues, jaguar remains, a box filled with carved shells and rubber balls. Mercury is toxic and capable of devastating the human body through prolonged exposure; the liquid metal had no apparent practical purpose for ancient Mesoamericans. But it has been discovered at other sites.

The mercury may have symbolized an underworld river or lake. Mirrors were considered a way to look into the supernatural world ... a way to divine what might happen in the future. Ancient Mesoamericans could produce liquid mercury by heating mercury ore, known as cinnabar, which they also used for its blood-red pigment. The Maya used cinnabar to decorate jade objects and color the bodies of their royalty.

The Quetzalcoatl Temple stairway.
A royal tomb could lend credence to the theory that the city, which flourished between 100-700AD, was ruled by dynasties in the manner of the Maya.

Friday 5 August 2016

Christie’s Out of the Ordinary Auction

A set of brass keys from the Titanic
Around 100 curios that have been amassed over 40 years by Jersey-based collector David Gainsborough Roberts will go up for auction on September 14 for the 250th anniversary of the annual sale which celebrates unique and unusual lots.

Christie’s Out of the Ordinary – the 250th Anniversary Edition, begins on August 6 with the sale taking place on September 14.

A red silk and gold thread scarf belonging to Thomas Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
Jack Dempsey's world heavyweight title belt is estimated at up to £15,000A Stetson hat belonging to Sir Winston Churchill
From previous sales.

Clockwise, from top left: Michael Jackson’s Thriller jacket: £940,000, Marilyn Monroe’s X-rays: £30,000, John Lennon’s tooth: £20,000, Elvis Presley’s bible: £59,000, Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat: £1.5 million Princess Diana’s ‘Travolta’ dress: £240,000

Thursday 4 August 2016

Cool Crystals

Kunzite from Minas Gerais, Brazil

Anglesite from Ouida, Morocco

Painite - Four painites crisscrossing with small rubies. From Wetloo Mine, Mogok, Burma.

Sapphire Blue saphire crystal. From Sri Lanka.

Aquamarine in feldspar. Skardu, Pakistan.

Spinel from Mogok, Burma.

Calcite from Chihuahua, Mexico.

Tourmaline with Cleavlandite - Himalaya Mine, USA

Heliodor from Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine.

Dioptase from Tsumeb, Nambia

Peridot from Indus River, Pakistan.

Rosasite from Durango, Mexico.

Tarbuttite from Karas Region, Nambia.

Tourmaline with Cleavlandite - Himalaya Mine, USA

Fire Agate - Only found in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.

Fire Opal - From the state of Querétaro, Mexico.

Aquamarine. From Sakangyi, Burma.

Amethyst - scepters of amethyst. From Madres, India

Nevada Turquoise

Almandine Garnet, Larimer County, Colorado

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Largest Man-Made holes on earth

The Bingham Canyon Mine is a copper mine in the Oquirrh mountains, Utah. The mine is 0.75 mile (1.2 km) deep, 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, and is the largest man-made excavation on earth.

A landslide in 2013 was detected on seismic networks.
The Mirny Diamond Mine is 525m deep and has a diameter of 1200m. It was the first, and one of the largest, diamond pipes in the USSR. It is now abandoned.

While it was still operational, it would take two hours for trucks to drive from the top to the bottom of the mine.
The Udachnaya Pipe is a diamond mine in Russia. In ceased open pit operations in 2010 in favor of underground mining. The mine was discovered in 1955 and is over 600 meters deep.
The Kimberley Diamond Mine holds the disputed title of being the largest hand-dug hole in the world.

From 1866 to 1914, 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, yielding 2,722 kg of diamonds.