Tuesday, February 21, 2017
In the summer of 1980, a friend of mine and I drove over from Bartlesville, Oklahoma to Hot Springs, Arkansas. This was not a desperate bid to escape Bartlesville. We were hunting quartz crystals, for which Hot Springs is justly famous. The hot springs for which the town is named encouraged the growth of quartz crystals in fractures deep in the rock. I have seen crystals more than a yard long from Hot Springs. We didn't find any that big, and the ones we got looked rusty. This is where being a geology graduate student came in handy. When I got home to Lawrence, Kansas, at the end of the summer, I popped my crystals into a large beaker of dilute HCl and boiled it. (In a chemical hood, of course; don't try this at home!) We didn't get all of the iron oxide off, but we did remove most of it. Last week I found this specimen in a box of stuff and thought it would be a good opportunity to find out how good my cell phone camera is at doing macrophotography. It could be better, and it could be worse.