Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dinos in Pop Culture - Paleontology Chocolate!

I was pointed out by my friend Erin a while ago about a blog talking about this website which sold a chocolate T. rex tooth and a chocolate "Megalodon" tooth. Since I wasn't able to do anything about it at the time, I saved the information. Well, I have come back around to it and lo and behold, there is so much more than I thought.

The website is called "The Edible Museum" and it is run by The Sarah Hardy Confectionary. And not only do they have those teeth. They have so much more. I went for the largest item they had, which included all of their available fossils (that I am aware of): The Chocolate Fossil Hamper Box. Which runs for £75.00, and is shipped out of England. Below I have a breakdown of what was included in the box.

This is everything that came in the "case". It had about 18 individual "fossils" that ranged from white, milk, and dark chocolate to some with a combination of the milk and dark. 

 When it first arrived it came in a cardboard box, and inside was this awesome looking collector's item. I really never expected something like this. The papers are actually sticking out because I had opened it and mussed it up a little when I got it, but rest assured it was immaculate upon arrival. 

 Opening it up, everything was neatly packed away with tons of padding to keep everything safe.

 The first layer was the small fossils. Each set of chocolate was wrapped in plastic wrap to keep the chocolate fresh and each section had it's own pillow of bubble wrap below it.  But the best part is easier to see below. Each fossil includes a tag with the species, the age, and the location of the original fossil. This is a paleontologist's dream box for sure.

We'll start in the middle on the top.
SPECIES: Ammonite - Toxaceratiode
AGE: Cretaceous
LOCATION: Queensland, Australia
CHOCOLATE: dark chocolate

 The next box to the left had two sets of fossils and two tags associated with it.
SPECIES: Trilobite - Asaphus exponsus
AGE: Ordovician 
CHOCOLATE: dark chocolate

 SPECIES: Brachiopod - Articulate
AGE: Ordovician 
CHOCOLATE: milk chocolate

 SPECIES: Ammonite - perisphinctes
AGE: Jurassic
LOCATION: Madagascar
CHOCOLATE: white, milk, and dark chocolate, some with a gold like glaze.

 SPECIES: Trilobite - Calymene
AGE: Upper Ordovician 
LOCATION: Anti-Atlas, Morocco
CHOCOLATE: milk chocolate with some dark chocolate spots making it appear more realistic.

 SPECIES: Sharktooth - Otodus Obliquus
AGE: Ordovician 
CHOCOLATE: white, milk, and dark chocolate

 SPECIES: Ammonite - perisphinctes
AGE: Ordovician 
CHOCOLATE: milk chocolate with a gold like glaze making it appear more metallic.

 Here is a shot of the top drawer all cleaned up and unwrapped. Also the chocolates were delicious!

 But that's not all! Like a tackle box, the top shelf comes out revealing a large open area below.

 This bottom area contains the Tyrannosaurus rex tooth and the Carcharodon megalodon tooth (incorrectly labeled as "Megalodon" because that's the way everyone does it, even though you wouldn't call humans "Sapiens", you shouldn't call an animal by it's species name only but that's a side issue). My only gripe about the box is that there are no tags for the two bottom teeth anywhere in the box, trust me I looked. But if that is my only gripe, it is a very minor one. 
SPECIES: Tyrannosaurus rex and Carcharodon megalodon
CHOCOLATE: mix of milk and dark chocolate

Overall this box gets an A+ from this paleontologist. I recommend this as a good birthday, valentines, or other holiday gift for that fossil lover in your life. The presentation is beyond awesome and the chocolates with definitely delicious. Many of the fossils even included special coatings to make them appear more genuine. 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Drunk on Geology - Coal Mine Tempranillo

The next up in our Drunk on Geology series is Coal Mine Tempranillo from the Coal Mine Vineyards.

Text from the back of the bottle:
"Coal Mine Vineyard is located in Oregon near the old Black Bear Mine which was operated during the early 1900's. This vineyards labor of love is dedicated to my grandfather James Thomas McArdle and to all those who have sacrificed their lives working in coal mines. My grandfather's life in the mines started in England when he was 13 years old. He continued in the mines of Hanna, Wyoming after immigrating here in 1919. For each year of production I wish to share with you the history of this miner's life and history of the coal mines in Hanna. This year I wish to thank my father, Francis Gerals McArdle, only son to James and Gladys (Sykes) for his unwavering love and dedication, my family who have supported me throughout this endeavor and to Nancy who operates the Hanna Museum."
"The Black Bear mine, situated about 2 1/2 miles northwest of Galice, on the south fork of Rocky Gulch, is owned by the Black Bear Mining & Milling Co. Several tunnels, one of which is about 1,000 feet in length, and a 30-foot shaft constitute the development work. The country rock is greenstone near its contact with serpentine that is derived in part from pyroxenite. A vertical belt of quartz veinlets and kidneys 2 1/2 feet in width runs nearly north and south approximately parallel to the contact. Other quartz veins, some of which carry pyrite, run nearly east and west at right angles to those mentioned above. The ore, which is rich in pyrite, with some chalcopyrite, is scattered rather irregularly in the vein belt. About 4 tons of ore has been obtained from the 30-foot tunnel, and its value as shown by assays is said to range from $4 to $27 a ton, chiefly in gold and a little copper. Some of the ore is cut by shearing plains, on which the slickensided ore shows decided movement since the ore was deposited."
Well, it appears that the coal mine from which the winery takes its name was not meant to be the Black Bear mine near where it is located. The mine that the winery is adjacent to is primarily a gold mine, however there is a "Black Bear" Coal Mine in the area, it's just not as well researched as the gold mine. Here is some information from a report on the coal mine from 1942:
"The coal was sampled according to instruction; that is, including everything except what would be thrown out under normal mining conditions. The sample section is as follows:
Coal                                     3.8 feetBone (excluded)                  0.7 feetCoal                                     0.8 feetBone (excluded)                  0.3 feetCoal                                     1.7 feet
This includes a lot of dull, brownish material which undoubtedly has heating properties but which might be excluded as a result of careful working. The mine is an old one and was once owned by the Pacific Coal Company and by Southern Pacific who worked it until they changed to oil. Three coal seams are reported. The lower one was mined was mined by Southern Pacific, the upper one was mined by a man named R. P. Little, and the middle bed is the one being worked at present."

Looking at the back of the bottle, it does state that the winery is named after the coal mines of Hanna, Wyoming though. Moving on to Hanna, Wyoming, there is a "Hanna Coal Field"

The Hanna Coal Field contains at least 3 notable mines in the area (all of which have been closed down), the Medicine Bow Mine, Rosebud Mining and Reclamation, and the Seminoe II Mine. The Medicine Bow mine, takes coal out of the Medicine Bow Formation (Upper Cretaceous) and the Ferris Formation (Upper Cretaceous and Paleocene). The other two mines are located within the Hanna Formation (Paleocene). 

Here are a couple of strat columns from the USGS for my geologically inclined audience showing the degree of coal pervasion in the region. You can also get a brief history of Hanna, Wyoming and it's coal mine here: http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/brief-history-hanna-wyoming.

So, even though the Coal Mine, for which the winery is named is not the mine it is adjacent to, there is still quite a bit of geology associated with the name and the location in which it is founded.