Meteor Crater and Winslow Arizona – Vacation 2017!!

June often means vacation time for Lana, the grandchildren, and me. This year, we decided to do something different and go west for Vacation 2017. Not all the way to the West Coast, but to Arizona and the Grand Canyon! We started at Meteor Crater and Winslow Arizona!

For those who don’t know, I was born in New Mexico and spent my first 13 years in New Mexico and Colorado before moving to South Georgia. Thus, I had some experience with the Southwestern US. Lana, Aidan, and Maggie didn’t, and they didn’t know what to expect from the different landscape and climate. When we landed in Phoenix, it was 113F and went up to 118F. Now, I know what you’re thinking – it was dry heat. True enough, but it was still HOT. Think of the humid southern climate as a sauna. Phoenix was like an oven! So, we got our rental car and headed to Flagstaff (our base of operations) and started our adventures. Thank goodness it was only in the mid-80’s and low 90’s in Flagstaff!

In upcoming posts, I’ll tell you more of what we saw and visited, but today, I wanted to talk about Meteor Crater. You all know I’m a big geek about space stuff, so this was right in my wheelhouse.

Scientists call the impact site the Barringer Crater (named for John Barringer who was the first to suggest it was made by a meteor), according to what we learned at the site. Canyon Diablo Crater is another name (the nearby town of Canyon Diablo inspired the name though it is a ghost town now). Scientists estimate the meteor that struck was moving somewhere between 28,000 mph and 42,300 mph. The crater formed in about 10 seconds and was ~700 feet deep initially. It’s now about 550 feet deep due to sediment buildup over the last 50,000 years.

Here is a picture of the crater!

 

Meteor Crater

I know the picture can’t do justice to the actual site, but maybe it gives an idea of how big the crater is. One of the other things I found on display during our visit was tektite! If readers of The Gemstone Chronicles recall, tektite was one of the stones in the books. In Book Two: The Amethyst, Beebop buys a tektite necklace that turns out to be a telepathy stone. Now, I didn’t intercept any communications, but to see pieces of tektite up close was very cool! You can read the tektite post here! Sorry the picture isn’t so good…

Meteor Crater Tektites

In case you can’t read the text in the photo, the samples shown are Indochinites. If you look at the map, you can see the Georgia strewnfield mentioned in my book.

We also learned the astronauts trained here for the moon missions in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Maybe that was the beginning of the conspiracy theory of the fake moon landing. Maybe I’ll explore that in another post!

We left the Meteor Crater and continued on to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert (that will be another post), but stopped in Winslow Arizona. And yes, we took a picture standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona!

Meteor Winslow AZ

Just in case you missed it, in the window behind us is a girl in a flatbed Ford! We also had some great hot dogs and milk shakes at Sipp Shoppe before pushing on to the Petrified Forest.

There you have a small taste of our Arizona adventures. More to come!

Have you been to Arizona? Took a picture in Winslow? Leave me a comment and let me know. Connect with me on the socials, too! I love meeting new friends! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest! As always, I appreciate any and all shares and subscribers to the blog!!

 

Tektite – Glass Rock or Telepathy Stone? You Decide!

In The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst, Nana and Beebop buy a tektite necklace from an antique dealer. The necklace, as it turns out, has telepathic powers. I won’t tell you more, as it would spoil the story! Nonetheless, I’ll tell you more about tektite!

Tektite, for lack of a better description, is a glass rock. Similar to obsidian, tektite is mostly silicon. However, tektites are the result of meteorite impacts. Yes, that’s right, tektites are glass rocks formed when meteorites impacted the earth, sent molten particles into the air, and which fell back to earth in the strewnfields. Since tektites formed from the impacts, they have different characteristics compared to obsidian. Additionally, tektites might just have a little bit of cosmic matter in them! How cool is that?

Where can we find tektites? Across the globe, a few locations yield the majority of tektite finds. One of those locations, called strewnfields, is in Georgia! The Georgia tektites are known as Georgiaites and, just like the stone in The Amethyst, are green. Other strewnfields are in Texas, Autraliasia, the Ivory Coast of Africa, and Europe. Tektites from the different strewnfields have different characteristics which I will discuss next.

I’ll start with Georgiaites. Found principally in Dodge and Bleckley counties in Middle Georgia, Georgiaites are olive green and generally tear drop shaped. Below is a picture of a Georgiaite (Photo by Sean Murray, courtesy of FallingRocks.com). Beautiful and extremely rare, Georgiaites are 35 million years old!

Georgiaite Tektite

 

Moldavites are green, too, though a different shade than Georgiaites. Moldavites are typically found in Czech Republic in Bohemia (no singing of Bohemian Rhapsody, please). The stones are about 15 million years old. The museum quality pieces are gorgeous and often used in jewelry. Here is an example of a museum quality Moldavite. I particularly like the flaky appearance!

Tektite Moldavite

Moldavite

Australites spread across Australia and Southeast Asia. By far the most common variety, Australites are dark, usually black. Found across most of the southern half of Australia, these tektites have a unique disk or bowl shape. NASA (according to Wikipedia) used the shape of these tektites when designing the re-entry modules for the Apollo Space Program!

Tektite Australite

Australite

Due to the size of the impact, part of the same strewnfield reaches into Southeast Asia. The tektites found here – called Indochinites – are black like the Australites. Both Australites and Indochinites are much younger than Moldavites or Georgiaites, dating to about 790,000 years old. Here is an Indochinite.

Tektite indochinite

Indochinite

Lastly, we talk about Ivorite. Found along the Ivory Coast on the Western Cost of Africa, these stones are only about 1.3 million years old. Because of the unstable political climate in the area, I couldn’t find a picture of an Ivorite to include in this post. As a result of the instability, few have been excavated. The found Ivorites resemble Indochinites.

In The Amethyst, the tektite was from the Georgia strewnfield. According to HealingCrystals.com, tektite encourages telepathy and helps with lucid dreaming and astral travel. Sounds a lot like what Nana and Laura experienced, but you’ll have to read the book to find out more!

Obviously, I took some license with the properties of all the gemstones in The Gemstone Chronicles series, but I enjoyed learning about the magical and mystical properties the stones possess. And tektite was a great addition to the collection!

What is your favorite gemstone (or gemstone power) from the series? Aidan’s double-terminated quartz is my favorite. Laura’s invisibility power is the best power, too! What about your favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know! I look forward to it!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect on the socials, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and Tumblr. You can drop me an email, too, at bill@williamlstuart.com or subscribe to the blog (so you don’t miss a post)!