A much needed Oligocene distraction

The kids and I escaped to Girard, Georgia today to hunt for agate near the Savanah River with the Georgia Mineral Society and my officemate’s family.  Its on the outer edge of the kid’s patience with car trips (3 hours each way) but the beautiful rock and good company were worth an even longer drive.


Usually when you go out on trips like this, the kids lose interest, but these rocks were so obviously gorgeous that the kids were on the hunt too for a good long time.   Eventually all the kids formed a pack and played while the adults kept hunting.  Notice G’s gold lamee jacket in this one of her and the boys pounding on a root ball:

gold lamee

She also found a blue tailed skink and ran to show it to me in her hand, beaming. 🙂

We easily filled a 5 gallon bucket and then some.  My iPad pictures don’t do these rocks justice, except for this one of a little girl examining her gems and laying them out on the living room floor:


She traded the normal bedtime stories for more time to examine her booty; eventually she and I started washing them off and looking in the microscope for microfossils.  I did read them one story each though

And maybe this one of a piece with my headlamp behind it:


When officemate/good friend jokingly mentioned that he would love to roll a giant piece of agate to his car, I accepted the (non) challenge and, well, eventually we got it done.  Here is the path it took:

Word of the day: vug.  Vugs are the cavities inside rocks that are lined with beautiful crystals (think: geode); that’s where the microfossils are supposed to be.  These things are full of vugs but I can’t find any damned microfossils.  Who cares: the kids are asleep, the house is mine, listening to Miles Davis, sipping margaritas and I am slowly examining vugs for microfossils.  What more could I possibly want?


About SubOptimist

I am an Associate Professor in the Science Department at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston. I teach introductory biology courses at both the majors and non-majors level in addition to microbiology. Previous to that I spent 7 years as a postdoctoral researcher on different viruses. While I don't miss being on the "grant treadmill", I think better when I write and miss writing up data for papers and grants; this blog helps me with that a little. And sometimes my kids' insanely funny and cute antics need to be shared with the world. Any view expressed in this blog is that of me personally and not Georgia Perimeter College or the GPC Clarkston Science Department.
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