This is a great little pocket guide to rocks and minerals. It uses color drawings to illustrate the rocks and minerals which I find is far more handy that pictures of museum quality specimens. Rocks and minerals in the field often don't know what they're supposed to look like so they are more average than those museum exhibits!
Inside the front cover, Robert Hutchinson writes:
It began innocently enough. While photographing the Painted Desert, Atkinson became intrigued with the brilliant colors in the petrified wood scattered on the ground. He brought home some polished rocks, photographed them under glare-free lighting, and was captivated. The photographs looked more like paintings of forgotten dreams than either rocks or photographs. Atkinson proceeded to photograph thousands of art-quality polished rocks, bought or borrowed from international dealers and collectors, and to refine his photographic techniques.
From these thousands of photographs, Atkinson has chosen for ?Within the Stone÷ seventy-two that have yielded the most striking, the most poetic, and the most ineffable images. Atkinson opens a vault beneath our feet, revealing to our astonished eyes the tumult of color, form, and desire hidden ?Within the Stone.÷ He invites us to enter the dreams of Gaia. Some of these are epiphanies so far removed from our mundane experience as to beggar ordinary language and analogy.
Seventy literary pieces were commissioned for this book from seven writers. Every one of the writers has conspicuous attainments in both scientific and artistic modes. Each writer was asked to free-associate with his or her ten assigned photographs as though they were high-level Rorschach patterns. The seven contributors are Diane Ackerman (poet and psychologist), Philip Ball ( Nature editor and dramatist), John Horgan (science writer and philosopher), Andrew Revkin ( New York Times reporter and Hollywood screenplay writer), Dorion Sagan (science writer and novelist), Tyler Volk (NASA biologist and architect), and David Zindell (science fiction novelist and mathematician).
In an appendix, mineralogy experts Si & Ann Frazier and Robert Hutchinson provide mineral commentary for each specimen.
The Mineral Hardness Ruler is a stimulating visual aid, educates in one phase of mineralogy, and provides the standard ruler measurement scales needed in classes.
Rockhounds, mineral enthusiasts, students, teachers, geologists, and any one interested in rocks and minerals will find the Mineral Hardness Ruler a handy visual aid for quick information on mineral hardness.
The two-sided, flexible, glossy, vinyl ruler consists of five scales: three measurement scales and two mineral hardness scales. The measurement scales are in standard ruler measurements of tenths of inches, sixteenths of inches, and millimeters. Mohs' relative hardness numbers are integrated into the inch scales, while a separate scale exists for an absolute mineral hardness scale by Rosiwal.
On one side of the ruler are pictures of the ten common minerals, in full color, selected by Mohs for his relative hardness scale. On the reverse side of the ruler are six common items with their relative hardnesses. These items, along with known minerals, can be used as a handy field kit to test the relative hardness of an unknown mineral.
Hardness is one property of a mineral that can be used to distinguish among similar minerals. A given mineral can scratch any other mineral of the same or softer hardness. Over a hundred years ago, the German mineralogist Frederick Mohs devised the relative hardness scale that has found favor with mineralogists for over a century. Others, such as Rosiwal, formed absolute hardness scales using the same minerals as Mohs. For example, diamond, the hardest substance in Nature is not twice as hard as apatite, 10 versus 5, but over twenty thousand times as hard, 140,000 versus 6.5.
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