Regular Monthly Meeting, July 24, 2018

The regular monthly meeting is coming up July 24th, 2018 at 6:30p.m. at the Huntsville Senior Center, 2200 Drake Avenue.  Our own Myra Soroczak, the HGMS Program Chair, will present “Constructing and Deconstructing Jewelry.”   She will discuss how to modify simple elements to create (construct) beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  She will also explain how to analyze complex elements and deconstruct them to write step-by-step instructions for creating them.  Everyone is welcome!  Jewelry crafters won’t want to miss this!

Monthly Meeting and Program, January 28

We’re getting started on 2014 and setting up programs for the new year! Our first meeting of the year will be January 28. For our program, David Nadler, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist from the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Huntsville will be presenting the program. His discussion will be a quick overview of the functions and operations of the Huntsville Weather
Forecast Office and how the Weather affects you the Rockhounds.

Our meeting will be held at the Madison County Senior Center,  2200 Drake Ave, Huntsville, AL. Meetings start at 6:30 pm. Come a little early to meet some club members! Refreshments are served after the meeting. And although we hold our meeting at the Senior Center, we’re a club for people of all ages! Hope you can join us!


November meeting: Fossils on Mars and in Meteorites

NASA scientist Richard Hoover displays growing moss that remained alive yet dormant while frozen for 40,000 years in Siberian permafrost. (NASA/MSFC)

Plan to join us on Tuesday, November 19 for our monthly meeting. It starts at 6:30, but feel free to show up around 6:00 to meet and chat with other club members. Check out our Meetings page for the address and directions. This month we have a very interesting presentation planned called Fossils on Mars and in Meteorites, presented by Dr. Richard Hoover, a long time employee of Marshall Space Flight Center.

This is a short description of his presentation:

A major component in the search for ancient or recent evidence of extraterrestrial life, the presentation will describe evidence for present day water, organic biomolecules, fossils and living organisms on Mars obtained by European Space Agency (ESA) Missions and the NASA Viking Landers and the Opportunity and Curiosity Rovers, and evidence for biomolecules and microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites.

Here is a biography of Dr. Hoover from the NASA/MSFC web page. You may also visit that page to read a chat transript:

Dr. Richard Hoover, a Marshall employee since 1968, is the Astrobiology group leader at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. Hoover is recognized for his work in X-ray and extreme ultraviolet light optics – ranging from microscopes to telescopes. His full-disk images of the sun in the x-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths are among his many innovative advances for the field of Astrobiology.

Hoover has collected meteorites and microbial extremophiles from Antarctica; novel bacteria from Glaciers and permafrost of Antarctica, Patagonia, Siberia and Alaska and from haloalkaline lakes, geysers, and volcanoes of California, Alaska, Crete and Hawaii. He has discovered three new species of bacteria from Mono Lake in California – Spirochaeta Americana, Desulfonatronum thiodismutans and Tindallia californiensis – and another, Carnobacterium pleistocenium, which survived for 32,000 years in a frozen Alaskan pond.

He holds 11 U.S. patents and in 1992 was named NASA’s Inventor of the Year. He served on editorial boards of several scientific journals and the boards of directors of the American Association of Engineering Societies, and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He is the author or editor of 33 books and some 250 papers on astrobiology, extremophiles, diatoms, solar physics, X-ray/EUV optics and meteorites. He co-directed the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Astrobiology in Crete, for which he published the book “Perspectives in Astrobiology” in 2005.

Please plan to join us for this fascinating presentation!

Make reservations for our Christmas dinner Dec. 17

Every December our meeting is a Christmas/holiday dinner instead of our regular business meeting. We will have a caterer bring in some great food for us to enjoy, then we can eat, mingle, and talk about rocks, gems, jewelry, and fossils! This year our Christmas dinner will be Tuesday, December 17 starting at 6:00. The dinner menu includes a salad, baked ham and baked chicken, baked potato, green beans, dinner rolls, apple cobbler, and a variety of drinks. We welcome and encourage visitors to join us for this dinner!

The cost to cover the catering is $13 per person. If you’re interested in joining us for the dinner, you need to make reservations so the caterer can bring the correct amount of food. You can make a reservation at our next meeting on November 19. If you would like to attend the dinner but can’t attend the November meeting, please contact Lowell Zoller at Lzol (at) The club pays for each meal we order. If you make a reservation but then cannot come, we would appreciation your contribution to cover the costs.

To have a bit of fun at the dinner, we have an optional gift exchange related to our hobby. Examples of gifts people bring include gem and mineral specimens, fossils, pieces of jewelry, or slabs for lapidary work. As a suggestion, bring something between the $10 and $20 range. Wrap up your gift or put it in a gift bag and make a note on the box or bag if the gift is for men or women only. For example, if your gift is a bolo tie, just write “Man” on the box. Or, if the gift is a wire-wrapped pendant appropriate for a woman, write “Woman” on the box. If it’s gender neutral, like a box of beautiful rocks, you don’t need to write anything on the box! Only those who bring a gift participate in the gift exchange.

The December meeting is a fun way to kick off the holiday season and we hope to see each of you there!

Annual HGMS Picnic and Rock Swap, Saturday June 22nd

It’s time again for the annual HGMS picnic and rock swap/buy/sell. The picnic is at the Teledyne Engineering Park and starts at 10:00. The picnic will likely wrap up around 2:00. If you’re not a member, you are more than welcome to join us!

The club will provide meat and everyone is asked to bring a dish to share. Be sure that it is picnic-friendly for there are no microwaves available. The club will also provide drinks, plates, napkins, etc. While there are tables and benches, it is always good to bring additional chairs if you have them.

Members are invited to bring rocks & rock stuff for sale or swap, and bring your checkbook to make any purchases. This is not a Society fundraiser, but just a fun way to show off your wares. The money will be your own. This is a great opportunity to see some great gem, mineral, fossil, jewelry samples and buy new stuff that you might like, and to swap or sell some of your old items you no longer want.

NEW meeting date!

Starting in May, the Huntsville Gem & Mineral Society meetings will be on the FOURTH TUESDAY of the month. Here’s the scoop.

The HGMS has met for many years at the Huntsville/Madison County Senior’s Center (although the club is not just for seniors!!). The Senior Center for economy is planning to reduce its evening operations to one night per week; that night being Tuesday. Given the option of finding another meeting place or changing our meeting schedule, the club surveys indicated that 79% preferred staying at the Senior Center and changing the club meetings to Tuesday night; 71% indicated a preference for the 4th Tuesday; therefore, the club, at the March meeting, voted and decided to make the change accordingly, effective with the MAY meeting. It is understood that the change will have both positive and negative effects, as would have changing the location to continue meeting on Mondays. The Senior Center management has been most cooperative in working with us. In summary:

1. Subsequent meetings, starting on TUESDAY, MAY 28, will be rescheduled to the 4th Tuesday of each month, EXCEPT Tuesday, November 19 (so as not to conflict with Thanksgiving week), and Tuesday, December 17 (our Christmas dinner in the Cafeteria)
2. Starting in May, we have been asked to PARK in the NORTH lot and enter through the REAR entrance. The front lot will be full due to other activities.
3. The Tuesday night open labs and classes will continue, except that there will be no lab during club meetings.

Join us May 28 for our meeting!