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Parting Shots

Peace and War

At the end of July, I had a very special holiday, with some of my family, in Orkney, the cluster of small, wind-swept islands (Fig. 1) that stand bravely between the Atlantic and the North Sea off the extreme north-east corner of Scotland. I had always wanted to visit Orkney because my great-grandmother, Isabella Allan, was born on the tiny island of Stronsay in 1843. By any standards, these islands have an extraordinary human history, stretching from Neolithic times, some 5,000 years ago to the two great wars of the 20th century.

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New Caledonia: Land of Nickle

New Caledonia (strictly Nouvelle Calédonie) is the most distant French overseas territory. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, this small archipelago (18,575 km2) is about 1,200 km from the east coast of Australia and 1,600 km northwest of New Zealand. The name was given by the famous English navigator and explorer James Cook, who published the first map of New Caledonia in 1774. Caledonia was the Roman name for Scotland, and it is said that the coasts of New Caledonia reminded Cook of Scotland, of which his father was a native.

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Tribute to Paul H. Ribbe 1935–2017

Paul Hubert Ribbe, a giant in the field of mineralogy, passed away 24 June 2017 at the age of 82. Just eight weeks earlier, he was preceded in death by Elna Ribbe, his wife of almost 59 years. Paul was born 2 April 1935 in Bristol, Connecticut (USA), to the Reverend Walter and Grace Ribbe. He obtained his BS from Wheaton College (Illinois, USA) and his MS from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA), both in geology. He was the first American Fulbright Scholar admitted to Magdalene College, University of Cambridge (UK), where he worked at the Cavendish Laboratory with the legendary crystallographer Helen Megaw. He was awarded a PhD in 1963 for his research on the crystal structure of plagioclase feldspars. Following a short post-doc (University of Chicago, USA) and an assistant professorship (University of California, Los Angeles, USA), in 1966, Paul and Elna moved to Blacksburg (Virginia, USA) where he joined the Department of Geology at Virginia Tech. Paul became part of a powerhouse of talent in mineralogy and petrology that included Donald Bloss, Gerald Gibbs, Charles Gilbert, and the late David Wones.

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Global Geoparks

My fans may have noticed that Parting Shots has been missing from the last couple of issues. I asked Jodi Rosso, for a break so that I could concentrate on developing content for a new geological visitor centre for Lochaber Geopark, a local voluntary organization for which I work, based in Fort William in the West Highlands of Scotland. Jodi suggested that readers might be interested in knowing more about the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and what is involved in creating visitor centres and informative material for the general public.

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In the Zone

The New Year of 2016 opened with a great flurry of activity on the Mineralogical Society of America’s on-line discussion board ‘MSA-talk’ about the teaching of crystallography. More members rushed to their keyboards to contribute on this topic than on any I can remember. I confess I didn’t read all the contributions, but I think a reasonable one-line summary would be ‘find a method that works for you and stick to it’.

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Adventure, M’boy, Adventure!

Download Article (PDF) December 2015 Issue Table of Contents Thematic Articles Editorial From the Editors Perspective Meet the Authors Book Review Parting Shots People In The News Society News Reputedly, when the great British geologist Sir Edward Bailey (1881–1965) was about to retire, his assistant asked him, ‘What will you do now, sir?’ Bailey replied…

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