Parting Shot

Peace and War

By | December, 2017

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

By | October, 2017

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

By , and | August, 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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Archived Parting Shots (PDF)


2015 Issues -- Volume 11

February 2015

Pierrette Tremblay

"Parting Ways"

April 2015

Ian Parsons

"The Untravell'd World

June 2015

Ian Parsons

"Bon Apatite!"

August 2015

Ian Parsons

"One Long Gigantic Blunder"

October 2015

Ian Parsons

"Wild and Wonderful"

December 2015

Ian Parsons

"Adventure, M'boy, Adventure!"


2014 Issues -- Volume 10

February 2014

Ian Parsons

"Black Swans"

April 2014

Ian Parsons

"The Third Dimension"

June 2014

Ian Parsons

"Friendly Brick"

August 2014

Ian Parsons

"Hot Oil"

October 2014

Pierrette Tremblay and Bernard Cesare

"A Closer Look at Ocean Jasper"

December 2014

Ian Parsons

"Chute de Pierres"

2013 Issues -- Volume 9

February 2013

Ian Parsons

"A Record Brimful of Promise"

April 2013

Darlene Coward Wight

"The Importance of Serpentinite to Cape Dorset Carvers"

June 2013

Ian Parsons


August 2013

Ian Parsons

"Trouble with Telecomms"

2012 Issues -- Volume 8

February 2012

Ian Parsons

"Three Rings for the Elven-Kings..."

April 2012

Ian Parsons

"Nooks and Crannies"

June 2012

"A Ruin and Two Earthquakes"

August 2012

Ian Parsons

"Strange Granites"

W. B. Simmons Jr.

"Two Centuries of Gem Production from Maine Pegmatites"

October 2012

Ian Parsons

"Full Stop for Mother Earth"

December 2012

Ian Parsons

"All Alone"

2011 Issues -- Volume 7

February 2011

Ian Parsons

"Collecting Stuff"

April 2011

Thomas Clark

"The Legacy of Iron: Schefferville, Quebec, Canada"

June 2011

Pete Williams

"Stamp Collecting"

August 2011

Ian Parsons

"Standing Stones"

October 2011

Jeff Scovil

"The Photographic Challenge of Elbaite"

December 2011

Ian Parsons

"Spoiled Land"

2010 Issues -- Volume 6

February 2010

Ian Parsons

"Balthasar's Feast"

April 2010

Thomas Clark and André Gobeil

"Magma Mingling and Mixing in the Grenville Province"

June 2010

Ian Parsons

"The Lure of Place Names"

August 2010

Ian Parsons

"A Nice Day out for a Materials Scientist"

October 2010

Ian Parsons

"Strange Attractors"

December 2010

Bernardo Cesare

"On the Beach"

2009 Issues -- Volume 5

February 2009

Ian Parsons

"Mineral Connections"

April 2009

George Harlow

"Mineral Oddities"

June 2009

George Harlow

"Gaga Over Gems"

August 2009

Ian Parsons

"Glacial Wasting"

October 2009

Charles Butt

"Archibold Liversidge (1847-1927) -- Pioneer Gold Geologist and Geochemist"

December 2009

Ian Parsons

"Five Years On"

2008 Issues -- Volume 4

February 2008

Ian Parsons

"Volcanoes at the Eng of the World"

April 2008

John Rakovan

"Unusual Apatite Composites from the Sapo Pegmatite, Minas Gerais Brazil"

June 2008

Ian Parsons

"Elemental History"

August 2008

"The 'Glass Flowers' at the Harvard Museum of Natural History"

October 2008

Ian Parsons

"Most Important Instrument of the 20th Century"

December 2008

Ian Parsons

" 'What's in a Name? That Which We Call a Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet.' "

2007 Issues -- Volume 3

February 2007

Ian Parsons

"Bull's Eye"

April 2007

Pierrette Tremblay

"An Old World Mineralogical Collection in the New World"

June 2007

Patrick Haynes

"Beauty from the World of Micro"

August 2007

Ian Parsons

"Lonely Planet"

October 2007

Ian Parsons

"Wilderness and Humour in the Northwest Highlands"

December 2007

Bernardo Cesare

"Rock Art"

2006 Issues -- Volume 2

February 2006

Joe Skulan

"When Art Meets Elements -- The Color of Iron"

April 2006

George Helffrich, Bruno Faria, and Alex Lodge

"An Unusual Carbonatite Occurrence"

June 2006

Ian Parsons

"The Mighty Works of Finn MacCumhaill"

August 2006

Allessandro Guastoni

"The Tucson Show"

October 2006

"The Lycurgus Cup: A Unique Glass Artifact"

2005 Issues -- Volume 1

March 2005

Ian Parsons

"The Badminton Cabinet: The Most Expensive Piece of Furniture...Ever!"

June 2005

"The Rock Concert: A Celebration of Deep Time"

September 2005

"Saluting NASA's Deep Impact Mission"

December 2005

Ian Parsons

"Myth and Majesty in the Hebrides"