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Wednesday, May 24, 2000


Silver is the whitest of all metals. This property, and its high reflectivity, was responsible for its Latin name argentum (white and shining), from which the chemical symbol for silver, Ag, is derived. Because it does not readily oxidize, silver can be found in the native state - in metallic form rather than as a compound - and can therefore be assumed to be one of the first metals discovered. It has been found in tombs dating from 4000 BC.

To commemorate the life of Professor Harry Verney Warren, pioneer of biogeochemistry, rocks have been donated to Waterloo's Peter Russell Rock Garden from British Columbia, his home province.

Jade and Rhodonite specimens
(LEFT) Jade and Rhodonite specimens ready for shipping to Waterloo

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Big boulder crosses Canada

It took nearly 100 years for a Paleozoic boulder-which fell from the Rocky Mountains as part of the historic 1903 Frank Slide-to reach eastern Canada and the end of its 2500 kilometer cross-country odyssey. In a nutshell, that's the story, and that's how the University of Waterloo campus came to be the end-of-the-road for what may be the world's most traveled, rock-from-a-rockslide rock. The Frank Slide boulder currently rests in the Peter Russell Rock Garden.

By Titia Praamsma

Titia Praamsma sitting on a rock wall
The Student Industry Field Trip (SIFT) is an annual field trip sponsored by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG) for third year students working toward an undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences. The purpose of the SIFT is to have students from universities across the country learn first hand about the oil and gas industry.

When I was attending the University of Waterloo in the late seventies, those words above never left my lips. Being a petroleum geologist was far from my mind. I was steeped in the romantic notion of doing hard rock field geology. I didn't have any idea what that meant until I started doing some co-op work terms. However, forces were at work that eventually steered me in the direction of petroleum geology and I really haven't regretted it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

The three Mary Annings

William A.S. Sarjeant, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Selwyn's rock

Early in 2000 I happened to be driving through the Inman Valley, south of Adelaide in South Australia when the sign "Glacier Rock Restaurant" caught my eye. I must confess that I am not intimately familiar with Australia's Quaternary history, but even from my meagre knowledge of Antipodean geography I seemed to be a little too far south of the Flinders Ranges and way too far west of the Snowy Mountains to imagine that this was some glacial relic.

The majority of geoscientists believe that most oil has an organic origin, derived ultimately from the remains of organisms (mainly microscopic marine phytoplankton) that were buried with ancient sediments deposited on the sea floor. Although there are trace amounts of this buried organic matter in almost all sedimentary rocks, unique geological and geochemical conditions are required to generate, expel and trap significant amounts of oil.

Lew Brubacher
University of Waterloo chemistry professor Lew Brubacher (right) is this year's winner of a medal from the Royal Society of Canada to honour his work in editing Chem 13 News and other activities to spread the importance and excitement of chemistry.

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Deep Impacts

By: Christine Kulyk

When something big from outer space
Collides with Earth, it leaves a trace--
Supreme celestial punctuation
Carving out an indentation
To scar the planet's face.

The years that pass with stately pace
May steadily obscure the trace
Of crater outlines and location,
And so obstruct investigation
With forces that efface.