Vol. XXXVIII, No. 2 --- February 2002

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents
Presidents Message
CFMS Endowment Fund
Education Through Sharing
All American Club Award Program
Entering Competition
Sierra Nevada Treasures
Safety - Floods
Junior Activities Report
Endowment Fund Form
Show Date Information Sheet

Presidents Message

By Jo Anna Ritchey, CFMS President

CFMS President

I am writing this in January for the February bulletin. January is a time for New Year's Resolutions and February will be a time to see if we have done anything about last months resolutions. This year I want to pursue the theme of communication. As this is a personal resolution I am intending it specifically to learn how to use my e-mail program to be able to send one message to all the legislators at one time by typing one address and having the program pull up everyone's address. That is the mechanics for the actual communication to my legislatures on a more frequent basis. I have opinions and why shouldn't I let them know? Besides e-mail is cheap versus using stamps, and e-mail cannot carry nasty things like anthrax.

I hope you will communicate with your legislators more frequently. They do not know what you think unless you tell them. Too often we hope someone else will do the writing and too often the people doing the writing are from the opposition.

Everyone who reads this bulletin is encouraged to communicate the information in it with members of his/her club. One of the privileges of a Director is to remind your club that they can nominate a fellow member for honors. Barbara Matz as the Chairman of Education through Sharing (also known as CFMS Member Recognition) wrote an article in the CFMS Bulletin last month . There is a simple form on the WWW.CFMSINC.ORG web site to help you. The committee will need some essential information like the honorees name, your club, and a brief bio. Getting the form from the Internet and doing the bio can be delegated but what is essential is that YOU bring it up to your club. If you don't, who does? This is a great way to honor a member or a couple who have worked hard over the years. These are the kinds of people who are always there helping and sharing their knowledge with all. These people (individual or couple) may or may not have held an office in your club. The Committee will send all names received to the CFMS Newsletter Editor to be included in the CFMS Newsletter. The Committee will also send all nominations received to AFMS for recognition in their "Each Club-Each Year-One Rockhound" program.

Jo Anna

CFMS Endowment Fund

By Ray Meisenheimer Chair, CFMS Endowment Fund

I want to thank all of you who have supported the CFMS Endowment Fund this past year.

The Endowment Fund was formed to provide a stable source of income to financially assist the programs and services CFMS provides for it's members. All donations remain as principal and only earnings are available for distribution to the CFMS. The Fund is open to receive most types of assets. Much of the support I have received has been from generous donations to the Endowment Fund from various clubs. A good number of donations have been made to honor club members for their exceptional work in the club, or to honor a departed special club member.

All donations are appreciated very much. A special form is included in this Newsletter for making donations. Clip it out. Thank you.

Education Through Sharing
Member Recognition

By Barbara Matz, Chairman

I have not yet received any nominations for Member Recognition in 2002, probably because Most clubs are on holiday hiatus. I'm looking forward to a good number of nominations this year! My e-mail address was inadvertently omitted from my comments in the January newsletter, so here it is: barbmatz@yahoo.com.

You can also send nominations through good ol' regular mail to:

Barbara Matz
P.O. Box 7086
Petaluma, CA 94955-7086

You can also use the forms provided on the CFMS website.

All American Club Award Program

By Dorothy and Robert Beachler, CFMS Co-chairs

Now that the year 2001 has ended, it is time to be hard at work preparing your application and note-book for an All American award. The submission deadline is February 28. As previously noted, application forms are available

  • at the CFMS website (www.cfmsinc.org )
  • or may be obtained by snail-mail from us (310)325-3139
  • or E-mail (rrbeachler@home.com).
  • You may also reach us at rrbeachler@juno.com.

Awards will be more "solid" for this year. The CFMS Executive committee has approved the issuance of three plaques instead of paper certificates for the top-scoring entries!! Show your support for this program by entering!

Entering Competition

By Ruth Bailey, Rules Chairman

It will soon be time for you to be thinking about the C.F.M.S. show in Placerville this summer. It is going to be a great show and gives you the opportunity to show your work and see the work of others.

If you are interested in competition, the first thing you need to do is be sure you have a Uniform Rules Book and that it is up to date. There are quite a few changes and new pages for the rules this year. You can get the 2002 pages from Pat LaRue for $1.50 or you can get the complete book for $9.50. The new changes will be in effect for this year so it is important for you to have them. After you have the book, you will see that there are eight divisions and these should cover the work you are interested in showing. The divisions are: Open( which covers categories that do not fit the others), Minerals, Lapidary, Jewelry, Educational, Fossil, Petrified Wood, and Ultra Violet.

The Divisions are divided into classes and these are all listed in the book. Your Federation Director received entry forms at the Director's Meeting in Visalia and these may be copied or you can contact any member of the Rules Committee and we will be glad to help you.

If you have questions, please let me know as soon as possible. You can reach the members of the Rules Committee as follows:

Ruth Bailey
2857 Addison Place
Santa Clara, CA 95051-1705
Phone / e-mail: 408-248-6195 / rba51825@aol.com

Jeane Stultz
624 Randy Dr.
Newbury Park, CA 91320-3036
Phone / e-mail: 805-498-4220 / jbstultz@gte.net

Bural LaRue
1381 N. Sycamore Ave.
Rialto, CA 92376
Phone / e-mail: 909-874-5664 / bplarue@earthlink.net.

After you have picked your division and class you need to fill out the application form, have it signed by an officer of your society and send it to Jeane Stultz. She will check it to be sure it fits the category and will send you an acknowledgement. Another way you can enter is to use the supplementary trophy competition. The rules for these were included in the January CFMS Newsletter and they are almost all for one item. These are easier for those who do not wish to start out with a whole case. They are also listed in the competition form which was given to the Federation Director.

Let's all get busy and make sure that we have a record number ofcomp-etition entries in Placerville.

Sierra Nevada Treasures

By JoAnna Ritchey, CFMS President

The CFMS is going to Gold Country for it's 2002 Convention and Show. The Treasures of the Sierra Nevada will happen in Placerville in July. All activities will be held at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds

The host club is working hard to make this one of the most memorable events ever. Lots of activities have been planned to keep you busy at the show, and there is so much to do in the surrounding area. T Hotels are nearby. See your packet for more information. Placerville is located in the heart of the gold country in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The weather should be beautiful in July! This is a scenic, historic area complete with so many places to rockhound.

Open gold mines are available for you to visit. Sutter's Miill, place of the discovery of gold and the beginnings of the gold rush, is nearby - as are other historic sites. River rafting and fishing are also available when you are not at the show. -Looking forward to seeing all of you there.

Safety - Floods

By Chuck McKie, CFMS Safety Chairman 2002
Compiled from NOAA, FEMA, and The American Red Cross.

WE are having more rain than usual this year and many of us here in California live in areas prone to flood. Many of our homes are in low lying places or are near where the man made dykes are very old and often breach and where the large volume of water from the swift flowing rivers over flow their banks. Therefore, we should take precautions to protect ourselves.


FLASH FLOODS - Flash floods are the number 1 weather-related killer in the United States!

How do flash floods occur? - Several factors contribute to flash flooding. The two key elements are rainfall intensity and duration. Topography, soil conditions, and ground cover also play an important role. Flash floods occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more. Furthermore, flash-flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic mudslides. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. Most flood deaths are due to FLASH FLOODS. Most flash flooding is caused by slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms repeatedly moving over the same area or heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms. Occasionally, floating debris or ice can accumulate at a natural or man-made obstruction and restrict the flow of water. Water held back by the ice jam or debris dam can cause flooding upstream. Subsequent flash flooding can occur downstream if the obstruction should suddenly release.

RIVER FLOOD - Flooding along rivers is a natural and inevitable part of life. Some floods occur seasonally when winter or spring rains, coupled with melting snows, fill river basins with too much water too quickly. Torrential rains from decaying hurricanes or tropical systems can also produce river flooding.

URBAN FLOOD - As land is converted from fields or woodlands to roads and parking lots, it loses its ability to absorb rainfall. Urbanization increases runoff 2 to 6 times over what would occur on natural terrain. During periods of urban flooding, streets can become swift moving rivers, while basements can become death traps as they fill with water. Listen for distant thunder, runoff from a faraway thunderstorm could be headed your way. Look out for water rising rapidly. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto related! In your automobile look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas.


Identify where to go if told to evacuate. Choose several places...a friend's home or a motel in another town, or a shelter.

GO TO HIGHER GROUND! - Even 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet, and a depth of 2 feet will float your car! NEVER try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. If you come upon floodwaters, STOP! TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY.

MANY FLASH FLOODS OCCUR AT NIGHT...BE PREPARED TO TAKE QUICK ACTION. How can a foot or two of water cost you your life? Water weighs 62.4 lbs. per cubic foot and typically flows downstream at 6 to 12 miles an hour. When a vehicle stalls in the water, the water's momentum is transferred to the car. For each foot the water rises, 500 lbs. of lateral force are applied to the car. But the biggest factor is buoyancy. For each foot the water rises up the side of the car, the car displaces 1,500 lbs. of water. In effect, the car weighs 1,500 lbs. less for each foot the water rises. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.

Before the flood...What YOU can do: - Know your flood risk and elevation above flood stage.

Do your local streams or rivers flood easily? - If so,

  • be prepared to move to a place of safety.
  • Know your evacuation routes.
  • Keep your automobile fueled; if electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and in various containers. Water service may be interrupted.
  • Keep a stock of food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration; electric power may be interrupted.
  • Keep first aid supplies on hand.
  • Keep a NOAA Weather Radio, a battery-powered portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order.
  • Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit containing: first aid kit, canned food and can opener, bottled water, rubber boots, rubber gloves, NOAA Weather Radio, battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.

STAY INFORMED ABOUT THE STORM by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, and television for the latest FLASH FLOOD/FLOOD WATCHES, WARNINGS, and ADVISORIES.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO IS THE BEST MEANS TO RECEIVE WARNINGS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. - The National Weather Service continuously broadcasts updated weather warnings and forecasts that can be received by NOAA Weather Radios sold in many stores. Average range is 40 miles, depending on topography. Your National Weather Service recommends purchasing a radio that has both a battery backup and a tone-alert feature, which automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued.

What to Listen For...

  • FLASH FLOOD OR FLOOD WATCH: Flash flooding or flooding possible within the designated WATCH area, be alert.

  • FLASH FLOOD OR FLOOD WARNING: Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent take necessary precautions at once.

  • URBAN AND SMALL STREAM ADVISORY: Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains, is occurring.

  • FLASH FLOOD OR FLOOD STATEMENT: Follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.
The rule for being safe in a flooding situation is simple:


  • When a flash flood WATCH is issued be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice.
  • When a flash flood WARNING is issued for your area or the moment you realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may have only SECONDS!
  • Go to higher ground. Climb to safety! Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc.
  • Avoid already flooded and high velocity flow areas.
  • Do not attempt to cross-flowing streams.
  • If driving, be aware that the roadbed may not be intact under floodwaters. Turn around and go another way.
  • NEVER drive through flooded roadways! If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away. Remember, it's better to be wet than dead!
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
When you receive a FLOOD WARNING:
  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwater.
  • Continue monitoring NOAA Weather Radio, television, or emergency broadcast station for information.
During the flood:
  • Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
  • If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, STOP! Turn around and go another way.
  • Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
  • Children should NEVER play around high water, storm drains, viaducts, or arroyos.
After the flood:
  • If fresh food has come in contact with floodwaters, throw it out.
  • Boil drinking water before using.
  • Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.
  • Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital.
  • Food, clothing, shelter, and first aid are available from the Red Cross.
  • Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other Emergency operations.
  • Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
  • Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches, to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
  • Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.


Families should be prepared for all hazards that affect their area. NOAA's National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the American Red Cross urge each family to develop a family disaster plan..Where will your family be when disaster strikes? They could be anywhere- at work, at school, or in the car. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children are safe? Disasters may force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic service water, gas, electricity or telephones were cut off?

Follow these basic steps to develop a family disaster plan...
  1. Gather information about hazards. Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management or civil defense office, and American Red Cross chapter. Find out what type of disasters could occur and how you should respond. Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.
  2. Meet with your family to create a plan. Discuss the information you have gathered. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Choose an out-of-state friend as your "family check-in contact" for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.
  3. Implement your plan.
    1. Post emergency telephone numbers by phones;
    2. Install safety features in your house, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers;
    3. Inspect your home for potential hazards (such as items that can move, fall, break, or catch fire) and correct them;
    4. Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid; how to use a fire extinguisher; and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home;
    5. Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number;
    6. Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days. Assemble a disaster supplies kit with items you may need in case of an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car.


      1. A 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day)
      2. Food that won't spoil.
      3. One change of clothing and foot wear per person.
      4. One blanket or sleeping bags per person.
      5. A first aid kit, including prescription medicines.
      6. Emergency tools, including a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and a portable radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries
      7. An extra set of car keys and a credit card or cash
      8. Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
      9. One rock hammers in case the flood washes out that huge gold bearing rock.
  1. Practice and maintain Your Plan.

Ask questions to make sure your family remembers meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules. Conduct drills. Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions. Replace stored water and food every six months.

For further information go to one of the following LOCAL SPONSORSHIPS:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service

Junior Activities Report
Forming or Enhancing a Youth Group within Your Club, Part One: General Advice

By Jim Brace-Thompson, Junior Activities Chair

Both the Ventura and Lassen Gem & Mineral Societies are planning to start the New Year on a fine footing by redoubling efforts to attract and educate kids within youth divisions. At VGMS, Emma Mayer has done a superb job planning kids' events for the coming year, and I've recently corresponded with Lisa Augello and Jackie Woodson of LGMS, who are gathering ideas to present to fellow club members. Next month, I'll guide you to specific resources you can use in forming or enhancing a youth group within your own club. Before turning to specific resources, though, I'd like to start by setting out 4 general "rules" I've learned as a result of talking with Emma, Lisa, and Jackie:

  1. Capitalize upon your existing Pool of talent. It's hard to find someone who knows everything about every facet of rockhounding, but in most clubs, you find an amazingly diverse storehouse of individual knowledge: one person has an intense love of fossils, another is an expert cab crafter, and another has an amazing mineral collection. Start by identifying adults within the ranks of your club's members and their individual strengths, and then gather commitments. Just one member a month committing to help with a presentation or activity will carry you through your first year. Make it clear that this needs to be a club commitment, not the project of any single individual.

  2. Plan before you start. How will your activities be organized? You should have procedures spelled out, and they should be consistent from meeting-to-meeting so expectations are clear for everyone involved and to create a familiar sense of rhythm for the kids. You might choose to devote 10 minutes of your usual club meeting to a Pebble Pup Presentation; or you might choose to hold an hour-long meeting just for kids with show-and-tell, an activity, and a snack; or you might choose a monthly workshop at a member's home. Whatever you choose, keep the structure and expectations more-or-less consistent. In addition to planning the structure of a typical meeting, you should plan your entire first year's calendar in advance, gathering commitments from club members to take on specific months. Then, publicize the schedule in your club bulletin and elsewhere so everyone knows what's coming and appropriate preparations can be made well in advance rather than moving from meeting to meeting in a last-minute rush to find a new topic or speaker.

  3. Center meetings around an activity. Most adult meetings are centered around a lecture, and during these, you'll observe kids a) sleeping or b) running the hallways. The best way to channel kids' curiosity and energy is through hands-on activities. There should be a brief presentation to set the stage, but you should quickly move to an activity, and your meetings should be activity-oriented. For instance, this month, I'll be telling the VGMS junior members about dinosaurs, with specimens of teeth, footprints, fossil plants, etc., for them to see and touch and with a couple of large format picture books and dinosaur models as illustrations. We'll then move to making casts of dinosaur teeth and footprints for the kids to keep. Another month will involve a basic talk on lapidary arts, followed by making a cabochon. Get kids learning by doing, and they'll want to come back for more.

  4. Kids should walk away with something tangible from each meeting. Kids like to collect, so one goal should be to help them build a basic collection. In addition to whatever they may end up with from the activity session of each meeting, you might also open each meeting with a raffle where every kid is a winner. Spread out a selection of rocks, minerals, and fossils, and give each child a raffle ticket and let them pick from the selection when their numbers are called. Or give each child the same sort of specimen. For instance, if any club members go to Trona, encourage them to come back and tell the kids about the experience, and then give each a sample of halite crystals. Whatever route you choose to go, label specimens with info on what they are and where they came from to begin teaching kids the basics of documenting their collections to add both personal and scientific value.

Next month, I'll provide specific resources to turn to if you, too, decide this is the year to form a youth group or to enhance the current youth activities within your society. In the meantime, my thanks for Emma, Lisa, and Jackie for their ideas and efforts. Here's hoping they encounter great success and, above all, have fun!

US Postal Service Irradiation Process May Affect Some Gemstones

Contributed by Kelly Van Vleck
via Breccia, December 2001
Reference http:/www.gia.edulgandg/special-issue-1 12701.

Since the recent transfer of anthrax via the mail system, the US Postal Service is seeking ways to protect postal employees and the public from this threat.


One company with which the postal service has contracted, SureBeam (a subsidiary of Titan Corp.), uses irradiation to kill the microorganisms that often contaminate food. However, this type of ionizing radiation is often used intentionally to change the color of some gem materials - and could produce an undesirable result as well.

Tests run on gems

Titan uses 5.6 megarads. For the initial tests, the GIA had tests run on gems known to be affected by irradiation in a significant way. Three sets of the samples were boxed up in the way that GIA normally ships gems.

Because gems are often shipped through the mail more than once, one package was scanned once, one package was scanned twice, and the third package was scanned four times to see if the cumulative effect of multiple scans caused any significant difference.

After retrieving the packages, they were scanned with a Victoreen model 290 radiation survey meter on the unopened packages as well as the individual stones. No residual radiation was found.

The changes in appearance are noted in the chart at the end of this article. The changes from the one scan to the four scans were similar, though the degree of change was different for some stones. Implications

Currently the postal service is scanning only a small portion of the mail and only letters and flat envelopes. Probably nothing will be done to packages that are sent registered or certified [the preferred method for the jewelry industry].

FedEx, US Customs Service, Brinks, Malca Amit, and UPS confirmed that they are not currently using irradiation procedures.

Note that some color changes would not be permanent, some will fade with exposure to light back to their original color. Others can be changed back with heat. Still others will never revert to their original color. Also note that not all members of the same species or even the same variety will react similarly.

diamond near
colorless -
no change
diamond gray gray - no
kunzite pink green
morganite brownish or
orangy pink
white gray
white gray
quartz colorless brown
quartz yellow yellowish
sapphire light blue yellowish
topaz colorless brown
tourmaline near
light pink
tourmaline light pink darker pink
tourmaline bi-colored
green and
green - no
pink - darker
zircon colorless pinkish
zircon yellow yellowish
zircon green