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Rock and Mineral collecting popular

by Yonie K. Espiritu


“Every time I start digging, I know there’s a good chance I may dig up a gem,” said Dr. Eric H. DeCarlo, treasurer of the Rock and Mineral Society of Hawai‘i . “It’s a quality that makes all this addicting.”

The Rock and Mineral Society of Hawai‘i, or Hui Pohaku O‘ Hawai‘i, held its annual exhibit on Nov. 16-17, 2002, at Ward Warehouse. The show featured fossils, meteorites and a florescent light exhibit, and each attendees was given a gem in hopes of inciting interesting rock hounding.

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“I may go six months and never find a thing,” said Bishop Museum fossil consultant Keith Krueger. “But there is always that promise that I may find a fraction of my collection in a week.”


Krueger’s fossil collection proved to be the most popular at the event. It consisted of pre-historic fish, snails, and shark parts, specifically part of Megalodon, not to be confused with Megamouth. He explained, in depth, about these 50-60 foot long, 48,000 pounds pre-historic giants who died 13 million years ago. Krueger has become an accomplished swimmer, as his specialty is fossil diving.

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However, the islands are too young to produce fossils, so relies on destinations such as South Carolina to preserved fossilized life forms.

“When I dive in South Carolina the water is so murky that to use a light is pointless,” said Krueger. “Its scary but very fun.”

DeCarlo too has a favorite place to “rock hound”— San Diego.

In Hawai‘i, due to the conditions of ocean and climate, there are a lot of beautiful gems to be found, but he finds that San Diego has minerals that date back 20 million years. From his exhibit he distributed samples of a mineral that can be found near Sandy’s. It has no name, but is made up of calcium sulfate. He also displayed calcite, from Laie, that is soley made of “beach stuff.”

DeCarlo, an oceanography professor at the University of Hawai‘i- Maona, uses his knowledge of chemical structures to track down his treasures. He hopes to some day open the experience of rock hounding to his students by offering a class about it. DeCarlo feels that it would be much easier teaching chemistry if students could have a way, to apply it.

Established in 1970, the non-profit educational organization, Hui Pohaku O‘ Hawai‘i, is dedicated to mineral and rock collecting and appreciation.

Applications are available at For a $10 membership fee, new members receive a monthly newsletter, informative meetings, access to a well-equipped lapidary shop, and more. Those who just want to appreciate minerals can visit the Society’s photographer, Ed Sawada, at




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