University News

30th Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show March 13-14 at WIU

February 23, 2010

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MACOMB, IL - - The 30th annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show, with the theme "Geodes of the World…and T-Rex, Too!," is scheduled from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 13 and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 14 at the Western Illinois University Union Grand Ballroom. Admission and parking are free.

Earth science displays, educational programs, lapidary demonstrations and activities for kids are all part of the show, as well as a special T-Rex exhibit from Chicago's Museum of Natural Science.

Presented by Geodeland Earth Science Clubs, Inc. (GESCI) of west-central Illinois, the weekend show will include gems, fossils, minerals and artifacts. Dealers in minerals, fossils, jewelry and equipment will be exhibiting items found in backyards from western Illinois and worldwide. Demonstrators will be presenting skills, including shell engraving, fossil preparation, egg and rock painting, scrimshaw, geode cracking, glass bead making, lampworking and faceting gemstones.

The featured speaker will be David Hess, a Western Illinois University professor emeritus of geology (1966-2000). He is a member of the Geological Society of America, Friends of Mineralogy and The Fluorescent Society and a charter member of the West Central Illinois Rock and Mineral Club – Midwest Federation. His interest in geodes dates back to his graduate studies at Indiana University (1962) when he learned about the southern Indiana geode field. He then learned about the tri-state Keokuk (IA)-Warsaw (IL)-Missouri geode fields when he came to Western.

The following programs will be presented:

  • 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday – Hess' presentation on geodes.

  • 11:15 a.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday – "T-Rex. The Real World," video produced by the Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research, which shows an actual site where five T-Rex skeletons were excavated since 1990.

  • 3 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday – "Coconut Geodes" (Mexican) by Brad Cross, from the DVD set "The Wonderful World of Agates" symposium. Cross, who is one of the foremost experts on agates, is currently a senior hydrogeologist with a private consulting firm in Austin, TX. He earned his degree in geology at the University of Texas at El Passo.

GESCI of west-central Illinois represents clubs from Aledo, Canton, Carthage, Decatur, Macomb, Mt. Sterling, Quincy and Springfield.

For more information about the March 13-14 show, contact show chair Dennis Bomke at (217) 546-4096 or The dealer chair is Jim Travis, (309) 645-3609 or

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