November 15, 2007

Auction brings hard cash for hot rocks

A rock embedded with vanadinite crystals was one of the specimens on display at the Geology Club’s rock auction. 3 A rock embedded with vanadinite crystals was one of the specimens on display at the Geology Club’s rock auction.

How much would you pay for a beautiful extrusive igneous specimen? How about a lovely fossilized fish? What about a volcanic bomb? Talk like that can only mean the bidding is about to begin at the annual Sacramento State rock auction, 6 p.m., Nov. 16 in the Alumni Center.

The auction is organized by the Geology Club, and funds are used to support field excursions and social event. Last year’s auction raised more than $7,000 for the club. “Every year, it’s a race to make sure it happens, but it always comes out beautifully, and that’s a testament to students,” says Professor Lisa Hammersley, Geology Club faculty advisor.

Rock and mineral samples are donated by students, faculty, local firms and mineral collectors. Specimens vary in size from pebbles to big rocks for gardens and include spectacular nodules with crystals growing in them.

“The general public tends to go for the very pretty samples as opposed to scientists, who go for geologically interesting samples,” Hammersley says.

The auction was first held four years ago and raised about $3,000. “It has grown since then, and people really look forward to it,” Hammersley says. “What really gets them bidding are good fossils, big beautiful mineral samples and old geology maps. For some reason people really want the old maps.”

The event features a silent auction and a live auction. “Occasionally we get real bidding wars during the live auction,” Hammersley says. Wine and cheese is available and there are table games for children.

To donate a sample for auction, or for more information about the event, send an email to the geology club at rockhugger247@yahoo.com or to hammersley@csus.edu. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.