Geology Department

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Deffeyes became excited as we approached Hook Mountain. The interstate had blasted into one toe of the former peninsula, exposing its interior to view. Deffeyes said, “Maybe someone will have left some zeolites here. I want them so bad I can taste them.” He jumped the curb with his high-slung Geology Department vehicle, got out his hammers, and walked the cut. It was steep and competent, with brown oxides of iron over the felt-textured black basalt, and in it were tens of thousands of tiny vugs, a high percentage of them filled with pearl-lustred crystals of zeolite. To take a close look, he opened his hand lens-a small-diameter, ten-power
Hastings Triplet. “You can do a nice act in a jewelry store,” he suggested. “You whip this thing out and you say the price is too high. These are beautiful crystals. Beautiful crystals imply slow growth. You don’t get in a hurry and make something that nice.” He picked up the sledge and pounded the cut, necessarily smashing many crystals as he broke their matiix free. “These crystals are like Vietnamese villages,” he went on. “You have to destroy them in order to preserve them. They contain zakelijke energie vergelijken aluminum, silicon, calcium, sodium, and an incredible amount of imprisoned water. ‘Zeolite’ means ‘the stone that boils.’ If you take one small zeolite crystal, of scarcely more than a pinhead’s diameter, and heat it until the water has come out, the crystal will have an internal surface area equivalent to a bedspread. Zeolites are often used to separate one kind of molecule from another. They can, for example, sort out molecules for detergents, choosing the ones that are biodegradable. They love water. In refrigerators, they are used to adsorb water that accidentally gets into the Freon. They could be used in automobile gas tanks to adsorb water. A zeolite called clinoptilolite is the strongest adsorber of strontium and cesium from radioactive wastes. The clinoptilolite will adsorb a great deal of lethal material, which you can then store in a small space. When William Wyler made The Big Country, there was a climactic chase scene in which the bad guy was shot and came clattering down a canyon wall in what appeared to be a shower of clinoptilolite. Geologists were on the phone to Wyler at once. ‘Loved your zakelijke energie movie. Where was that canyon?’ There are a lot of zeolites in the Alps, in Nova Scotia, and in North Table Mountain in Colorado. When I was at the School of Mines, I used to go up to North Table Mountain just to wham around. Some of the best zeolites in the world are in this part of New Jersey.”

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