Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pike Peak Pebble Pup Wins Big at State Science Fair

By Steven Wade Veatch

Jenna Salvat, a ninth grade student at Coronado High School, brought home several awards from the recent Colorado Science and Engineering Fair held at the College of Natural Sciences Education and Outreach Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins on April 9, 2016.
Her entry, “Sandstone Injectites in Fault Zone Areas: Sedimentological Characteristics Using Analog Models,” won second place in the Senior Division Earth and Space Sciences at the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair. Jenna’s work was honored by other organizations, including the Colorado Mineral Society, the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and the Colorado Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists. Jenna also received the Naval Science Award and the NASA Earth Science System Award. Her hard work has paid off in spades.

Jenna Salvat, a 9th grader at Coronado High School, 
won second place in the senior division of
 the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair 
with her earth science project.
 Jenna will be advancing with several 
area students to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 
in Phoenix. Photo by Steven Wade Veatch.

Before moving to the state finals, her project won first place in the regional Science Fair held at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs on February 27, 2016.  Jenna will now travel with her project to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in Phoenix, May 8-13, 2016. The ISEF is the leading pre-college scientific and engineering research event that is held each May.  In Phoenix more than 1500 students from 70 countries will compete for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, and other prizes.

Jenna began her work last summer with two sponsors: Christine Siddoway, a professor of geology at Colorado College and geoscience researcher Steven Wade Veatch. Jenna’s project centered on analyzing sandstone injected into Pikes Peak Granite. Jenna looked at the simulated rate of injection of liquefied sediment into igneous rock under variable densities and how that would impact the formation of sedimentary structures.

“My project helps to understand the numerous and complex sedimentary structures at exposure sites in the Pikes Peak region that were created in response to the agitation caused by fault zone earthquakes,” Jenna said.

The science fair teaches students how to explore a topic of their own interest, using real scientific inquiry, and then learn how to present their findings. Jenna’s science fair project began on a field trip to the sandstone she is investigating through the Pebble Pups, a special program for youth in the Pikes Peak region to learn about the geosciences. Since then Jenna has put in countless of hours into the project.   She would like to be a geoscientist. “I enjoy the process of science and working at the frontier of discovery,” she said.

Jenna is a member of the Pikes Peak Pebble Pups and is an Earth Science Scholar in that program. The Pebble Pup program operates under the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society. Jenna is also a member of the Colorado Scientific Society.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


By: Ben Elick

Physical Properties
Chemistry: BaSO4
Composition: Barium sulfate
Group: Barite
Crystal system: Orthorhombic  
Crystal Structure: Tabular crystals
Fracture: Uneven  
Hardness: 3 to 3.5
Specific gravity: 4.3-5
Streak: White
Color: Clear, bluish, yellow, brown, reddish
Luster: Vitreous
Cleavage: Perfect basal and prismatic

A Barite Haiku
Being somewhat soft
Varieties can fluoresce
It’s orthorhombic

Barite, which is the acceptable spelling of this mineral in the United States, but spelled “baryte” in the UK, is an interesting mineral. It is appealing to the eye and is featured in rock shops and museums. Barite is the ore of barium metal.

Barite has several practical uses. In the petroleum industry, it is crushed and used as an additive to mud that is poured into wells to support the weight of drilling tools and to flush away rock chips from the drill head and bring them to the surface for geologists to inspect. Barite’s high specific gravity also helps by increasing the pressure when drilling through high-pressure zones of rock. Barium is used in aggregates to make a strong cement. Barite is commonly ground up and used as a filler in paper, paint, cosmetics, linoleum, and other industrial products. Barite increases the brilliance of glass. Barium also used a medical application with X-rays and diagnosing certain medical conditions.

This mineral can occur in a broad range of colors. These include colorless, blue, yellow, red, and green. Black barite, which is colored by inclusions, is uncommon. Some varieties even fluoresce under ultraviolet light. Another property is that barite is mostly insoluble in all acids. It is slightly soluble in sulfuric acid.

Barite can occur with lead, silver, and antimony sulfides in hydrothermal veins ranging from medium to low temperatures. 

This piece of blue barite has small interweaving crystals 
and was collected on the plains near Hartsel Colorado USA. 
A Ben Elick specimen, photo by Ben Elick.

This chunk of yellow barite’s crystals are connected by the bond of the crystals 
plus some white calcite. This specimen was collected on the 
plains near Hartsel Colorado USA. A Ben Elick specimen, photo by Ben Elick.

About the author: Ben Elick is in the 6th grade and has been a member of the Pikes Peak Pebble Pups for several years.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Original artwork by Wyatt Spears, a Pikes Peak Pebble Pup. This art shows a
dinosaur finding a rock that turns out to be a smoky quartz.

By Wyatt Spears

I found a rock
I think I'm in shock
It's a smoky quartz
I'm all out of sorts

Meet the poet
Wyatt is 6 years old and 
is a distance pebble pup 
who lives in Michigan. 
He  participates in the 
pebble pup program 
via the Internet.


By Steven Wade Veatch

Sandstone injected into Pikes Peak Granite was the basis for Jenna Salvat’s winning science project. Her entry “Sandstone Injectites in Fault Zone Areas: Sedimentological Characteristics Using Analog Models” won first place in the physical science division at the Pikes Peak Regional Science Fair on February 27 and is the project she will present at the state science fair in April.

Salvat is a tenth grade student at Coronado High School. Jenna is also a member of the Pikes Peak Pebble Pups and Earth Science Scholars. The Pikes Peak Pebble Pups have a group that meets monthly in Teller County and in one that meets in Colorado Springs. “I have always been interested in geology in particular and science in general,” she said.

Jena Salvat stands in front of her project she entered in
the Pikes Peak Regional Science Fair at UCCS. Photo by S. W. Veatch.
The fair was held at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Students come from El Paso, Teller, Park, and Elbert counties to participate. The Pikes Peak Regional Science Fair is held each Spring where students in grades 6 through 12 present their individual work for judging. Public, private, parochial, and home schools send students to participate in the fair. This year 161 students participated and 24 schools were represented.

Each student designs and completes a science project requiring observation, imagination, and originality. Students who participate in the fair gain a deeper understanding of the natural world and learn valuable science and job skills.

The Pikes Peak Regional Fair is one of 13 regional fairs in Colorado that select the best regional science projects that will compete at the 61st Colorado State Science Fair hosted by the College of Natural Sciences Education and Outreach Center at Colorado State University.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Mysterious Cave

A fable by Jane Shimon, age 8

Long ago two basilosaurus brothers named Max and Stanley wanted to find a new cave to play hide-and-seek in. They were tired of the small caves where they lived in a shallow reef off the coast of Panama. One night when their parents were asleep they snuck out and went over the edge of the reef.

Max and Stanley were searching all night and almost gave up but when the sunlight spread they saw the most glorious and stupendous cave! It was about one hundred times their size! The decided that they were going into the cave to play hide-and-seek. It was Stanley’s turn to hide so he swam deeper into the cave while Max counted at the entrance. But when he reached ten they heard a loud, scary grumbling noise. Then it got a little dark and Max looked behind him and saw that he cave was closing.

Max yelled to Stanley “do caves close?”
“I don’t think so. Let’s get out of here!”
Max darted out and said “hurry hurry this cave has teeth!”
“Teeth? This isn’t a cave it’s a megalodon!”

Stanley swam as fast as he could as he watched the big shark’s mouth close in front of him. Just before he was trapped he squeezed out of the jaw but his tail fin caught on something sharp. Stanley wiggled and tossed and pulled and finally he got free. Max and Stanley swam to a hiding spot while the megalodon swam by and by and by and by.  They couldn’t believe how big it was. When it was gone they rushed out of their hiding spot and went home.

Stanley’s encounter with the large shark. 
Original art by Jane Shimon.
When they got over the edge their Mom was looking for them and said “where have you been all day? I’ve been looking for you all day.” Their mom was looking at them and she saw the big tooth in Stanley’s fin and said “You went over the edge?”

“Yes mom we did.”
“You two are grounded!”

As they swam slowly away Stanley said to Max “I’m glad I didn’t get eaten up today!”
“No kidding” said Max

The End

The moral of the story is when you find something new watch out what it actually is.

The Pebble Pup author has been reading a book
 of fables by Aesop and was inspired by those stories 
and a megalodon tooth in the family collection
 to write a fable of her own. 

Meet the Author:
Jane Shimon is eight years old. She's been hanging out with the Pebble Pups since she was two, enjoying field trips with her big brother. She enjoys writing stories, art, skiing and horse back riding.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


By Steven Wade Veatch

The Pebble Pups spent the first class of the new year working with geodes. Roger Pittman brought his diamond studded trim saw and a supply of geodes for the Pebble Pups to work with. Each geode was sawed open and then washed in dish soap.

Next the Pups took their prized specimen to the classroom next door where the geodes were subjected to ultraviolet radiation by Blake Reher.  Some of the geodes reacted to the radiation by fluorescing a bright lime green or a subtle blue. 

Roger Pitman has been helping Steven Veatch with the Pebble Pups for many years.  Blake Reher is a senior Pebble Pup who is now an assistant leader.

Roger Pitman is an assistant instructor in the Pebble Pup program.
Roger brings years of prospecting and geological field
 experience to the program. Photo by S. W. Veatch

Blake Reher is an assistant Pebble Pup leader.
He assists Steven Veatch and the Pebble Pup instructors each meeting.
Blake will be leading a Pebble Pup field trip to
the Cave of the Winds this spring. Photo by S. W. Veatch.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


My body completely furry
To protect me from the flurry.
The flakes dance about my face
As the cold gives me a freezing embrace.
The cold, although it may be bold,
Tells me the stories of the old.
The quiet whistling of the wind
Unveils the mysteries deep within.

By Jenna Salvat

Welcome! This is the gateway to adventure and discovery

Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.