From: Jan Bee

To: John and Susy Pint

Sent: April 6, 2005

Subject: Sand Rose Maintenance


Hi there:

I was just wondering how you maintain a sand rose. I was given one as

a gift, and am worried it will one day fall apart.


Jan Bee



Hello Jan,

Thanks for your interesting question. We consulted several geologists about

how to maintain sand roses, and here are their replies:


1. Sand roses typically need no maintenance because they are

crystals of the mineral that cements together the sand grains. It is

advisable to avoid rubbing them because, in some cases, the sandstone thus

formed is friable (grains can be rubbed off). Over time, this would ruin

the specimen. Sand roses from Oklahoma, south of Norman, have barite as

the cementing mineral. Barite is insoluble in most solutions but does

dissolve in sodium carbonate solutions. Sand roses from southwest of

Kadoka, northwest of Pine Ridge, South Dakota have caclite as the cementing

mineral. Calcite is soluble in acids and in vinegar. Sand roses from the

desert Southwest and northwestern Mexico, as well as locations in Saudi

Arabia, have gypsum as the cementing mineral. Gypsum is soluble, though

only very slowly, in plain water. For each case, the liquid capable of

dissolving the cementing mineral should be avoided. In each case, simply

having the sand rose sitting on a shelf would adequately protect it.


--Tim Hayes, USGS, USA


2. Actually if I recall right, they may be subject to drying out, so

they get more brittle with time.

Chris Lloyd, Mexico

3. If worried about friable samples then the answer is to do the

same thing as one does for dinosaur bones. These are usually shattered in

the ground, so one pours a mixture of acetone and glue (UHU Glue is fine)

over them and let it dry. This binds the sample together and prevents it

from falling apart. Acetone fumes are harmful ,so do it in the garden.

Best Wishes,

John Roobol, Saudi Geological Survey, Saudi