From: Jan Bee
To: John and Susy Pint
Sent: April 6, 2005
Subject: Sand Rose Maintenance
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.
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.
John Roobol, Saudi Geological Survey, Saudi