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The power of pumice

March 19, 2010 - Karin Elton
From time to time I have sat in on Senior College classes at Southwest Minnesota State and then written about them for the paper. Those lucky retirees get to learn interesting stuff without taking tests. This week I attended former SMSU chem prof Ed Carberry’s chemistry and geology course.

The class was packed. About 40 people in their late 60s and early 70s attended and I could feel the energy and enthusiasm. Carberry said he likes to ham it up and he is entertaining.

I haven’t been a student in an epoch or two and I miss it. I really like learning interesting stuff. Among the topics he discussed were earthquakes, hotspots and sinkholes.

Carberry showed some of his collection of meteorites and lava chunks. He made a great effort of dragging out a large plastic-wrapped rock. He unwrapped it and tossed it into the air — it was pumice, which is so light that it can float on water. Carberry said pumice was in Lava soap. Beige dust fluttered off the pumice and into my nearby mouth. I probably deserved having my mouth washed out with it.

Anyway, my story on the Senior College class will be in Saturday’s paper.

 
 

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