Forum Archive 1999-2004

Handy guide to SR Products
From: Tara Weerasuriya
Date: 20 Nov 1999

Hi SR members and Editor/s Congratulations for achieving your goals of establishing a web page. I would like to take this opportunity to ask whether there is a data base listing the most commonly used SR products. It would help new-comers to this field if there is a handy-guide to SR products, that have been known to produce good results. There are so many brands of organic and rock powder based products to choose from that one tends to get lost among the choices. Maybe members who have used some of the products out there in the market can provide a reference! That would help.

Re: Handy guide to SR Products
From: JC at RE
Date: 23 Nov 1999

Tara Weerisuriya is a research scientist living in Canada who has researched remineralization and one of her research papers was a part of the USDA Forum on Soil Remineralization that took place on May 24, 1994. She is very interested in continuing SR research. Please feel free to ask her any questions you may have. I believe she will be happy to check the Forum occasionally and be present here with us, so we can benefit from her expertise. To answer Tara's question, a main goal of the website is to list products and information on them. The question is how to go about it in a way that helps to sustain the site economically. Some source of funding is necessary. There could be yearly fees to: 1) Be listed on the site 2) Create a link to a product website 3) Place an ad I hope to have some interns and volunteers in the near future to help establish a product resource directory on the site, among many other resources. I have many plans for the site, whenever there are enough funds and assistance to move forward. For the moment, the best way to find out about SR products is to order the last double issue of the magazine from RE, Inc.

We are not printing the next issue and will take it online in future. A subscription will bring the last two double issues (180 pp). Remineralize the Earth Towards a Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Climate Remineralize the Earth is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to disseminating ideas and practice about soil remineralization. A membership/subscription to Remineralize the Earth magazine is listed below: $15 Student/unwaged membership $25 Individual/family membership $30 Subscription outside the U.S. $50-100 Organizations/corporate $250 Supporting membership $500 Patron membership Membership is tax-deductible after the first $15.00 A sample issue (80pp) is available for US $10.00 in the US, Canada and Mexico and is $15.00, elsewhere. Free Issues are granted by request, depending on the situation. The set of research packets for 1) agriculture and 2) forestry & sewage sludge treatment are $25 in the U.S. ($28 Canada and Mexico, $36 Air Mail International, $27 Surface Mail International). We greatly wish we could take credit cards at this time, but we do not yet. Please send a check (payable in U.S. funds) or postal money order made out to Remineralize the Earth. For a peaceful and green Earth.

Elemental Analysis of common rock fertilizers
From: Joey
Date: 26 Nov 1999

Does anyone have elemental analysis of some of the commercial rock dusts (Pro-Min, Greensand, etc.) as well as some of the glacial or common rock dusts like granite, or basalt?

Re: Elemental Analysis of common rock fertilizers
From: JC at RE
Date: 27 Nov 1999

Dear Joey,

Through the years I have collected research from all over the world and also literature on available products as well, including Europe and Australia. I also found it very interesting to compare these products with a mineral analysis of Nile silt, one of the most famous fertilizers of soil in history, before the construction of the Aswan Dam.

There are also analyses of some silicate rock dusts in the Research Packets made available through RE, Inc.

I would suggest requesting product literature from some of the commercial companies and specifically requesting a mineral analysis of the product. Many of these companies are listed in the last double issue of Remineralize the Earth magazine available for US $10.00.

Repeat soil and SR analyses addresses
From: JC at RE
Date: 16 Nov 1999

For inexpensive soil sample analysis:
Brookside Farms
Lab Director Mark Flock
308 S. Main Street
New Knoxville, Ohio 45871
Tel: 419-753-2448

For extensive full spectrographic mineral and trace element analysis of a rock dust:
Elemental Research, Inc.
309-267 West Esplanade North
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V7M 1A5

Tel: 604-986-0445

Fax: 604-986-0071

This is very expensive and may not possible. It costs about $135 per sample.

home page and rock dust to deter insects
From: Joanna Campe
Date: 04 Aug 1999

As Nick mentions you are an entomologist, I would be curious to know if you have worked with finely ground rock dust sprayed on plants and crops as a deterrent to insect infestations. This is very effective as it controls infestations without destroying beneficial insects. It balances insect populations rather than obliterating them.

The website of Andy Lopez, the Invisible Gardener has a lot of information on this as well. See his site at and his book on Pest Controls.

Jersey Greensand (glauconite)
Date: 29 Aug 1999

I am trying to find some research information on utilizing jersey greensand as a K and Mg source. Unfortunately, I am finding many places which reccomend it but none that have any origional research.

Could you point me in the direction of any findings about this product?

Re: Jersey Greensand (glauconite)
From: hinterlands
Date: 12 Dec 2000

is ocean-mined greensand considered the same as rock dust as far as fertilizing the soil concerned[mineral content,etc.]and does basaltic rock dust[aside from the trace materials inherent] contribute anything in the way of nutrient preformance or just filler for soil.thanks

Science Project with Rock Dusts
From: William Andress
Date: 13 Nov 1999

For the second phase of my project, I am growing two varieties of radishes. For the 120 days radishes, I would like to obtain an elemental analysis for samples of each of seven groups. Does anyone know the best way to go about this? For example, should I send the samples to a lab? How could I get access to a mass spectrometer?

Re: Science Project with Rock Dusts
From: Andrew Harley, University of Western Australia
Date: 14 Nov 1999

I may have come in on this a little late, but a few more details may help in giving an answer.
1. Are you wanting to analyse soil or plant material? Why?
2: Which elements are you interested in? Why?
3: What resources to have around you? High School? College?
4: What is your basic premise and methodology?
I hope that I can be of help once you have supplied me with some of your information.

Regards Andrew

Re: Science Project with Rock Dusts
From: Joanna Campe
Date: 15 Nov 1999

Dear William,

If you can answer the questions of Andrew, it will be most helpful to know more about your project and give advice from there. I also look forward to advice Andrew can give and more about his SR (soil remineralization) activities. The University of Western Australia has done research on remineralization.

If you are a student at a college or university, normally the agriculture department has means to do both soil analyses and analyses of rock dusts.

If you are using a rock dust, a spectrographic analysis should be available from the company; if it's a product commercially developed for gardening and agriculture. If it is from a local quarry or aggregate producer, they often have the analysis and information available as well, though not in every case.

You can also look to local extension agents of the USDA, if you live in a farming region for a soil analysis, or the U.S. Farm Bureau. This is not very expensive and will tell you amounts of major 12-15 minerals in the soil sample as well as if there are any heavy metals in an unsafe range. Also for inexpensive soil sample analysis:

Brookside Farms Lab Director Mark Flock 308 S. Main Street New Knoxville, Ohio 45871 Tel: 419-753-2448

For extensive full spectrographic mineral and trace element analysis of a rock dust:

Elemental Research, Inc. 309-267 West Esplanade North Vancouver, B.C. Canada V7M 1A5 Tel: 604-986-0445 Fax: 604-986-0071

This is very expensive and may not possible. It costs about $135 per sample.

I'd like to hear more about your project to be able to advise and assist you further. I am very interested in encouraging and advising students on all levels, from elementary school through university.

Good luck with your project!

Joanna Campe Remineralize the Earth

Re: Science Project with Rock Dusts
From: William Andress
Date: 27 Nov 1999

Sorry I took so long in responding.
I think I want to analyze both soil and plant material. The soil analysis, I believe, could be gotten pretty easily, but I'm not sure what to do about the plant material, i.e., samples of the 120-day radish test groups. The reason for this analysis would be to determine the nutritional values, if any, of the different groups by testing for the presence of four or five of the basic nutritional elements (P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn).

This leads me to two more questions. Is the time period of 120 days long enough for a plant to absorb detectable amounts of the elements in the rock dusts? Also, what equipment would be needed to conduct this test? For example, would a mass spectrometer do the job? I am currently a high school student, but there are many colleges in the Boston area, and I might be able to find a professor who would give me some lab time.

As for my basic premise, I believe that my rock dusts would produce different results. I have already gotten results from thirty day radishes, which I've already harvested and weighed. I plan to do statistical analysis with the help of my computer science teacher.

I have another favor to ask of Andrew Harley; if you have any available reprints of your remineralization articles, could you please send them, addressed to me at: 2 Whitman Circle Lexington, MA 02420-1952 USA I would appreciate being able to read anything you've written on the subject. Thank you again.

SR for growing rice
From: Boyigoy, The Phillipines
Date: 27 Dec 1999

To whom it may concern, I am from the Philippines and I have several hectares of rice fields. I noticed that my harvest yields seems to be deteriorating every cropping. I also noticed that my farmers use too much fertilizers like urea, etc.

I would like to inquire if you can suggest a manner of utilizing organic fertilizers in place of chemicals to revitalize the soil and to increase my yield?

Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon.

Yours truly,

Boyigoy The Philippines

Re: SR for growing rice
From: JC at RE
Date: 30 Dec 1999

Do you have access to volcanic rock dust from Mt. Pinataubo or any other volcanoes in the region? When tree seedlings were covered with volcanic ash during the eruption of Mt. Pinataubo, a Wash DC-based reforestation organization expected the trees to die, but instead they thrived and greatly increased in growth.

Volcanic sources locally are your best bet.

You could also consider supplementing with a product, such as Ecomin, available from Australia. This product has rock minerals and microorganisms. Go to for information.


Re: SR for growing rice
Date: 30 Dec 1999


Greetings from new york state in northeast usa. When I was a boy age 8-10 (1958-60) I lived in los banos southeast of manila while my father served as a u.n. fao consultant to the university of the philippines. While there, the 10th world boy scout jamboree was held over the ridge from my home. and attended a private filipino school, not a military or government school.

Maligayang pasko!!! (spelling?) and I can still sing the national anthem (sort of)...

Rice is not a crop I have any experience with, although I still eat it a few times each week. However, your description sounds typical of the steady decline witnessed by farmers who are loosing precious soil minerals and microbes to harsh annual chemical fertilizer, applications, while doing nothing to restore and conserve the minor and trace elements. Not only is the land producing lower yields each year, but the crops are weaker and more susceptible and attractive to disease, fungus and insects. And as food, those crops are weaker and less fully nourishing to the humans that consume them, lowering their vitality and resistance to sickness and parasites. See my website for "fire in the water: how mineral becomes biology" for more about the links between soil minerals and immunity.

I remember much of the philippine soil is volcanic in origin, and so tend to be young soils, and initially had a high level and complete mix of essential minerals and elements. However, such soils age very rapidly, especially when subject to continuous farming with acidic chemicals.

what part of the archipelago is your farmland? what is the local geology and soil type?

As joanna campe suggests, you should try to get some primary volcanic rock. There must be quarries of various sorts mining rock and gravel for construction and paving. Investigate nearby quarries to learn the geology of the parent rock they are extracting, and if they are screening their material. If they have screening wastes left from their mining, likely it is a waste which they dump on site. If so, that is the stuff you want. Its value as soil amendment will vary with the type of rocks being mined.

A few hundred pounds of such powdered rock per acre will begin to restore and revive worn out, over-used soils. Such applications need be made every five to ten years, depending on the details of each situation and soil.

For rockdust to work quickly and well in soil, it must be digested and processed by soil microbes, including bacteria, algae, fungi, and other microflora. The less biological activity, the weaker will be the digestive capacity of the soil. And herbicides and pesticides most always have a bad effect on the microbial life in the soil.

The best way to add bacteria to a weak soil is by composting organic wastes, then spreading the resulting organic humus on the soil, if necessary working it in to the top 6 inches. Whereas rockdust is very dense and concentrated, composts tend to be bulky and more of a chore to handle. There are various strategies to cope with this ranging from on-site sheet composting to culturing concentrated microbial inoculants.

~ david

Re: SR for growing rice
From: Pam
Date: 02 Sep 2000

Dear David and Boyigoy, I live in Negros Occidental and am really a know nothing person about rice. However, my husband and I retired early and now we are trying to be organic farmers. We make our own vermicompost using the technology of Dr. Rafael Guerrero of DOST-PCAMRD and we just harvested our first puerly organically grown upland rice - Magsanaya variety which is considered an heirloom variety here. We fertilized it with vermi, compost, EM and rock dust which we got from the local quarries. We do not even know what the rock dust (silt they call it here) is made up of. From 3 kilos of palay, we got about 8 sacks of dried palay and the aroma of the rice is just lovely. We are starting a 2,000 sq. m. lowland rice paddy, again purely organic. We prepared it using the same method as above. We had to transplant our seedlings at 10 days because they were ready and green and healthy. We are know-nothing farmers but we are sharing this experience just in case any one may profit from it because we have profited a lot from this site.

Re: SR for growing rice
From: phillip(
Date: 16 Mar 2001

dear pam, you must be pamela henares. i would like to know if the rock dust you mentioned is is gravel dust which comes from rock crushers. also how much do you apply per hectare of rice field and how much increase in yield do you get?

PH Levels
From: Philip Madaley
Date: 04 Jan 2000

can anyone answer this query.... sent to me by

hello there. I had a question that I cannot seem to find an answer to on the website. If I apply the recommended amount of 20tons per acre of granite or basalt rock dust, what will this do to the pH level? Won't it bring it up so high that it will start to complex other elements? or does it fix itself quickly due to the fairly quick digestion that takes place? Thanks for any info

Re: PH Levels
Date: 07 Jan 2000

here is an article about the esearch and findings of univ. of missouri soil scientist williama lbrecht about soil, organic matter, and calcium. similar thinking applies with granite dust, much different chemistry.

~ david

From: "Sulfercreek"
Subject: Calicum Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 21:50:40 -0500
Co-Authors: David A. Bok Joseph Hammon
Title: White Gold

Crop production is the problem of having available in the soil all the elements in balance required for plant nutrition so the crop as feed or food will have all the elements and compounds required for animal and human nutrition (Vol. III, Dr. Albrecht Papers).

We were searching for a more economical crop production in our heavy clay soil, along the way we tried compost. green manure, and animal manures, but the results were a disappointment. With further research, we found to get long lasting soil tilth we needed to open the path for water and oxygen movement in the soil profile. We discovered to bring the soils life cycle, grow, decompose and supply back into its proper order the answer for us is high calcium lime WHITE GOLD.

With high calcium lime, came the pH factor. Would the lime take the pH to a high a level to lock up plant food? We must forget about lime as a neutralizer and think of it as plant food. If the soil is adequately limed or balanced with calcium, all other nutrients will become balanced and the pH will properly adjust itself provided we stop pouring, salt fertilizers on our land. A high pH may be brought about by sodium potassium of ammonium, where there is calcium present of not.

Research done by Dr. V. A. Tiedjens in the 1920's proved that high calcium lime acted as a regulator. High calcium lime has a pH of 6.8. So if the soil was low, it would raise the pH, and the opposite was true: if the soil was high in pH, it would lower it. Dr. Tiedjens realized there was no relationship between adequate saturation and pH of the soil. He developed a test to determine the amount of calcium in soil to produce a maximum yield. He discovered that the chemically active colloidal matter in the soils determined how much limestone was needed.

By using Dr. Tiedjens research findings and charts, we found that our clay soils needed 85% base saturation of calcium per plow acre-foot. Organic matter has the ability to absorb large quantities of calcium.

The more we looked at the soil and calcium connection, the more benefits we realized, such as earthworms. Earthworm eggs will stay dormant in the soil until the proper level of calcium becomes available. Earthworms have been called "Nature's Plowmen". Earthworms open the plow sole to let oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. Earthworms feed on dead or decaying organic matter, and then deposit castings in the soil. These castings are richer in plant food than the soil. They also increase soil porosity, aeration, drainage, plus mixing the soil. Earthworms burrow several feet deep. Tests have shown that earthworm inhabited soil can have a 25% yield increase. Earthworms do not like unfavorable soil conditions. They cannot live in strong acid soils, or in to dry or waterlogged soils. Also there are a lot more little micro bugs that will produce plant food in the soil due to the increased oxygen in the soil.

Secondly, we found that a magnesium imbalance will cause the soil to be tighter, and cause water to run off, carrying soil particles, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus. Calcium has the ability to make the soil act like a sponge to absorb water and oxygen. This in turn reduces runoff and lowers input costs by retaining the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus.

With the soil in balance, and the reduction or elimination of chemical inputs, what we plant and grow now has improved food or feed value. User friendly. We have seen protein in corn silage increase from 8.8% to 10.19%, alfalfa increase from 22.5% to 24.1%, small grains from 12.4% to 13.5%, ground ear corn as high as 9.6% and shelled corn as high as 11.5%. With shelled corn averaging 7% protein across the country, 100 bu/ac corn with 7% protein equals $98. 100 bu/ac corn with 11.5% protein equals $161. This is cutting edge economics.

Other benefits we have seen: 1. Less horse power and fuel to pull equipment 2. Better soil tilth 3. Reduced weed spray 4. less erosion 5. improved feed quality 6. hay cured and retained leaves better 7. increased seed germination 8. lower input costs

We are excited about the progress we have made and even more so about the future. We have learned a lot and have a lot more to learn. We could say more about "WHITE GOLD" but the best thing is we feel a great confidence in the future of our farms ability to provide us with something a lot more than just sustain-ability.

Re: PH Levels
Date: 07 Jan 2000

hello there. I had a question that I cannot seem to find an answer to on the website. If I apply the recommended amount of 20 tons per acre of granite or basalt rock dust, what will this do to the pH level? Won't it bring it up so high that it will start to complex other elements? or does it fix itself quickly due to the fairly quick digestion that takes place? Thanks for any info

Hey! That guy wrote me about glacial gravel dust. Sure is doing his internet research on rockdust. Now if he can only get some and put on his soil...

The key to answer to his query is -- in a word -- "digestion." Granite and basalt are very dense, hard, crystalline molecular structures. Such primary matter must be mined and reprocessed by bacteria and friends with water and air to make its elements into minerals useful to plants and animals. To turn granite geology into biology requires a complex community of interacting lifeforms, most too small to see with the human eye. This living component is the digestive machinery of the soil that can eat granite and feed plants.

Thus, adding compost (organic carbon and inhabitant microbes) to soil with rockdust is consistently the best way to go. Another, slower approach is to grow cover crops with thick, fibrous root systems, and turn their tops back in as organic matter. If soil has abundant carbon supplies (organic matter) so it teems with microbes, their inherent digestive acids quickly consume the alkaline crystalline geometry, and the pH may at worst do a burp. But in inert dirt -- particularly dense, tight ones -- all that dense dust at once may harden -- not soften -- the soil situation, including raise the pH out of life's comfortable "neutral zone." Ubder certain conditions, clay, rockdust and water become hard like rock again.

A healthy, living soil can likely digest 20 tons per acre of granite dust. However, much of today's farm (even forest) soils are reduced to inert dirt, and has too little carbon -- much less life -- to absorb and process such a big dose of dense rock, even if you could reduce it to 400 mesh. I want to know more about his current soil conditions - including pH and organic matter -- before I suggest dumping so much at once. Soil, after all, isn't just soil, but thousands of widely differing geochemical blends of Gaia's minerals: sand, clay, loam, loess, till, delta, muck, mud, scree, cinder, ash, dust.

Most forest soils have enough organic matter and life to revive after a 20 ton dose of dust. But rehabilitating unhealthy, worn out farmlands requires more time, patience and methodology - and smaller, incremental doses. Better to apply the dust with active composts, microbial inoculants and other biological stimulants, small doses of dust at first, then larger as the soil comes alive and into balance. Earthworms are essential to healthy soil ecology, but they need two or three years to repopulate soil after the minerals are there. Damaged, sterile, sickly soils require a remedial strategy and three or more years to recover.

Fortunately, most soils respond rapidly to a little sensible, balanced feeding and care. Within a month after the first dose, a landowner will notice a boost in biological life, including vegetative vitality.

The advantage of "trace element" fertilizers such as Azomite et all (montmorillite clay) and Planters 2 (gypsiferous shale) is they are partially digested already by water and bacteria. And very finely powdered - real dust, not just grit. They need less digestion to consume the minerals into living protoplasm. But such materials lost much of their primary geometry and magnetism. Here at Turtle EyeLand, I am embarked on reviving a worn out farmhouse soil - a sandy glacial till. After one year, I see remarkable response from combining municipal compost (Albany) with a blend of rock powders. But we devoted this year to hauling, spreading and tilling in the ingredients. This year will show the real results of our soil feeding program.

~ david East Greenbush, NY

Global Superstorm
From: Philip Madeley
Date: 04 Jan 2000

What are peoples thoughs on this new book... The coming global super storm.
Comments from my mailing list were:
"sounds like a pole shift to me"
"A re-examination of your fossil record should be done. There is a 3600 year cycle of shifting in the poles that is a better explanation for the climatic changes we are seeing today. The greenhouse gas explanation does not adequately account for the warming we are seeing, let alone the other climatic changes occurring--consider the severe cold weather and snow in Europe as I type this. Your global superstorm can only be caused by a sudden shift in the poles, not greenhouse gas."

Re: Global Superstorm
Date: 04 Jan 2000

Most folks will simply turn away and say "more doom and gloom." It's all beyond me - I'm just a consumer.

The more thoughtful should read "Snowball Earth" in the newest Scientific American. Describes how geological sleuths in namibia (africa) have documented that at least once the earth completely froze over for several million years. Not only continental glaciers all the way to the equator, but frozen oceans. The only life survived around geothermal springs, or frozen in ice. Eventually, the planet thawed, and quickly became super-tropical, and earth's early, simple lifeforms suddenly proliferated into a diversity of designs and lines. The transition from hothouse to icehouse and back to hothouse was astonishingly short (centuries, maybe decades) in contrast to the million years intervening climate eras.

The trigger for these cataclysmic climate flip-flops was the carbon-oxygen balance in the atmosphere. Earth's early lifeforms consumed all the available carbon dioxide, at which point the global atmosphere collapsed into deep freeze. With no lifeforms to fix carbon, volcanism slowly built carbon dioxide levels back up until there was a sudden, rapid global meltdown and reversion to greenhouse effect tropics. Or so the current skeleton of a theory goes. Of course, since then, lifeforms have become so much more complex and interactive that such extreme swings and catastrophes of the climate's thermal engine were mitigated, and the cycle has been running more smoothly since.

~ david

Neutralizing soil chemicals and radioactivity
Date: 22 Feb 2000

I recall reading about the ability of rock dust to neutralize chemicals in the soil in a relatively short period of time. Does anyone have any info on this and/or the effectiveness of rock dust in neutralizing radioactivity in the soil? I am very interested as this has enormous relevance and application to so many, particularily Native Americans, whose land has been used for waste dumps by the gov't. Thanks, Rick White

Re: Neutralizing soil chemicals and radioactivity
From: JC at RE
Date: 23 Feb 2000

Yes, rock dust seems to neutralize radioactivity. Right after Chernobyl, all foods were being measured in Austria for radioactive content and it was listed in the newspapers every day. I visited there and spoke with Georg Abermann, an engineer and director of SanVita, a subsidiary of a large quarry, which sells rock dust for gardening, agricultural and forestry uses.

There has been a tradition of dairy farming with rock dust in Austria and Abermann reported that those dairy farmers that used rock dust in several ways (supplement for cows, added to liquid manure to reduce odors and for application to pastures) had no radioactive reading for their cheese, and that there was a great demand and people would stand in line to purchase it. Some biodynamic farms also seem to have had lower level or no radiation at all.

Robert Schindele, producer of Superbiomin, another company in Austria that markets their rock dust as a health supplement in thousands of pharmacies in Europe, says that a few tons of his product were shipped to victims right after the Chernobyl accident for supplemental intake and it was filmed as part of a Japanese documentary. Research in Russia and at the University of Vienna showed that the minerals diminished levels of radioactivity in the body.

All of this was reported on in Soil Remineralization, A Network Newsletter in the 1980s. I will reference the issues and give more specific details here when I return to my office February 28.

Re: Neutralizing soil chemicals and radioactivity
Date: 19 Oct 2000

Georg Abermann voiced that opinion during the shooting of what came to be known as "the end" but he is not to be found on the net and strange enough neither is Biolit, the Austrian company he worked for at that time; matter of fact a search for Steinmehl comes up with suprisingly few pages; some are collected in

Re: Neutralizing soil chemicals and radioactivity
From: Rebecca at RE
Date: 21 Jun 2001

Access this website for an article on the subject

Rebecca Lowry

Mixed rock types
From: Joey
Date: 23 Feb 2000

In Hamaker's book Survival of Civilization, he stresses using mixed rock types in order to get the full spectrum of elements. Would basalt count as a "mixed rock" since it contains 2-3 different rock types? Or would a mixture of, say basalt, granite and lava sand be sufficient?

Mixed rock types
From: JC at RE
Date: 24 Feb 2000

The general rule of thumb is this: the greater the mix of rock types, the broader the spectrum of minerals and trace elements available to the soil, and the closest to nature's way of creating soils through glaciation.

Basalts, nevertheless, can be an excellent source on their own. There is some variability in mineral composition from place to place, so some will be more effective than others.

Adding a source or rock dust that is paramagnetic, along with rock dust as advocated by Hamaker, will also greatly enhance the soil. Acres, USA has written a great deal about paramagnetic rock dust.

NetWorking - Comment to note from A.Harley , Nov. 17, 1999
Tara Weerasuriya
Date: 06 Mar 2000

It took me back a couple of years when I read Andrew Harley's note (Rock Powder Application Rates/ Introduction- University of Western Australia, Nov. 17, 1999) that he is going to cross the bridge from being a geologist/soil scientist to that of the Agricultural field. I did that in the early 90's when I extended postgraduate research from a tropical soil geochemistry standpoint to that of agrogeology - namely testing the mineral Mica as a rock dust in tea and rice production. I found seeing plants grow on fertilizers I concocted, a rewarding experience. The research funds ran out, and I made a decision to move over to the field of industrial pollution control, after studying heavy trace metal adsorption characteristics of a landfill.

I am now an "environmental consultant", and I find dealing with environmental issues created by man, and walking into huge industrial process plants, a very cold, non-stimulating experience. I miss the healing and natural work environment I was used to before. I would definitely like to switch back into a field dealing with natural fertilizers, farming/ biodynamics and wondered whether, any of this forum's readers could provide me with any directions where to start looking. I live in Ontario, Canada.

Any suggestions will be deeply appreciated

Re: NetWorking - Comment to note from A.Harley , Nov. 17, 1999
Andrew Harley
Date: 07 Mar 2000


I have thought long and hard about the points that you have raised. More so as I am entering the last year of my PhD and have two young kids to support. Where do I go from here that can combine my skills and ethics? Luckily I am doing fairly mindless and repetitive lab work now - ideal circumstances to think about such lofty matters.

An issue of the international refereed journal "Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems" (formally "Fertilizer Research" ) has just come out which is dedicated to "Silicate Rocks in agriculture: Their potential use as fertilizers and soil amendments". (Full reference: Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, Vol 56 No1 Jan 2000. TOC: Their was a sameness to the articles (except for an excellent review of geochemical process that I submitted!) reporting the general low effectiveness of rock dust as a replacement of soluble fertilisers.

I believe that rock dust is an integral part of the overall soil health. Although I have concentrated my work on the geochemistry of rock dust and techniques that make it dissolve faster, I believe that rock dusts role in soil biology and soil health will be the next area of valuable research. Using rock dust in agricultural practices that support nutrient stripping and land degradation will always be ineffective, and the body of "scientific research" supports that. Developing effective sustainable systems that incorporate rock dust I believe will be incredibly powerful. And that's where we come in.

Being in Ontaria always highlights the other problem with this work; isolated individuals generally working without funding either alone or in institutions where we are seen at best as crazy, and at worst as idiots, or both. I am certainly thinking along the lines of creating some independent research institute, and becoming an independent scholar. I have found very useful a book called "The Independent Scholar's Handbook: The indispensable guide for the stubborn intelligence." by Ronald Gross 1993 Ten Speed Press, Berkely ISBN 0-89815-521-5. And I hope to incorporate some of his suggestions when I finish.

I will be in the US in November, and possibly in July as well. If there is interest among the group, maybe a forum on "The future direction on rock dust" may be appropriate. Not so much to exchange technical ideas, as much as to discuss the points raised here. I look forward to input from the rest of the forum.


Compost made with rock dust
Tara Weerasuriya
Date: 25 Mar 2000

Many of your readers must be aware that the organic food industry is one of the fastest growing in the field. It is expected that Canada's industry will increaseby 10%, USA by 20%. Agricultural economies such as New Zealand are getting into this business in a bi way. With the expanding market for organic food there is a future for SR. However as I see it, applying tons of rock dust however attractive theidea is, is not logistically possible. What I want to research on and get at existing info is the use of rock dust in composting. In your Beltville (?) project you applied rock dust and compost together for a treatment right? I remember reading in one of the SR magazines and Bhawalkar is a exponent of this, there are reports of improved yields obtained by using rock dust in the composting process. We need to gather experimental evidence of yields obtained from compost made by using rock dust in the composting process vs. normal compost.

Maybe, for a small fee, RE can undertake to do some literature research on the subject?

Perhaps the kind readers of this forum who are interested in this particular application of rock dust may be able to join forces and pool info on practitioners /researchers /research papers in this area. It would mean that the wheel does not have to be re-invented, on this topic.

Any contributions in this research area will be gratefully accepted.


Re: Compost made with rock dust
Andrew Harley
Date: 29 Mar 2000


Ron Korcak, USDA Beltsville was helpful with research that they are doing, and he has sent me some of his recent research. I understand he is more in an administrative role at this time. You can try him at KorcakR@BA.ARS.USDA.GOV or Larry Sikora ( who I understand is now doing the work. I plan to visit both of them in November.

Try also

The Men of the Trees here in Western Australia have been playing with composting their rock dust, and have had good success with seedling growth for eucalyptus, but nothing "scientific" has been done in this regard.

I agree with you on the need for composting from perspectives of application rates, handling problems and adding N and C in the rock dust.

A quick (and I mean quick) lit search only came up with one title:

Accession Number IND21974835. Author Szmidt, R.A.K. Ferguson, J. McLennan, S. Wilkins, C.A. Institution SAC Auchincruive, Ayr, Scotland, UK. Title Potential for co-utilisation of rockdust and composted material. Source Acta Horticulturae. [Leuven, Belgium : International Society for Horticultural Science] 1998. (469) p. 51-60.

Worth a shot.

Regards Andrew

Re: Compost made with rock dust
Joanna Campe
Date: 31 Mar 2000

The present and future is very promising for utilizing soil remineralization for the organic food market and transitioning the larger conventional farmers over to sustainable agriculture. I think SR is key to both in terms of the potential of increased yields, nutritional value and enhanced flavor.

As far as practicality, it is absolutely viable for direct application as well as incorporation in compost. There are some products out on the market now such as Optimum Yield whose input is as low as $29 per acre, not as practical for a low input crop like corn yet, but much less expensive than conventional fertilizers for some of the higher input crops.

I was just called by a large organic farmer in upstate NY who asked about picking up Gernatt Gravel (glacial moraine) at $5/ton in his own truck. As it is not necessary to apply yearly, but less often, this is indeed practical. He can even consider a product such as Optimum Yield as well.

There are millions of tons of aggregate and stone byproduct available. It would be wasteful not to make use of these already ground up byproducts in all the different and various ways we can apply them. They are sitting in storage, when they can be out regenerating soils.

Research on composting and SR:
Dr. Robin Szmidt Scottish Agricultural College
Horticulture-Coylton Road Unit
Auchincruive, Ayr KA6 5Hw
United Kingdom
Tel o1292-525-388
Fax 01292-525-389

I just looked at the website of the Scottish Ag College and found no way to contact this researcher and saw no research reports, though I know they gave a paper on the subject to the USDA. You might try contacting the researcher.

A copy of Soil Remineralization for an Economically and Ecologically Sustainable Agriculture in the Pioneer Valley 1996-97 is available for $7 or I could send as an attached file to your email.

Dr. Sikora has done research at the USDA and the abstract is available online and the ARS will be printing the results as a publication.

Lawrence J. Sikora Research Microbiologist
Soil Microbial Systems Laboratory
301-504-9384 301-504-8370 (fax)

roses al a gertrude stein
Date: 30 Jun 2000


i am visiting someone who just planted roses and does not know the options to the fertilizer insect spray product ORTHO'S Total Rose Care he is a sculptor working in granite and i suggested he use that but it seems to go over like a lead balloon. anyone have a set of solutions that he can buy at the store.

Re: roses al a gertrude stein
JC at RE
Date: 01 Jul 2000

U.S. Soils Planters II has gotten great results with prize winning roses and is easy to apply as a product through Judy Roylance, Roylance Environments at tel: 631-725-1009

Re: roses al a gertrude stein
Andy Lopez The Invisible Gardener of Malibu, CA
Date: 09 Dec 2000

I think you may have to get a new friend? actually it really is not that hard.. tell him: careful of what you feed your roses avoid high nitrogen fertilizers 2..give it a cup of coffee cream and sugar once a week your tobacco and make a tea out of it and spray on leaves. wa la!

Remin AND paramagnetism
Date: 27 Apr 2001

Anybody here had experience with remineralizing with paramagnetic stone?

Thanks, Rex Harrill

Re: Remin AND paramagnetism
JC at RE
Date: 11 May 2001

As advocated by John Hamaker in The Survival of Civilization, our emphasis has not been on paragnetic value, but there are several authors such as Phil Callahan writing about it and trials that have been done in the publication ACRES, USA. There are products available for soil remineralization where mineral content and paramagnetic value are taken into consideration in their formulation to create optimum soil enhancement such as AdszumPlus at and Optimum Yield at

Re: Remin AND paramagnetism
Date: 14 May 2001

Yep. To my mind remin. and paramagnetism may be complementary but are definately not the same thing. Sources of rocks or minerals chosen to crush and spread are likely to be paramagnetic. Plants, animals and humans need (amongst other things) a certain balance of necessary minerals to even contemplate reaching optimum health. The inference being that you could spread all the paramagnetic substance X you wanted and not achieve a healthy balance. Therefore, as most farmland is deficient, remin should come before notions of paramagnetic power. I am sceptical of theories of transmutation. I believe paramagnetism to be of assistance in assimilating mineral forms into the biological world.

Re: Remin AND paramagnetism
Andrew Harley
Date: 11 Mar 2001

Due to paramagnetism, would it be better to crunch the rocks available on the land I plan to add the rockdust, instead of bringing it from far away sources? Paramagnetism is generally a reflection of paramagnetic elements such as iron and magnesium. Grinding rocks can have two effects; reducing particle size making it more reactive, and breaking chemical bonds of the minerals. Depending on the grinding, the latter can also induce paramagnetism ((BOLDYREV, 1987)). I'm a fan of using local sources as it reduces transportation costs and I believe is more in line with the ethic of remineralization. However, there are plenty of proponents of rock dust that are willing to transport rock dust great distances because of a certain quality such as paramagnetism. In my view, if rock dust is to be globally accepted, then we need to be using local resources.

Has anyone tested rock dust from different types of granite? Has green granite been tested as rock dust? Granite is a fairly narrowly defined rock that is coarse grained, light (white to pink) and predominantly composed of silicon, aluminium and potassium in minerals that are fairly resistant to weathering. There are minor amounts of magnesium, iron and trace elements (<10%). As such there is not too much joy in the scientific literature in using granite as rock dust (BAKKEN et al., 1997; BAKKEN et al., 2000; BOLLAND and BAKER, 2000; CORONEOS et al., 1996; HINSINGER et al., 1996; SANS SCOVINO and ROWELL, 1988). However, none of these studies tested the role of silicon in plant growth, and >65% of granite is made up of SiO2, there may be an important place for granite.

By green granite, I presume you are referring to a coarse grained dark rock which is probably gabbro. This rock has a lot less silicon dioxide (<40%) and more, iron, magnesium and calcium + trace elements. I know of no work on this material, but the same rules for serpentinite apply here.

Bakken A. K., Gautneb H., and Myhr K. (1997) The potential of crushed rocks and mine tailings as slow releasing K fertilizers assessed by intensive cropping with Italian rye-grass in different soil types. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 47, 41-48. Bakken A. K., Gautneb H., Sveistrup T., and Myhr K. (2000) Crushed rocks and mine tailings applied as K fertilizers on grassland. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 56, 53-57. Boldyrev V. V. (1987) Mechanochemistry of inorganic solids. Thermochimica Acta 110, 303-317. Bolland M. D. A. and Baker M. J. (2000) Powdered granite is not an effective fertilizer for clover and wheat in sandy soils from Western Australia. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 56, 59-68. Coroneos C., Hinsinger P., and Gilkes R. J. (1996) Granite powder as a source of potassium for plants - a glasshouse bioassay comparing two pasture species. Fertilizer Research 45(2), 143-152. Hinsinger P., Bolland M. D. A., and Gilkes R. J. (1996) Silicate rock powder: effect on selected chemical properties of a range of soils from Western Australia and on plant growth as assessed in a glasshouse experiment. Fertilizer Research 45(1), 69-79. Sans Scovino J. I. and Rowell D. L. (1988) The use of feldspars as potassium fertilizers in the savannah of Columbia. Fertilizer Research 17, 71-83.

Stopping The Coming Ice Age
Date: 21 Feb 2001

The movie "Stopping the Coming Ice Age" was written and produced by Larry Ephron, now deceased. With the help of Don Weaver, Joanna Campe', John Hammaker and many others. It is actually a factual treatise on the uses and importance of rock dust. Whether or not the ice age is immanent. This movie has been put on the web by the Thule Foundation, it can be found at ne quarter teaspoon of 200 fine rock dust a day can alleviate the symptoms of colitis. Don't let the doctors operate on you. In 1988 I had a plan to have the natives themseklves remineralize the burned rain forest land in the Amazon. I submitted the plan to Sting, it would have only taken about $30,000 to start it with plans for the UN to continue it, and would have prevented or seriously reduced the wholesale clearing going on today.

Greensand as decent form of K?
Tania Gybels
Date: 22 Feb 2001

I have been reading recently to my dismay that greensand is really not a significant source of pottassium when compared price-wise and with regard to effectiveness with staright old wood ash. Does anyone have further information about greensand?

Re: Greensand as decent form of K?
Don Weaver
Date: 09 Mar 2001

Dear Tania,

I haven't used greensand as a remineralizer for soils for over 20 years, since I understood what John Hamaker was getting at in his articles about full-spectrum remineralization with natural rock/gravel mixtures, ground to dust or "fines" by Nature or our machinery. The idea that potassium will be one of about 92 rock-borne elements in a total natural mix and will be in relative balance with all the complementary elements made sense and proved itself out to me. Maybe there is a place for greensand if one doesn't have access to natural river or glacial gravel fines and needs to mix a variety of single rock types and specialty deposits like greensand. I seem to recall it comes mainly from New Jersey in this country? Perhaps the quarriers (not sure that's in dictionary!) and distributors there can tell you more about its composition, etc. Organic Gardening magazine probably still carries ads for it? Their Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening may carry analyses of both greensand and wood ashes. I don't recall which may have more potassium, but free(?)wood ash ought to add all the minerals (60-92?)in the wood back from where it was borrowed, as happens in a forest fire. Unfortunately, our increasing global forest fires mean further CO2 buildup and reduction of CO2-consuming greenery, therefore an increasingly urgent need for full-spectrum remineralization of the famished Earth by habitually neglectful us. Let's hope our collective capacity for unprecedented Generosity is being awakened "as we speak!" And that's all I have to say about that (for the moment), as Forrest -- Forrest Gump would say. (Guess I admired his random acts of Generosity!)

Re: Greensand as decent form of K?
Andrew Harley
Date: 09 Mar 2001

Greensands are made up of a mineral called glauconite, which is a mica with considerable K available for plant growth. It is also composed of sodium, calcium, iron, aluminium, magnesium and silicon. The mineral generally forms in marine sediments.

Andrew Harley Soil Science and Plant Nutrition Universiy of Western Australia

Remineralizaing Luna: Contact Julia Butterfly
Joanna Campe at Remineralize the Earth
Date: 19 Mar 2001

Dear Friends of Remineralize the Earth and Luna,

Don Weaver recently sent the message below to Julia Butterfly Hill, of the Circle of Life Foundation.

You may have heard how last Thanksgiving, Luna, the ancient Redwood tree in which Julia has dwelled in a tree-sit for two years (described in the book The Legacy of Luna) was greatly wounded in the trunk.

Remineralization would be a great way to bring about Luna's full recovery to health once again. Please consider sending an email message to Julia at the Circle of Life Foundation, encouraging remineralization of Luna with all wishes for Luna's regeneration and full recovery.

Last week my daughter Gaea and I heard Julia speak at Smith College. It was a great inspiration as she reflected back to all of us what it means to allow ourselves to truly live and feel fully and completely our love of the Earth and all Life, our hearts leading the way towards loving actions that make a difference.

This morning in the New York Times I read how the organization Doctors Without Borders and some concerned law students at Yale, paved the way within days, for a new drug for AIDs to get to Africans at a low cost. This seemed incredibly unlikely the week before, as the pharmaceutical company and Yale, which holds the patent, went about their usual business.

The power to shift whole institutions towards compassion and caring strategies that are not merely profit-driven, is appearing. With that I share my wish to see remineralization make its way to mainstream and organic agriculture and forestry with all the promise it holds. Now.

Please let Julia know that remineralization will strengthen our forests and make them more resistant to acid rain, disease, insect infestations, frost and drought. Their ability to store carbon dioxide will be greatly enhanced. By increasing timber growth 2-4 times, we can preserve old growth forests and create new jobs in the forestry sector at the same time.

Hi Dear Julia,

I'm glad to read in the recent Magical Blend interview that you're enjoying the simple joys and health (personal-and-planetary) benefits of raw foods. I hope you can get good organic produce and even some from remineralized soils. If not already underway, perhaps Circle of Life could start one or more community organic mineralized gardens/orchards/tree nurseries as inspirational and nourishing meeting sites, educational/demonstration centers, etc.

Speaking of remineralization with rock dust -- you'll recall I've sent you variety of articles by me and others on this topic, along with Living Nutrition magazine, etc. -- have you considered helping Luna regenerate and grow strong by generous rock dusting of the soil of her rooting zone? There is a time for a sick or injured being to fast, and a time to feed on the complete spectrum of nutritional elements. If she is willing and those caring for her are in agreement, I'd suggest spreading at least 250 lb. on up to 1000 lb. all around her extending perhaps 30-40 feet from her trunk? Perhaps it could be a bit more concentrated in her primary feeder root zones if they can be estimated, especially if you didn't have the ideal "plenty to go around!"

As far as a source, you could see if any bioregionally local gravel pits have some free or inexpensive "fines" (aka "gravel crusher screenings" or "crusher dust" or "rock dust" or similar names). Such sources are usually found in the Yellow Pages under "Sand and Gravel". I've also asked my friend Henry Bruski of Spiral Stonemeal company if he may want to donate some of his good material (usually available in 50 lb. bags) to the Luna rescue effort. I've yet to hear back from him. If you and Luna and all would like such a donation, please let me know and I can follow up further. Henry is based now in Eugene, OR, while I'm still based in the S.F. Bay Area. Good luck to Luna, you and our Circle of Life. I'll check your website for news next. By the way, the new edition of THE SURVIVAL OF CIVILIZATION book by John Hamaker and me concerning planetary soil remineralization and Earth Regeneration, is about done and will likely be published through Joanna Campe's website: Perhaps that site and your own may wish to "link" up one of these days.

With Love and Thanks,

Don Weaver co-author of The Survival of Civilization

Too Much Rock Dust?
Date: 27 Mar 2001

I received the following comment from Leland B. Taylor of Agronics in Albuquerque, N.M.: "Although we know that accurate balancing of cations and other plant foods in soils is not practical, there is no way of even coming close to top production by the use of rock dusts as sources of the essentialminerals. Such attempts invariably verify what we have preached for decades: Yield-lowering surpluses of rock-supplied minerals cannot be avoided: iron, for example, is already near toxic levels in many soils, and essentially all rocks have high percentages of iron." Mr. Taylor deals with a humate rich soil derived from the Menefee formation in New Mexico. Any comments?

Re: Too Much Rock Dust?
Don Weaver
Date: 02 Apr 2001

Lee Taylor's quote looks as though it is taken out of a broader statement, which to me makes it unclear exactly what is being said. I've been reading his articles in Acres USA and his own Biological Farming News for about 15 years or more, and what he says usually makes good sense to me. I thought he was generally strongly in favor of soil remineralization, although I'm not sure if he has ever tried materials other his Clodbuster and Fertimax products which I gather are both based on the New Mexico humate deposits his company mines. That has seemed to me a valuable material to use for its 'fossilized humus' content and whatever mineral spectrum it contains - probably broad if it is "geologically concentrated" plant matter, as I think Lee likes to call it. I'd think it would be especially useful in replenishing soils stripped of both minerals and organic matter if it were added with a broad spectrum gravel dust such as Nature has used to remineralize the Earth over the past 25 glacial periods of the past 2.5 million years.

Did Nature toxify the soils during these approximate 90,000-yr glacial remineralization periods? If so, I don't think John Hamaker and others would have recommended following Nature's fertilization methods. Nature has been using the mixed rocks of the Earth's crust to produce microorganisms and the whole chain of Life since "the Beginning" (after the crust had cooled awhile and the microbe-initiated chain of life got into the Paradise-creation business. It is evident that soil remineralization has been proceeding quite a bit longer than however many decades Lee might have been preaching avoidance of rock-supplied minerals with the idea to avoid potentially toxic minerals in excess. I think all the minerals found in Lee's humates would have been rock-supplied at some point in their history. I don't think that means they have an excess of iron or other elements.

When people first started farming the soils still rich from the previous glacial remineralization (or places like the Nile River Delta, Mekong and Red River Deltas, etc. which received regular replenishment from flood silt and detritus), they were typically amazed at what high yields were obtained without fertilization. Of course, they didn't put back all that was taken out, so they were robbing the bank of fertility from day one. That real wealth bank was deposited by Nature using Her usual materials, rock-supplied minerals -- usually in a broad, natural balance -- and the organic matter produced from the rock material foundation, returned to the soil as works best. If people had been "scientific" early on in their farming practices, they would have seen to replacement of Nature's materials borrowed during the farming and (increasingly) crop-exporting process. Much of the Earth's soils have been grossly depleted, eroded, imbalanced, and toxified since then, but just as I think it is never too late to do the right thing, I think it isn't too late to be both scientific and generous toward the soil, the Earth, and each other. I should add that I think to be scientific and to be natural should be the same. Sensible and practical also seem synonymous to me.

If Lee Taylor has discovered a way to improve upon Nature's fertilization methods, perhaps Rick would like to invite him to share his discoveries with the Remineralization Forum readers, and the largely malnourished and degenerating and starving world.

Re: Too Much Rock Dust?
Date: 02 Apr 2001

Thanks Don for your very good response. Please understand that I very much believe in and advocate the use of rock dust. It was just that I had not heard of the particular problem mentioned by Mr. Taylor. I was just curious if it had come up before and how it was handled. His comment about "yield-lowering surpluses of rock dust" caught me by surprise. I had mentioned to him that I wanted to try Robert Faust's concentrated humate mix along with rock dust and he responded with the comment that I posted. I will ask for more info on his comment and pass it along. I would guess there has been some problem when rock dust has been heavily applied on a soil that may already have an excess of iron or some other mineral that is plentiful in the rock dust. Now, it is my understanding that if the soil is alive with a very healthy mix of microrganisms that those little dudes will regulate the feeding to the roots so that there is no excess. But if you apply rock dust to a soil that is already severely depleted of microorganism life then it may well be that the plants do take up an excess of some mineral. Am I way off in this thinking? If so, please let me know. I am learning as I go. Thanks again for sharing your time and knowledge Don.

Re: Too Much Rock Dust?
Andrew Harley
Date: 05 Apr 2001


I agree with your comments entirely. One of the deeper questions I have is how to reconcile the wide ranging differences of rock type with some general principles leading to the overall objective of all us: remineralisation. Results are mixed for rock dust, but I don't believe that they are anymore so than those experienced in other fertiliser disciplines. If we had the same amount of research input as the chemcial fertiliser community, then I would begin to imagine that some of these issues would be resolved. I think though we should also realise that despite the huge amount of energy and money put into chemical fertiliser research, there are still many unanswered questions. There are plenty of farmers here in Australia that are in fact turning their backs on the chemcial industry simply because they are not getting the results that they believed they would. It is important for us to realise that our role as practical scientists is to observe, record, share and debate and build the body of knowledge that is required to further this cause.

Good luck Andrew

Re: Too Much Rock Dust?
Date: 06 Apr 2001

Have you read "Secrets of the Soil" by Peter Thompkins? He confirms your observation that many Australian farmers are quitting the chemical addiction and going organic. And, I think you will find that the method being used by some there is "cutting edge" to say the least. Not the common, everyday organic approach.

Farmers all over the world are wising up to the chemical lie. Momentum for organic is building everyday. What fascinates me is that there is much room for experiment and discovery even in the organic world. Rock dust, humates, zeolite, sonic bloom, vortex energy, energized water and more. I think we are just scratching the surface in discovering what the soil and plants are capable of yielding. I salute you! Rick

Re: Too Much Rock Dust?
Andrew Harley
Date: 07 Apr 2001

"Secrets of the Soil" literally jumped into my arms in a bookstore in Durango, CO at a time when I was living in Ridgway CO at the end moraine of a glacial valley and I haven't looked back since!

Because we have such poor soils, the deficiency of chemical agriculture is shown that much sooner than in many US soils. We measure our uncultivated top soils in centimetres (not even inches!!) and the reserves are non-existent. The good news though is that they respond that much quicker and the farmers are encouraged to persue this work in alternative agriculture. There is a group of farmers in one of the districts in WA that are attempting to set up a collective that handles their own research rather than leaving it to university and government researchers. Although exciting, there is alot of work that needs to be done.

Thanks for your support


Ian McHarg
nick consoletti
Date: 19 Apr 2001

Ian McHarg passed on monday His book on an ecological method of land use planning "Design with Nature" still holds. One of his last books was "To Heal The Earth". I was most fortunate to be able to hear him at the Buckminster Fuller World Games in 1976,1977 in Phily, and at the World game in 1978 held with the world tomorrows fair. It is due to characters like Ian McHarg that humanity might carry on

Re: Ian McHarg
nick consoletti
Date: 25 Aug 2001

He said, I'm paraphrasing... Consider yourself a sentient being approaching the planet earth. You begin to detect modulated forms of elecromagnetic radiation. There are point sources of high intensity all over the globe. As you get closer, you identify the human species and its' role in the phenomena. Finally, you ask yourself, "Is mankind but a planetary disease?"

Current Status of studies of SR and climate shift
John Frazer
Date: 07 Jun 2001

I recently found the movie "Stopping the Coming Ice Age" at my local library. I had already been familiarized with the concept of CO2 & greenhouse warming being a 'climate chaos' effect, rather than overll global warming, so the Hamaker theory on Ice age causes & cycles made sense to me.

I am wondering how the theories behind the movies' premise are holding up under scrutiny. I never heard of it prior to seeing the movie, and nobody I've talked to since has heard of it. Why is it so unknown? What serious disproofs have been offered? What serious study has it had, and what findings?

I am studying up on the Hamaker climate shift theories, and perfecting my ability to tell it to others, in preparation for discussing it with some rather good people on a mailing list which should become intimately concerned with it. I want to be prepared in advance for any discussion. I have already had some doubts raised. There's some real dispute about the idea that Ice ages are so regularly cyclic; How solid is the evidence for the average cited in the movie of 90,000/10,000 years?

I take it that most of the urgency in the movie is past. It's been over a decade, and no solid signs of a coming ice age. I know, this doesn't mean it's not a problem. Even if we're not heading into a 20 year shift in climate, it's still going to take a lot to turn it around, so there is still very much urgency.

John Frazer Boulder, Co

National Space Society Living Universe Foundation World Federalist Association

Re: Current Status of studies of SR and climate shift
Don Weaver
Date: 11 Jun 2001

Thanks for your concern and good questions. Have you read THE SURVIVAL OF CIVILIZATION and/or THE END: the imminent ice age and how we can stop it, both currently out of print? John Hamaker and I co-authored the former, "Stopping the Coming Ice Age" producer Larry Ephron the latter. I'd suggest them as part of your studying, along with some further perspectives we'll put up at this site as things move along. I think John overestimated the speed at which the interglacial would terminate, but that his overall Thesis, never disproven, is still deserving of careful, open-minded consideration by all. While the modellers trying to predict how much average "warming" there will be with their "sophisticated" mathematical computer models and some are saying major climate disruption is likely by 2100, a 35" rain is putting much of Houston and environs under water. Apparently there is quite a spectrum of definitions for words like "major" and "urgency." Perhaps we can still miraculously come to global agreement that it is time to give generously to Regenerate the Earth before we make certain we're past a "point of no return." If we're still not ready to help the Gaiasphere regenerate and transform our ecologically-destructive habits into conscious constructive actions, then I think we should expect Nature to terminate our tentative "lease on life" afforded by the potential Interglacial Paradise. Maybe I'm an "idealist," but John Hamaker impressed on me the need to be a practical one. I say let's practice Earth Regeneration and Climate Stabilization by returning CO2 levels to the Interglacial norm of about 280 ppm. Remineralization and Reforestation and switching to Solar/Biomass Energy via eco-farming and eco-forestry gives us the option. This option is far from unknown, but it isn't much discussed in general circles, is it? Thanks, John, and the anonymous commentator who referred to a conference on "Global Warming and the Ice Age." Have you discovered if this involves the sort of causal link between the two which John Hamaker described?

toxic minerals
Date: 12 Jul 2001

Is there a problem when adding rock dust for soil remineralization that has toxic elements. I have had rock dust analized and the chemical composition shows aluminum at 1700 ppm. The ph of the soil is about 7. Can plants absorb toxic minerals that they do not need?

Re: toxic minerals
Andrew Harley
Date: 15 Jul 2001

Toxic elements are a potential problem, although at the rates that rock dust is being applied, they are generally of minor concern.

Your particular issue of 1700ppm Al (0.17%) at pH 7 is harmless. Firstly the concentrations are very low and I suspect that you have a mafic or ultramafic rock that may have other potential problems such as copper, nickel, zinc, manganese. Secondly, and more importantly, at the neutral pH, these elements are generally unavailable to plants. Al only becomes potentially available at pH values less than 5, and even then you don't see Al toxicitits until around pH 4. Acid environmnets tend to mobilize metals that can be potentially toxic.

Adding rock dust to soils with pH 7 also means that those soils are likely to have good organic matter and microbial activity. These regulate the movement of metals and buffer them to be useful rather than harmful.

Let me know if you need further information.

Regards Andrew Harley University of Western Australia

Re: toxic minerals
Andrew Harley
Date: 16 Jul 2001

The other aspect of adding rock dust that I forgot to mention at 10pm on a Sunday night is the potential for silicon, a central component of rock dust, to ameliorate metal contamination. There is evidence in the scientific literature that Si helps reduce copper, manganese and zinc toxicity and also has a role in reducing Al toxicity. My own research indicates the same, although due to experimental design, it is unclear whether this is due to plant nutrition (ie the plants are taking up available Si instead of metals), a pH relationship (rock dust has a liming effect on acid soils; see part 1 of this reply) or whether there is a physical effect (eg increased surface area is attracting metal ions). There is plenty of debate in the scientific community regarding Si nutrition, although it's role in the nutrition of grasses, especially rice, is well documented.

I have plenty of literature regarding Si nutrition. If anyone wants a list of these references, please email me at

Re: toxic minerals
Date: 16 Jul 2001

when i visited barbara logan years ago, she told me that her naturopathic doctor had said the same about there being too much aluminum in her soil. recently i received a bit of information from the rockland corporation, and they did not buy the argument about aluminum and toxicity. they have a contract on sites in utah and if i got it right have updated or refined the clark minerals. they are on the web if you want to check them out.

nick consoletti

Re: toxic minerals
Andrew Harley, UWA
Date: 16 Jul 2001


Al is in all soil. It is a central component of all aluminosilicate minerals such as clays, hence the name. Discussisons whether there is "too much" Al is a tough one as it is ubiquitious. The point I am making is not the concentration of Al (or other metals), but the other factors in the soil which control the form of the metals. In a near neutral soil with adequate organic matter, as it appears you have, microbial activity will be good and these metals are incorpated into structures such as chelates that are unavailable to plants or can be in useful forms to be used by the plants.

As for your own personal health, I believe the same principle applies, but that is my personal opinion only.

Good luck Andrew

Re: toxic minerals
JC at RE
Date: 02 Aug 2001

Hamaker asserts that "Micro-organisms select what they need to make the compounds of life, and reject to the subsoil what is not needed, [such as] aluminum, silicon, iron, etc., which are generally in excess [in gravel dust]," further pointing to "the Kervran research on biological transmutations", which suggests that biological organisms may play an active role not only in selecting specific elements, but also in modulating their elemental nature to create needed materials where they are in short supply. Hamaker says "As long as the soil is neutral [in pH] or close to it, microorganisms will control what goes into the plant roots. These controls are off when the soil is acid or acidic chemicals are added."

Re: toxic minerals
Date: 29 Jul 2001

Er...This may be beating a dead horse...but did you guys read the old article (1999 i believe) from the seattle times called Fear in the Fields?

And speaking of magnetism...even though I havent read any books... has anyone considered Diamagnetism instead of Paramagnetism?

Re: toxic minerals

Date: 04 Aug 2001

Consider looking at the book "The Enlivened Rock Powders," by Harvey Lisle available from Acres USA.

To order book on the internet go to:

Doubts about greensand
Charles Paradise
Date: 04 Aug 2001

Greensand has a significant aluminum content. Because aluminum is connected to Alzheimer's and two other severe neurological disorders, I seem another mineral with significant potassium content. Ideas?

Re: Doubts about greensand
Andrew Harley, UWA
Date: 14 Aug 2001

Please see my previous discussion regarding toxic metals. I can't stress enough the fact that all material under the banner "rock dust" has aluminium (Al)as does any soil it is weathering product of rocks in the first place. It is the third most abundant element in the earth's crust and incorporates into minerals the same way as Si does. What is important is that at near neutral pH values Al is unavailable for plant uptake. This is further enhanced in soils with good organic matter. Al toxicity in plants is characterised by stunted root development and thus stunted growth.

As for greensand; it belongs to a group of minerals called micas which are also referred to as sheet silicates and between the sheets are potassium which is readily exchanged with soil solution. During thiss process, there is plenty of K exchange and very little mineral dissolution i.e. the Al that is contained within the sheets, stays there. The proper mineral name for greensand is glauconite and has one of the lowest Al contents (<2%) of the micas.

I hope this allevietes your concnerns.

Ocean Beach Sand
Ken Burrows
Date: 02 Oct 2001

Does anyone know if ocean beach sand, the very fine white beach type(from ground rock), would be OK to spread on your garden, It seems very fine, not coarse like the kind found on most fresh water lakes..

Re: Ocean Beach Sand
Don Weaver
Date: 22 Dec 2001

I think it tends to be well-leached of minerals from longtime wave action, leaving mainly silica or "glass". Coarser sand probably has more of the biologically essential balance of minerals, but of course the coarser the less available, generally. So it returns us to the need to remineralize with "full spectrum" rock dust such as found in heterogenous mixed rock deposits, "ideally." I'd spend the day working that into my garden or farm, then go lay in the fine beach sand and rest!

Rock dust & pets
Date: 12 Oct 2001

anyone ever used rock dust w/tropical fish or any other pets? If so, what are the results, if any, on their growth & coloration? If nobody has done it yet, can you give me some tips on how to try it out? Thank you.

Re: Rock dust & pets
Don Weaver
Date: 04 Feb 2002

I think the Azomite company may have the most experience and documentation regarding use with various animals, tho I don't know if that includes fish. We know that minerals feed the phytoplankton and other "small fry" in the watery food chains, so you might consider whether you have a similar indoor system which would benefit from a "natural" input of dust.

What type of rock dust for apple orchard?
Date: 13 Oct 2001

I am wondering what type of rock dust to use on an apple and pear orchard? My dad has a small orchard with apples,pears, some nuts,grapes and kiwi's. He lives in N.Y. any suggestions? Thanks CHAR

Re: What type of rock dust for apple orchard?
Don Weaver
Date: 13 Oct 2001

Hi Char, A good natural mixture such as glacial gravel or river gravel dust or "fines" (usually, "the finer the better")would be a great way to imitate how Nature creates soils. I don't know if your father is anywhere near Collins, NY, but that is where Gernatt Gravel Products is located, and I believe they supplied the glacial fines used in the USDA experiment a few years ago. As I read the results, those fines seemed to give the best results, particularly when used with organic matter, naturally. Too bad they didn't see the obvious great potential enough to continue the trials "long-term." Perhaps they'll soon see the wisdom of "getting with the (Nature's) program." Gernatt Gravel Products, POB 400, Collins, NY 14034 (716) 532-3371.

Date: 23 Nov 2001

Anyone here got any research articles or personal experience with Rudolf Steiners "Bio-Dynamic" Agricultural practises?

Re: Bio-Dynamics?
JC at RE
Date: 26 Nov 2001

You should be able to find a lot of information on biodynamic agriculture through search engines on the internet. It is a whole world of sustainable agriculture unto itself. Remineralization is a complementary supplement. One of the most famous advocates, Alex Podolinsky in Australia, has often recommended soil remineralization to biodynamic farmers.

Blue steel dust?
John Brisbin (Australia)
Date: 26 Dec 2001

Howdy all,

Great site and forum! Here in Australia we have a granitic (?) rock used for road base etc called "blue steel".

I have been thinking about visiting a quarry and seeing there is a useable quantity of dust that could be scavenged from around their crushers.

Anybody have advice on: - what exactly is "blue steel" - how suitable it might be for agricultural reminiralisation - experience with acquiring dust supplies from quarry operators


John Brisbin Australian Community Foods

Re: Bio-Dynamics?
Andrew Harley, University of Western Australia
Date: 08 Jan 2002


Blue steel dust is probably blue metal, commonly used as road base in Australia especially east coast. This material is igneous in origin and the dark (blue hue) indicates that the material is mafic ie comparatively higher proportion of iron, magnesium and calcium with lower levels of Si compared to granite. Olives Australia ( recommend the material when planting and have some good information on the material

I had a look at your website and am assuming you are in the Wollongong area. Boral has a good source in Kiama as well as their Prospect quarry in western Sydney. Contact Tony Zdrillic on (02) 9688-9903 and mention my name. Contact me directly if you are unable to reach Tony, require more information, or are nowhere near the 'Gong.

Regards Andrew Harley

Rock Dust to Help California's Oaks
Ralph Zingaro
Date: 26 Dec 2001

I am a private consultant and we are currently remineralizing soils around dying oak trees. Visit our website at Regards, Ralph Zingaro

Steve Manch (
Date: 16 Jan 2002

Hello, I am new to this forum. I would appreciate it if someone could tell me what are the components of lava and what is the pH.

Thanks, Steve

Re: lava
Andrew Harley
Date: 19 Jan 2002

Dear Steve:

Lava is a general term for molten rock coming from a volcano (see current scenes in the Republic of Congo). The composition of lava depends on it's original source. General rule of thumb for all rocks is the lighter the colour, the higher the content of Si, K, Na and the darker the rock the higher the content of Fe, Mg, Ca and trace elements. Lava also tends to be fine grained as the cool rapidly at the earth's surface. As such they are recommended as good sources for remineralization due to the ability to dissolve comparitevly rapidly.

As for the pH, their are several factors including the composition as described above and the method of measurement. All rocks have what is called the "abrasive pH" which is the pH of a solution that has had the ground rock added to it for a length of time. Factors affecting the final pH is the particle size, solid:solution ratio and length of time of contact between the rock and solution. In general though, the abrasive pH of all rocks is alkaline with a pH of approximately 8-10. The higher pH is generally for the darker rocks. As a result, all silicate rocks have a "liming effect" ie the pH of a soil is raised when silicate rocks are added. The effect is not as dramatic as when lime is added, however, the current theory amoung advocates in Australia is that it allows a greater opportunity for the microbes to equilibrate to a much slower change in soil pH. In addition, high pH as a result of liming can affect silicon solubility which as far as I know has not been addressed by advocates of lime addition.


Andrew Harley University of Western Australia

national acadame press library
Date: 17 March 2002

the presise url for the abrupt climate change report: if you want to request a copy for review e-mail ;other inquiries 1-888-624-8373 nick consoletti

The Soul of Soil by David March Resurgence issue 211
Date: 03 Apr 2002

The article on remineralization by David Marsh entitled The Soul of Soil, which appears in the march/april 2,003 Resurgence on line is downloadable the url:

Weather news by Susan Solomon
Date: 04 Apr 2002

Global pattern of extreme weather alarms climate scientists (english) by BEN SANDILANDS - Otago Daily Times (via KD) 4:12am Wed Apr 3 '02 (Modified on 5:59am Wed Apr 3 '02) There may be a single reason for this year's cool summer in Australia and New Zealand, BEN SANDILANDS reports from Hobart, Tasmania, and it lies in the India Ocean. The world's top climate scientists have been told that holes in the ozone layers above the North and South Poles have now established a global pattern of freakish weather. TWO TIGHT vortices of ultra-cold air have started dancing around the North and South Poles, causing unprecedented weather extremes, according to a secret research briefing by a leading American expert on the workings of the world's atmosphere. A video of Dr Susan Solomon briefing a closed session of the world's top climate change scientists was obtained by the Australian Financial Review via a delegate who said the public should be told what the delegates have now gone home to tell their presidents and prime ministers. Dr Solomon said the ozone hole over Antarctica, and lesser ozone depletions over the Arctic, have now established a pattern in which vortices of extremely cold air are becoming trapped over the polar regions instead of performing their natural function of spreading to lower latitudes and cooling global weather systems. Dr Solomon led the 1986-87 research expedition to Antarctica that proved that chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, in aerosol sprays were accumulating above the poles and driving a complex chemical chain reaction that destroyed the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. After hearing from Dr Solomon and other researchers, some delegates said they would advise their governments that the option of waiting for more evidence of climate change was being overtaken by the real thing. Outbreaks of extreme weather would take an unacceptable toll of human life, farm production and social infrastructure, including transport systems and buildings. The very day Dr Solomon was telling the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme how the Antarctic vortex could cause a rapid distintegration of some of its ice shelves, the Larsen B formation collapsed, spawning thousands of gigantic icebergs. However, Dr Solomon's thesis shocked her fellow scientists even more than the satellite images showing such an abrupt change to Antarctic topography. She told them she had established a direct link between the chemical poisoning of the stratosphere and not just the ice shelf collapse, but the increasingly bizarre outbreaks of abnormal hot and cold weather in different parts of the world. That poisoning comes from the thin but potent accumulation of synthetic CFCs and other "halons" that have caused the major ozone hole to form over Antarctica and similar holes above the Arctic. Until now no link has ever been suggested between the very recent disappearance of atmospheric ozone over the poles and rapid, large-scale changes in the vast but slowly moving ice features of Antarctica that have been stable over time scales of tens of thousands of years. Dr Solomon explained that ozone's natural role is to convert ultraviolet radiation into heat as it absorbs and prevents it from reaching the ground with its full and harmful intensity. Where that ozone has been removed by the complex chain reactions that can only take place in polar air masses, the upper and middle layers of the atmosphere are now much colder than before. This fierce cooling is, in turn, deepening the centres of low pressure over both polar regions around which the weather patterns previously danced in a lazy vortex that circulated cold air to the mid-latitudes. Dr Solomon said these vortices have now shrunk or "tightened" into much faster, colder and smaller patterns of circulation, which, depending on other influences from oceans or land masses, are displacing normal weather patterns. She made a direct link between the spectacular and persistent warming of much of North America and the creation of winter storms paths that have put northeast Canada, much of Scandinavia and parts of southern Europe and the Middle East under unexpectedly heavy snow falls. In Antarctica, the result has been to confine extremely cold air to the centre of the main continent, preventing it circulating over the more northerly reaches of the peninsula. This exposed the Larsen Ice Shelf to the comparative warmth of the adjacent ocean and lifted temperatures so far above freezing that glacial disintegration became swift and inevitable. This summer has been one of the coldest ever recorded in the southern third of Australia and the culprit is a blocking weather system in the southern Indian Ocean of a type never before observed. While it has forced cooler air over the bottom of Australia, it also drove pack ice hard on to sections of the Antarctic coastline that would normally have been open water. The surface of the "wind fast" icebergs became dotted with extensive pools of melt water, a sight never previously recorded along the margins of Antarctica. Delegates said these were massive, unpredicted events, yet other global warming consequences predicted by newer computer modelling of climate change appear to be coming true. Oxygen levels are declining as forecast in the mid-levels of the Antarctic deep ocean currents critical for distributing nutrients rich in dissolved oxygen to warmer waters. Southwest Australia is 26 years into a drought that may be confirmation of predictions that greenhouse-induced warming will turn that part of the continent into a desert. Dr Kevin Trenberth, a delegate from the National Climate and Atmospheric Research Laboratory in Colorado, says that while global warning is real, it is real in ways that do not sit well with the science-by-slogan mentality that turns every hot day into a sign of global melt-down. "The cycles of the past, both cooler or hotter than today, are no guide to the future. Within the next 20 to 50 years, the world will experience weather events for which there is no precedent. "We have changed the chemistry of the atmosphere with a range of compounds that have never occurred in the past," Dr Trenberth said. "What we must do is to map in great detail the origins and distribution of these chemical changes so we can accurately predict what they will do and look at what we can do if we don't like what we see." Dr Trenberth said the true magnitude of global warming had been disguised because "a lot of the extra heating is soaked up by enhanced evaporation". "Where we see an air temperature rise of 1 degree C we are finding a 6% to 7% rise in the moisture-carrying capacity of the atmosphere. This is driving us into situations where the rain falls a lot harder, but in fewer events, making extremes of flooding increasingly likely." Dr Graeme Pearman, chief of atmospheric research at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, said concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide were at their highest levels for at least 400,000 years. "There is nothing we can do to stop those concentrations doubling in the next 50 years. By 2050, the two billion people who currently have no industrial energy cycle will be generating their greenhouse gases because of economic growth and there will be at least another two billion increase in global population." "We have some urgent choices to make." - The Observer Tuesday, 2-April 2002

Ps: how's the book comin' Don????

More Weather Views
Christian Campe
Date: 05 Apr 2002

Deciphering Contradictory Antarctic Climate Patterns April 2, 2002 By KENNETH CHANG Antarctica is experiencing some of the fastest warming in the world. Antarctica is cooling. Some of its glaciers are thinning. Some are thickening. Ice shelves are disappearing. More sea ice is forming. Scientists have reported all this in recent months. It may all be true, even the contradictory parts. "Confusing, isn't it?" asked Dr. Eric Rignot, a glacier expert at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Dr. Peter T. Doran, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, agreed. "It's a mixed bag of signals." The reason is that Antarctica is not a single, simple place. At 5.4 million square miles, it is one-third larger than the United States, and just as the Midwest may experience a heat wave while the Northeast is unusually cool, climate does not move in lock step across Antarctica. Those warning of dire consequences from global warming and those playing down the dangers of heat-trapping greenhouse gases can both find pieces of data to support their views. "People forget that it's a continent," said Dr. David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey. "We don't expect everything to be the same across Asia when climate changes. It's the same thing there." Antarctica's role in climate and the oceans is largely a story of ice. Ninety percent of the world's ice lies either on the continent, in ice sheets that are on average 1.3 miles thick, or in sheets that have flowed offshore to form floating platforms of ice along the coast, hundreds to thousands of feet thick. The largest of these, the Ross Ice Shelf, covers 200,000 square miles, an area about the size of France. The third component of Antarctic ice is a thin layer of frozen ocean, or sea ice, that grows and shrinks with the seasons. A few feet thick, sea ice covers one million square miles of ocean in summer and grows to six million square miles in winter, doubling the size of the continent. News like the disintegration of an ice shelf the size of Rhode Island a month ago conjures a vision that a warming world will lead to doom by drowning - not from melting ice shelves, which like melting ice in a glass do not change water levels, but from melting ice sheets sending their fresh water flowing toward the sea. If all of Antarctica's ice sheets turned to water, the world's oceans would deepen by more than 200 feet. That will not happen. Annual temperatures in the Antarctic interior average minus 70 degrees or colder. Even a 10-degree temperature rise - greater than climate models' worst-case predictions - would leave almost all of the ice frozen. But ice sheets along the warmer coastal fringes of Antarctica are more vulnerable to melting. Even modest sea-level rises could increase flooding of coastal lands like Bangladesh, Florida and even Manhattan. Shifting ice could also divert the ocean currents that circle the continent, possibly disrupting the global flow of ocean water and altering the climate still further. The changes in the Antarctic landscape do not have a single cause. Some are part of the natural cycles of the continent. Some are probably delayed effects of the end of the last ice age. Some may have been brought on by the warming trend of the last century. On the spindly peninsula that stretches out toward South America, temperatures have risen rapidly, nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 50 years, about 10 times as much as the average temperature rise worldwide. The consequences have been quick and startling. With summer temperatures now regularly rising above freezing, ice melts into puddles on the top of ice shelves along the peninsula. The water flows down into cracks in the ice, its weight forcing the cracks wider until large sections of the shelf shatter with surprising quickness. "There's no doubt these ice shelves are disappearing because of this warming trend," said Dr. Rignot of NASA. In 1995, researchers started noticing the disintegration of the Larsen Ice Shelf, on the northeastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, when the northernmost section, known as Larsen A, shattered into shards. In 1998, the middle portion, Larsen B, started shrinking, losing 1,000 square miles over four years. Then, in February, a 1,250-square-mile section - larger than Rhode Island - started splintering, and in just over a month, it was gone, sending billions of tons of ice floating into the ocean to melt. Scientists expect the remaining nub of Larsen B and C, the last section of the shelf, to fall apart in the coming years. Although their destruction does not directly raise sea level, the shelves had acted like door jambs against inland ice sheets. The sheets may now flow more quickly to the sea; the new ice displaces water and raises sea levels, the way extra ice cubes raise the water level in a glass. A melting ice shelf is not necessarily a sign of human-induced global warming. Ice shelves have grown and shrunk through the ages, mirroring the natural cooling and warming of the climate. In a core of sediments taken from the sea floor that was once covered by the Larsen A Ice Shelf, researchers led by Dr. Eugene W. Domack, a professor of geology at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., found the tiny fossils of marine algae. The finding indicates that this part of the ice shelf had been open water at least once before. The shelf probably melted about 6,000 years ago in a previous warm spell, Dr. Domack said, and remained open water until refreezing during the Little Ice Age about 700 years ago, then remained frozen until it fell apart in 1995. Under the Larsen B, however, the researchers found no algae remains in the sediments, indicating that this shelf had remained intact since it formed during the last full-fledged ice age, more than 10,000 years ago, until its demise last month. Dr. Theodore A. Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, said the long life of Larsen B "makes you think there's something particularly unusual about this warming" - perhaps evidence that the warming has been brought on by artificial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Almost at the same time of Larsen B's demise, further to the south, an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off the floating part of the Thwaites Glacier. A few months earlier, parts of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off. But these two events, scientists say, are not unusual. As glaciers flow into the water, the ice shelves grow until some point when a large iceberg breaks off, and then the process is repeated. The part of the Ross Ice Shelf where the iceberg broke away is now the same smaller size it was when the explorers Robert F. Scott and Ernest Shackleton observed it at the start of the 20th century. The melting of the Larsen and other peninsula ice shelves will also not have worldwide repercussions. The amount of ice on the peninsula is relatively small, potentially contributing only a small rise in sea level. The rest of Antarctica shows no signs of widespread warming. In an article in the journal Nature in January, Dr. Doran of the University of Illinois and his colleagues reported that temperatures in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a rocky, ice-free area west of the Ross Ice Shelf, had cooled about 2 degrees Fahrenheit from 1979 to 1998. Extrapolating that data with other temperature measurements in other parts of Antarctica from the past 35 years, they concluded that Antarctica as a whole has cooled, too. Scientists at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center have also reported that satellite measurements show that sea ice now covers about 2 percent more area around Antarctica than it did two decades ago, another suggestion of recent cooling. Because climate naturally warms and cools on cycles lasting for decades, the observed Antarctic cooling does not disprove the idea of human-induced global warming. Scientists cannot say yet whether the cooling is a short-term blip masking a long-term warming trend or a long-term trend contrary to their predictions. "It may still warm," Dr. Doran said. "It's not really making up its mind yet." In a comparison of 17 computer models of world climate, all predict global warming will kick in over Antarctica, and most indicate temperatures in the interior of the continent will rise faster than in the rest of the world, said Dr. Benjamin D. Santer, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "There is a common warming signal," he said. Because ice reflects most light and heat back into space, the exposed water will absorb more heat as sea ice melts, and further add to the warming. Counterintuitively, global warming would actually lower sea levels at first. In warmer temperatures, evaporation of ocean water increases and more snow falls, more than offsetting the melting ice at the edges. But over the longer term - perhaps centuries, perhaps thousands of years - prolonged warmth in Antarctica would add to the ocean depths. Of particular worry is West Antarctica, where most of the bedrock lies below sea level. That makes the ice sheet on top more vulnerable to warming waters lapping at its edges. The worry is not entirely theoretical. Scientists have found algae remains beneath the West Antarctic ice far inland from the present ocean, a sign that the ice sheet had entirely melted at some time in the last two million years. But the fossil evidence gives little hint how quickly the melt occurred or its cause. Scientists do not have a good sense of the current trends, because until a few years ago, data came from only a few ground-based weather stations. With satellites, scientists now keep close watch of changes to Antarctica as they occur. "We can get images of what happened yesterday on the computer," said Dr. Rignot. "That changes everything for glaciologists." In December, Dr. Rignot reported on satellite measurements indicating that the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in West Antarctica were thinning and speeding up, losing about 36 cubic miles in the last decade. A month later, other researchers, including Dr. Ian R. Joughin, an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with an office near Dr. Rignot's, reported a change with opposite effect nearby. Two of the ice streams that flow in the Ross Ice Shelf have slowed, they said, and that area of Antarctica is gaining mass. Neither the slowdown in the Ross ice streams nor the speed-up of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers results from climate changes, at least not recent ones. One Ross ice stream stopped flowing 150 years ago. Even if the Antarctic warms in coming years, some glaciers will not be affected for a long time. Ice does not conduct heat well, and a rise of a few degrees in the air would take thousands of years to affect a glacier base a mile away, where it could lubricate the flow. The thinning of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers "may be a direct impact of global warming that happened 20,000 years ago," said Dr. Robert Bindschadler, a glaciologist at Goddard. "It may be only now that Antarctica is getting around to its full-fledged response to that." In Antarctica, climate change sometimes takes its time.


I am in the wheatgrass growing buisness until I get my own orchard going. We are currently having a mold problem at our facility. I am wondering if it isn't in part the soil- we usually use 100% composted veg. mater, but have had to buy soil in lately. Has anyone ever tried using rock dust when growing sprouts in soil, and was it successful? Thanks

Re: sprouts
Don Weaver


I don't see my reply from about a week ago posted, so I'll try again. In summary, I said that I and others have grown composted and rock-dusted trays of wheatgrass, buckwheat lettuce, and sunflower greens with fine results. I gave a talk on remineralization to the Santa Cruz living foods groups a few months ago and Sandra of New Natives Sprouts was present. She has gotten good, healthy growth when adding rock dust to her sprouts and wheatgrass, and she helped coordinate a bulk order for a palllet of Spiral Stonemeal with the others in attendance. It appears that when we follow Nature's formula of rock dust plus compost for soil building, the soil life system will have all it needs to find a healthy balance in diversity, even while various microorganism population explosions (what we want) are in progress. There progress is our progress. Hey, its about time we had a new definition of progress! We'd appreciate hearing more of your experiences. ~Don


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