Sunday, 18 November 2012

Earth Rocks

1959 International Geophysical Year (2nd issue)
What better way to celebrate geology and the earth than these two stamps, although my choice may have been  influenced by the fact that an Emperor Penguin appears on one of them.  They both commemorated the International Geophysical Year which actually lasted for 18 months but when studying things that have been around for billions of years I guess a few months does not make a difference. The stamps feature a glaciologist and an Antarctic map with the Russian base.  The Punch magazine featured a cartoon at the time  that sent up the three UK, USA and USSR bases and their interaction with the penguins here.  The IGY's aim was to co-ordinate the collection of geophysical data from around the world. The work at the pole led to the Antarctic Treaty of 1961 whose aim is to  protect the area and devote it to peace and science.
1884: "Strategic Metals"
Doesn't look too peaceful here as Manganese is blasted out of the earth but I do like the stamp which is quite unusual by showing the process, the element and the chemical symbol. Manganese is essential to iron and steel making and South Africa provides 80% of the world's supply from the mines in a desert region of the North Cape. There are large thick continuous seams which Peter Toth a CEO said was a "dream from a mining and geological point of view", although getting it to a port is an altogether more difficult process.

The stamp designer Hein Botha has produced other geology stamps for Namibia and also the succulent plants definitive series for South Africa whose curious shapes have a rock shaped element to them.
But back to a classic view - the  "Minerals of China" stamps starting with Orpiment beloved by alchemists in their unsuccessful search for ways to make gold.
Stibnite used in the ancient world ground into fat pastes as eye liner and to darken brows and lashes known as Kohl.
And to complete the set here are the wonderfully named Cinnabar and Wolframite.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of - Geology and the Earth


Scriptor Senex said...

I love those minerals of China stamps.

Bob Scotney said...

I studied geology as a subsidiary subject at university have seen samples of some of the rocks you have shown on these marvellous stamps.

Ana said...

those mineral stamps are great! I also at first thought of going with some minerals today, but unfortunately, didnt have a neat set to show...

Postcardy said...

I especially like the International Geophysical Year stamps.

viridian said...

Goodness, I like all of these, and the Punch cartoon too! :-) And the S. Africa stamp is the first one where I have seen an element featured. The IGY got a lot of good science work done.
Thank you for participating!

Marcie said...

The mineral stamps are beaeutiful!

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

Love the Punch cartoon! The South African stamp is so interesting. I haven't seen one like that before anywhere.

VioletSky said...

ah, are you another penguin lover?!!we live in the wrong hemisphere, don't we!
I like Hein Botha's designs.