From left, student Valarie Robson, Dr. Veronica Sanchez and students Jason Hayes and Matthew Austin.

Glistening geodes and fossilized seahorses entranced parents and kids alike at the College of the Mainland's Geology Club exhibit at the Clear Lake Gem and Mineral Show at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Students and geology professor Dr. Veronica Sanchez explained how geological specimens formed during the event.
"We are interested in answering people's questions about the minerals and rocks or fossils they purchase or bring in just for us to help them identify them," said COM professor and Geology Club advisor Dr. Veronica Sanchez. "We also like to meet people and listen to their stories of where they have collected minerals. We run into people who may have been misinformed about the origin or the nature of some fossils or minerals, and we provide clarification."

Siera Blankenship, a COM biology major, is teaching others what she's learned since being in the club.

"A lot of people don't understand about geology," said Blankenship, COM Geology Club secretary. "We offered a hands-on experience. Geology is not a far-off experience. It's real and you can touch it."

The project is part of the Geology Club's mission of educating people on the science around them.

"I believe all sciences are related," said Blankenship. "Geology isn't just crystals or sparkly rocks. It affects where you live. You don't want to live somewhere with landslides."
At the event, students also viewed minerals from around the world and watched professionals crack geodes.

"You can get interested in it like I did and start a mineral collection," said Blankenship. "They had stuff from around the world. It was nice not to have to travel to Morocco and China. I got a hemimorphite from China. It has a lot of different colors in it. It looks like a galaxy."

The project is one of the Geology Club's many educational outreaches.

"We often have Boy Scout groups in our classroom and we have the K.E. Little project, where we teach basic geology to third and fourth graders," said Sanchez.

The club is preparing for an upcoming trip exploring geology in Arkansas.

"With the geology club we're always doing something," said Blankenship. "You do a lot of volunteering, get out in the community and connect with people. It's a fun experience."

For more information about the COM Geology Club, contact Sanchez at