Sunday, March 22, 2015

March Hachita field trip photos

Submitted by club member Andy Anderson.   Read more about this destination at this 2012 Advice to a Reader.

There is more information in this 2010 Post about Old Hachita.  

Ansel and friend picking up slag from a slag dump

Up a steep embankment

This was a really steep climb out of an arroyo

Old mine shaft and dump gathering specimens

Area around Old Hachita.

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Field Trip Report

Field Trip February 21, 2015
Submitted by Sydney Tuffly - Club Member

Stop 1 - Gravel Deposits East of Hatch, New Mexico

These gravel deposits composed of well rounded cobbles and pebbles represent Quaternary (beginning about 1.8 million years ago) age alluvial (water-laid) gravel deposits interbedded with fluvial (river-laid) gravel deposits of the Rio Grande river valley. These gravels vary in composition having been derived from igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks that represent the geology of the local mountain ranges and geological terranes (fault –bounded area).

The pebbles also appear to have been polished and abraded by the erosive action of blowing sand particles giving them a high luster. Some of the pebbles and cobbles are not rounded but have a triangular shape. These wind polished rocks are called ventifacts. The triangular shape represents the three prevailing wind directions in this location.

Stop 2 – Barite Mine in the Caballos Mountains -Northeast of Hatch, New Mexico

This abandoned mining area located in the southern Caballos Mountains is in the Rincon District. It was discovered in the early 1900’s. The deposits are thin and are uneconomic. Barite has a high specific gravity (around 4.5) and is used in petroleum drilling muds, paints and paper fillers. (McLemore, 1998)

The barite-fluorite deposit in this area represents a specific type of mineral deposit called a Rio Grande rift (RGR) deposit. It is characterized by low temperature formation  as an open-space filling with no obvious connection with magma or volcanic activity. The deposit probably occurs along a fault, fractured bedding plane and/or a solution cavity in Paleozoic (251-542 mya) limestones. The deposit predominately consists of barite, fluorite, and calcite with trace accessory minerals such as, Manganese (Mn ) oxides, Iron ( Fe) Oxides, quartz, and galena . Jasperoids and banded travertine is also common. (McLemore and Giordano, 1998)

The barite in this area occurs mostly as massive fine-grained crystalline deposits but can also form the beautiful bladed box work patterns associated with barite.

The quartz crystals at this mine are excellent for collecting where large cavities, veins, and vugs are lined with drusy quartz crystals and calcite.

Also outcropping near the mine are Paleozoic limestones and interbedded siltstones containing abundant fossils. Some of the fossils included brachiopods, bryozoans, sponges, corals and foraminiferans (rice-grains).

McLemore,V.T., 1998, A Summary of the Mineral Resources in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, New Mexico Geological Guidebook, 49th Field Conference, Las Cruces County II, 1998, p. 299-308.

McLemore, V.T., Giordano, T.H., Lueth, V.W. and , Witcher ,J.C., 1998, Origin of Barite-Fluorite-Galena deposits in the Southern Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico, New Mexico Geological Guidebook, 49th Field Conference, Las Cruces County II, 1998, p. 251-264.

The location is at latitude 32degrees44'55.77"N longitude 10 degrees 7'38.29"W. This location is is north east of Hatch, NM. Exit 41east 0ff I25. Taking the left or north dirt road.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The March Beacon

Here's our newsletter for March of 2015. 
Be sure to check it out.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Field Trip - Perspectives of a New Member

Many thanks to new club member Jenell Scherbel, for her photos and description of a recent field trip to the Caballo Hills, east of Hatch, New Mexico.    Members met up at the Walmart parking lot in Silver City.  According to Jenell, "some of us left our cars there and got rides with peoole in SUVs and trucks (hopefully, with spare tires!)."  

Jenell reports " we crossed I-25 to get to a dirt road that led us first to an area of small hills that had glacier-polished stones (small ones) just handy to pick up off the sandy ground.  After about an hour at that location, we drove on further down the dirt road past a sand and gravel company location to the Caballo Hills area.  I think it was the site of an old barite mine. 
The caravan of cars stopped at that second location.  There were huge boulders all along that road near the stop, all glistening with amazing colors and crystals.  People set off on their own down ravines and up hills.  Jeannine found one rock that had nice large crystals-within-crystals.  There was one boulder-sized rock that was solid quartz. Everyone had a great time and some people picked up huge slabs to cart home."
Here are a few of Jenell's photos: 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where does Silver City get it's minerals?

A great program was held at last week's club meeting by Ron Pharr that included a discussion of the formation and evolution of the geology of the region. Here's a photo taken after the program with our speaker and retired geology professor Jack Cunningham.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Februrary Newsletter - 2015

The new Beacon for February is Hot Off The Press.   Check it out!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Show Vendor Showcase

Club member Andy Anderson reports that he always looks forward to our annual show because David Douglass brings in some spectacular mineral specimens.  One of them was purchased by Andy and is shown in this first image on the left. It is Stilbite on Chalcedony. This specimen came from Nasik, India.  Andy thinks the color reminds him of cantaloupe!   Thanks for the great photos Andy! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Alert! Mineral Specimens Stolen

Dr. Mary Dowse, Professor of Geology at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico, reports the theft of mineral specimens.  10 or 12 Crystal Specimens that were on display in Harlan Hall at WNMU were stolen over the weekend.  The glass in the display case was broken.  Keep alert for someone trying to dispose of the specimens.  It is feared that the thief could attempt to dispose of these specimens at the upcoming Tucson Gem and Mineral show. 

Contact the webmaster if you should see anything suspicious.  The stolen minerals include: