Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Benefits of Membership

Members of the Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Society are currently conducting a poll to describe the benefits of being a member of our club. Check back to see the on-going results.

Members - You can participate using the submission form for this poll.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

November Field Trip Report

by Kyle Meredith (Rolling Stones 2nd V.P. for Field Trips)

The day started out with over thirty enthusiastic
rock hounds meeting in Hillsboro on a delightful
November morning. A local man walking by
commented that we had almost doubled the
population of the little town! It certainly seemed
that way as we milled around signing up new
members and greeting all the regulars.

Our first stop to look for jaspeite went smoothly,
and I think everyone found promising material
without having to venture very far off the road. We
quickly gathered everyone together to caravan to our
next stop—the Copper Flat mining area. I had a
sinking feeling as we pulled up to a locked gate with
a No Trespassing sign clearly posted. It wasn't there
last year, or even just a few months ago when David
R. had visited the site.

Not having a Plan B, we had to come up with
something fast. Some members decided to stay in
the area and look around in other places on their
own, while Sandra suggested we could reconnoiter
back in Hillsboro and she would lead us to a place
along Highway 27 to look for calcite crystals, and
Greg suggested looking for fossils farther down the
road. As we gathered again, Hal (one of our newest
members) found out from one of the locals whom to
talk to about getting a key to the gate.

What luck to find the guy at home! He called the
manager for permission and gave us the key, and we
all piled into our vehicles and retraced our route to
Copper Flat. By that time, we had lost a lot of
collecting time, so we all headed straight for the
highlight of the trip—the blue lagoon. The
unnatural blue color engendered a lot of speculation
as to how it got that way, and the selenite
crystallization occurred around the pond in many
fascinating forms to collect.

On the way home we noticed some Rolling Stones
taking their own side trips along the highway cuts.
Others had asked directions to the fossil-collecting
site. I haven't heard what kind of success they had,
but what a fine day to be a rock hound!

Friday, December 4, 2009

3rd Natural History of the Gila Symposium

Here is a great opportunity for members to share their geology skills and interests.

3rd Natural History of the Gila Symposium
Western New Mexico University (Silver City, NM)

Presentations: Thursday, October 14 (1:00 PM – 5:00 PM) & Friday, October 15 (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM) 2010 Field Trips (8:00 AM -1:00 PM) on Saturday, October 16 2010

ABSTRACTS and POSTERS on RESEARCH and MANAGEMENT PROJECTS are encouraged in all topics related to archaeology, botany, conservation biology, ecology, ethnobotany, forest management, geology, hydrology, stream restoration, ichthyology, herpetology, ornithology, mammalogy, entomology, and similar subjects of southwestern New Mexico or regions of Arizona affected by the Gila River

Send abstracts (not to exceed 150 words) to Martha Schumann Cooper ( by May 15 2010. Publication of accepted papers in proceedings for this symposium are planned

Partners for this symposium include: The Nature Conservancy of New Mexico, Native Plant Society of New Mexico, Native Plant Society of New Mexico - Gila Chapter, the Audubon Society (SW New Mexico Chapter), The Gila Conservation Education Center, United States Forest Service, Western Institute of Lifelong Learning and Western New Mexico University.

Steering Committee Members: Marcia Andre, Carol Campbell, Jack Carter, Richard Felger, Kelly Kindscher, Frank Merritt, William Norris, Martha Schumann Cooper, Roland Shook, Ellen Soles, Art Telles, John Titre

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rockhound on the Road - Utah and Nevada

Alan with a chunk of the blue gray quartz

Alan and I decided to test drive two more rockhounding books since we enjoyed our September sojourn to northern NM. We purchased two books by William A Kappele, Rockhounding Nevada and Rockhounding Utah and headed out. Just east of Zion National Park, we stopped at Joe’s rock shop in Orderville, Utah where we were given a free map and quick lesson on finding Septarian Nodules. We headed out to Joe’s claim and within a couple of hours we found several keepers.

The next two sites were duds in spite of the authors rave reviews. It was then we realized that the two books were published 12 and 13 years ago! The obsidian site near Milford was as described, and was quite interesting. We picked up a bag of fist-sized chunks.Before heading into Nevada, Alan highlighted all of the book’s sites on our map, which made route finding so much easier. While both books have good detail maps of the sites, the state-wide maps are much too coarse of a scale to effectively plan a trip.

After spending a night in Ely, we headed to Garnet Hill just outside of town reported to have good signage into the site. As a result the directions in the book were sketchy. We easily found the Garnet Hill sign on the highway but all of the other signs had been destroyed. We found sign remnants here and there, but after searching for a couple of hours, we gave it up and continued west.

We enjoyed the scenery along Highway 50, the state-proclaimed “Loneliest Road in the US”, for a couple of more hours. With some exploring we found the Bench Creek Fossil site where the book said “you will have no trouble finding leaf fossils on the white hill.” We found the white hill, climbed all over it for a couple of hours, and found 2 very small, poor quality fossils. From there we headed to the wonderstone sites east of Fallon, but with heavy rain falling, we pushed on to Reno for the night.

After a week in California, we headed home this time down the west side of Nevada on Hwy 95, and again found beautiful views and little not quite ghost towns. The petrified wood site near Mina was a wash-out, but we found lots of Jasper there. At the Kernick Mine we found several small pieces of Selenite, but not the foot wide pieces described in the book. Following a night in Tonopah, we located the Carrara Mine which produced the lovely blue-gray quartz as described in the book, but in very limited supplies with no jackhammer.

We gained new appreciation for this stark and wild country, enjoyed some interesting spots, and met a few crusty rock shop owners along the way. And as always, we just like hitting the road!

Admiring the Many-Headed Barrel Cactus with the Carrara Mine in the background

Ahhh, the Open Road!