Monday, November 22, 2010

November Field Trip to Old Hachita

submitted by Kyle Meredith

Like last month's trip to Tres Hermanas, we had another small group heading down to Old Hachita to look for turquoise. It was an outstanding day, even with the breeze that picked up when we got there. I didn't look at everyone's booty (treasure, that is), but if someone didn't find anything, they weren't trying. 
True, most of the obvious specimens were quite small, but with not much effort you could pick up a choice nugget or two. Josh and I found several worthy pieces, and as soon as we find a place to buy waterglass (sodium silicate) we're ready to stabilize what we found—small pieces for mosaics and larger ones for jewelry.
After lunch, most of us headed back toward home with a couple of stops, one at the old American National Mine ruins, and one at the ghost town of Old Hachita. (Of course it was just “Hachita” until a post office was established at “new” Hachita in 1902. Clear?)
In addition to being known for turquoise since the 1870s, other minerals were mined including silver, gold, and copper. It makes me wonder if there wasn't some politics involved in extending Grant County down to include what is called the Eureka (the original name for Hachita--that is Old Hachita--uh, you understand) Mining District. 
And that concludes the tenure of Kyle and Josh as Field Trip Coordinators. There will be no field trip in December, then in January Ansel takes the reins. I hear he has eight (out of 10) field trips lined up already for 2011. It goes to show he's a lot more organized than we ever were. We're very grateful that Ansel stepped up, and have complete confidence in his abilities. And remember, if he ever leads the group down the wrong road, well, it's in the job description. Good luck to Ansel, and good fun for all!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Report on the 31st Annual New Mexico Mineral Symposium

by Lee Stockman

The 31st Annual New Mexico Mineral Symposium drew a record number of geologist, mineralogists and rock hounds to Socorro for the two day meeting. Sixteen speakers presented discussions ranging from mining artifacts and papers to discussions of mineral collecting and history in various localities from Quebec to the Kearney Mine at Hanover. Mineral and mining knowledge was interspersed with humor, beverages and good food making the Symposium a worthy event.

Some of the presentations dealt with mineral collecting sites in Quebec, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Other parts of New Mexico were discussed in three reports and Grant and Hidalgo Counties in southwestern New Mexico was more than adequately represented with reports on four localities.

Ron Gibbs reported in a short talk about some rare and only recently identified minerals collected at Granite Gap. Robert Walstrom reported on mineral collecting in the Apache Hills, east of Hatchita, Travis Cato told about collecting at Mt. Watson, in what we call the Turkey Creek Fluorite area, and Jack Burgess reported on the fabulously rich zinc ores and the operation of the Kearney (pronounced Karney) Mine at Hanover. Talks were illustrated with numerous photos of mineral specimens, a significant number of them, micro minerals.

If you are particularly interested in minerals you may wish to check this web site for an organization, Friends of Mineralogy, at:

For the last two years, several of the presenters talked about mining artifacts and memorabilia including carbide lamps and blasting supplies and containers. Ross Arrington reported on the paper documentation of mining operations, and how he found some reports from the old mine of Carlisle signed by a young mining engineer, Herbert Hoover. Those interested in mining artifacts should check the internet magazine at:

Abstracts of the talks at last year’s symposium are available at:
Abstracts of this year’s Symposium will be published in the quarterly New Mexico Geology later in the year.

I came away from the Symposium with two major impressions. One, there sure is a lot more I need to learn about nomenclature and crystal structure of minerals, and Two, the quality of the presentations that we, the Rolling Stones, have at our meetings, while maybe not as deep technically as those at the symposium, are professionally presented and we should be proud of the fine job our speakers do.