Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Zuhl Museum announces newsletter publication

Happy Holidays to All!!

We at the Zuhl Museum, are proud to announce the first issue of the Zuhl Museum Newsletter!
Enjoy some information on the collection, some insight into our staff and pieces, and don't forget to join the Friends of the Zuhl Collection (form on the last page). Please share the newsletter by forwarding this email or by printing it out. Thank-you for your support!
The newsletter and all other museum documents and information can be found on the museum website
You can also find us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and G+!! We are very social!
Happy Holidays!

Zuhl Museum:Home of the Zuhl Collection
"Where Rocks Come Alive"

Tiffany Santos
Director of Zuhl Collection
Dept. Geological Sciences/ MSC 3AB
New Mexico State University
P.O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003
office: 575-646-4714

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2013 Officers Elected by Acclamation

Submitted by out-going Club President - Kyle Meredith

I thought that headline sounded impressive, but even with unanimous approval the race was a squeaker, and we still don’t have a Vice President for programs. All our heartfelt thanks go to Albin Chalk for volunteering at the last minute (without being railroaded!) to be the Rolling Stones President for 2013. Mary Soule retains the office of Secretary, Marcia Fisch is still our Treasurer, and Ann Owen is our board member at large. Joining them on the board this year is Jeannine Weiner, Historian (and superb photographer, I might add.)
The appointed board members include Lee Stockman, Show Chair; Ansel Walters, Field Trip Coordinator; and (for now) Karen Murphy, Editor of the Beacon. Although the following position is not an official board position, I want to acknowledge Marcia Andre as our Blog Editor and 2012 Show Advisor. We thank them all for their service to our club!

Come to our Annual Christmas Party

Our regular December meeting, 6:00 p.m. Thursday the 13th, will be our Annual Christmas Party and Gift grab. First the potluck—a turkey and a ham will be provided—then everyone who has brought a gift can participate in the rather chaotic exchange of gifts. Men bring a gift marked Male, and women bring a gift marked Female. Please make sure your gift doesn’t exceed $10 in value and pertains in some way to our gem and mineral society. (Fuzzy slippers really wouldn’t be appropriate, I think.) If you’re not familiar with the rules, you’ll catch on soon enough. It’s a lot of fun with a lot of laughs, and some great gifts, besides.
After the Gift Grab, we’ll have a game and a Show and Tell. Bring your “favorite rock” and be prepared to talk up to a minute about its special qualities. (No dissertations, please.) See you at the party!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Please check out the November Beacon for all the latest club news.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Camping Info for Show

 by Kyle Meredith - President, Grant County Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Society
There are numerous camping opportunities on public lands within an hour or so of Silver City, but I can’t predict the availability of sites at any particular location. You may find you’re sharing the campground with other rock hounds!
There are two Forest Service campgrounds on Highway 15 about ten or fifteen miles north of Silver City (on the way to the Cliff Dwellings)—Cherry Creek and McMillan Campgrounds. These would be your best bet, in my opinion. They’re just off the paved road and have standard FS pit toilets. There are no other facilities, and I believe there are no fees. These would be the closest to town, although they are on a slow, winding road. If you are looking for something more isolated, you can choose one of many Forest Service roads in the vicinity and find unofficial campgrounds and broad turnouts. Please observe campfire bans, as we are in an extreme drought, and it is likely that there will be a high fire danger!
Farther up the road you will come to the intersection of Highway 35 that loops toward Mimbres to Highway 152. At Lake Roberts you will find camping for a fee, but I suspect these sites may be quite full. There is a huge free campground with pit toilets near the Continental Divide called Sapillo—also usually quite popular.
Beyond the intersection, on the way to the Cliff Dwellings, you will find Forks and Grapevine campgrounds on the Gila River. At the Cliff Dwellings are Upper and Lower Scorpion Campgrounds, but all these sites will probably fill up and are a couple of hours out of town.
About an hour east of town on Highway 152 (past Mimbres, up Emory Pass) there are several named campgrounds just off the highway, including Lower Gallinas, Upper Gallinas, Railroad Canyon, and Iron Creek—all free with toilets. You are likely to find available sites at some or all of these.
For more detailed information, you could do a search on the Forest Service website. I don’t have any information regarding commercial campsites. Thanks for your interest in our show. We hope to see you there.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Field trips "at a glance"

Sat. Sept. 1 
9am - Educational field trip (geologic ages & fossils with Dr. Mary Dowse)
1pm - Collecting trip to the club’s geode claim at Bear Mountain

Sun. Sept. 2 
9am - Educational field trip (bus tour of area mines with Terry Humble)
1pm - Collecting trip to collect fossils in limestone at Bear Mountain

Mon. Sept. 3

9am - Educational field trip (geology and ore deposits of the Boston Hill
Manganese District with Sylveen Cook)
1pm - Collecting trip to small fluorite mine in the Burros

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gem and Mineral Show Field Trips

by Kyle Meredith

People from all over look forward to the Grant County Rolling Stones Annual Gem and Mineral Show on Labor Day Weekend. In addition to buying and selling rocks and minerals, jewelry, and lapidary supplies, there are free displays and activities to entertain the whole family.

Among the activities are field trips scheduled for each of the three days of the show. Every morning at 9:00 there will be an educational tour of local geological interest, and at 1:00 each afternoon you can join a field trip for collecting rocks and minerals, weather permitting.

On Saturday morning, September 1st, Dr. Mary Dowse of WNMU will lead a trip along Highway 152 from Ft. Bayard to Mimbres, where participants will see different kinds of rocks of nearly all of the geologic ages of the Earth and will have the opportunity to collect fossils, as well. The trip will visit outcrops along the highway and there will be a limited amount of walking.

Saturday afternoon’s collecting trip goes up on Bear Mountain to the club’s geode claim, where this year new material has been exposed. The mineral most commonly found there is banded and fortification agate in rhyolite. In the past, geodes with pockets of crystals have also been uncovered, but you really never know what will turn up. The seven-mile gravel road is easily accessible by any vehicle (barring fresh mud and ruts), but to drive further than the first mine requires high clearance. Walking is encouraged. A bag or bucket is essential, and a pick and shovel is helpful to the serious collector, but interesting specimens can usually be found on the surface and in the road.

Sunday morning, September 2nd, local author and historian, Terry Humble, will host an approximately two-hour bus tour of area mines. (Note: there will be no bathroom breaks.) Space on the bus is limited, so show up early. However, if there are additional seats to be filled, the tour will start at 9:15.

Sunday afternoon collecting will again head up Bear Mountain Road to an altogether different location where various fossils—including shells and corals—are imbedded in limestone. Although the main road is passable by all vehicles, the 1½ mile spur for collecting requires a high clearance vehicle and experience driving it. Carpooling is suggested. Additionally, we will be looking for vesuvianite—a garnet-like mineral in large, fractured crystal forms—not gem quality. A word of warning: the terrain is rugged and sometimes steep with dense thickets of oak and cat claw. (It is as vicious as it sounds!)

On Labor Day morning, September 3rd, Sylveen Cook of Royal Scepter Gems and Minerals will lead her walking tour of the geology and ore deposits of the Boston Hill Manganese District. The nice exposures there, and the relationship of that deposit to similar settings at Lone Mountain and Georgetown, will provide a great hands-on learning experience about the regional ore deposition. It requires a short drive across town. The walk is on a winding, sloping path with little shade, so don’t forget to bring water.
On Monday afternoon, the group will visit a small fluorite mine in the Burros, less than an hour out of town. Hammers and chisels will be useful, but lazybones can find small chunks of purple, green, and blue fluorite lying on the surface. A little water to wash off the dust will help reveal the “good stuff.” There is a long stretch of gravel road to get there, but it is suitable for any vehicle. Note: there are deep and dangerous open pits, so children and pets must be closely monitored!

All trips will depart from the Grant County Business and Conference Center in Silver City on Highway 180 East (next to Ace Hardware.) Morning trips start at 9:00; afternoon trips will leave at 1:00. Be early! Carpooling is recommended when possible. Rain can cause a trip to be canceled, but it's best to show up if you think there's any doubt. Morning trips will be over by lunchtime—plenty of time to come back and linger at the Show or join us on the afternoon trip. A rock hammer and bag or bucket are suggested for collecting. And it’s important to bring drinking water! Remember: rock collecting is inherently hazardous! It is important to pay attention to your surroundings! 

Entrance to the Show and all activities are free, so join us on Labor Day Weekend for the 29th Annual Gem and Mineral Show in Silver City. You may email for more information.

2012 Vendors Announced!

Susan/Doug Abbott - Desert Designs - Native American jewelry          
Henry/Charlotte Andazola - Indian jewelry                   
Neil Bearce/Charli Connor -Arizona Desert Ice - Minerals, books, jewelry
Greg/Sue Berglund - Spankys Gem/Mineral - Cabs, minerals, specimens, jewelry
Fred Bishop/Forrest Smart - 2 Guy's Rocks      Slabs, quartz, geodes, jewelry, turqoise
Karen Blisard/Andy Anderson - Radiant Gemstones - Jewelry, faceted stones, facet rough
Harry/Carol Bruntz - Uniquely Yours - Display stands, rocks, gems, minerals
Harold/Jeanne Buck - Jeanne's Gems - Fire agate, cabs,jewelry, belt buckles
Sylveen/Kevin Robinson-Cook - Royal Scepter - Books, maps, beads, jewelry
Ginger Coombs/Cheryl Mallett - Jewelry, cabs, geodes
Dave Douglass - Douglass Minerals - Mineral specimens
Sue Fischer/Claudine Evatt - Jewelry from Sue - Silver/gold jewelry
Abdul/Nabila Gardezy - Brilliant Design - Fine gems/jewelry
Charles/Pat Grimes - Country View Boarding - Cabs, jewelry, rock samples
Tom Hales - Tom Hales Minerals - Minerals, gemstone rough, jewelry
Sally Hansen/Ann Nace - Sally Rocks - Jewelry, lapidary
Allen Hebert/Karen Flanary – Glenkara - Gems, minerals, jewelry
Therese Higgins - The Jewelry Lady - Jewelry, belly belts
Michael Ho - Gemstone Station - Beads, pearls
Bill/Linda Horton - Misty Mountain G&M - Jewelry, gemstones, mineral specimens, carvings
William/ Emily Jaeger - Endless Mtns Minerals - Crystals, cutting rough, specimens, jewelry
Patsy/Jerry Kastner - Kastner Gems & Supply - Jewelry, lapidary equipt, supplies
Ron/David Kellner - RK Enterprises       - Jewelry, cabs, slabs, specimens
Randy/Sally McCowan - Arrowheads, turqoise
Blanca Murguia - B&M Jewelry - Silver/gemstone jewelry
Barbara/Sherwood Nance - Barbara Nance Gallery - Stone sculpture
Ken Newman - DBA Rocks - Spheres, slabs, thundereggs
Jose/Jorge Nunez - Minerals
Luis Ortega/Danny Wade - Indian Jewelers Supply       - Tools, findings
John B/Connie Partridge - JBP Minerals - Minerals, rocks
Jay/Amy Penn - El Chivo Viejo - Minerals, slabs
RuthAnn/David Rinsch - Dave's Enterprise - Rocks, gems
Stephen Rudd/David Martin - Stephen Rudd Beads - Beads, pearls, cabs
John Scully/ Laurie Rossi - Scullys Minerals - Minerals, specimens, fossils
Jesse/Jan Searcy - Black Hat Trading - Jewelry, findings, rocks, stones, beads
Lyndon Sims - The Desert Store - slabs, cabs, cobs, sw jewelry
Tracy Stump - Tracy's Silver/Gold - Jewelry
Sharon/Bill Szymanski - Never Enough Karats - Jewelry, collectibles
Bruce Williams/ Nancy Bailey - Silver/Stone Works - Jewelry, cabs, chain
Bob/ Lisa Williamson - B&L Minerals - Minerals
Tony Zenan - Znaniecki Collection - Wildlife paintings on slabs

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More Show News

We are pleased to announce that the Deming Desert Panners will be a part of our upcoming show.  They will be displaying gold panning equipment, talking about prospecting in the area, and representing the Gold Prospectors of America.  Come check it out!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Show is Coming Together!

Among the highlights for this year's show are several new vendors selling minerals, cutting rough, and jewelry. 
Included are noted author Neil Bearce (Minerals of Arizona) and Indian Jewelers Supply who will be bringing lots of tools and lapidary equipment.
Stay tuned for more updates soon!
We look forward to seeing you at this year's show!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Advice to a Reader

Recently we received a request from one of our readers from a club in the mid-west for information about rock-hounding in our area.   Here's what the reader had to say : 

A fellow  member and I are thinking of heading to NM this summer to do a little(a lot) of rock hounding.  I was trying to make some plans and was wondering if you might be able to give us some ideas about where we might hunt for turquoise?  It is not the only thing we will be looking for, so if you have any other "spots" you can recommend?  I have the book "Rockhounding New Mexico" but thought you might be able to give us some other ideas.  Any information you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Club President Kyle Meredith wrote the following response, that we thought may be of interest to our other readers.   Following Kyle's response are some photos of the area around Old Hachita.  

Howdy Reader,

First I should mention that most of the famous NM turquoise locations are not accessible to the public because they are under claim or owned by big mining companies. In our area that includes the Santa Rita/Chino and Tyrone turquoise.

Where we go is usually to Hachita down in the bootheel.  The roads off the pavement require high clearance at the least and may require 4WD in spots.  There are no services there, so be sure you fill up your gas tank before heading off Interstate-10, and have LOTS OF WATER.  Another caution is that in the summer this place is VERY HOT and may not be suitable for rockhounding.  And of course wherever you go in NM you must be vigilant for rattlesnakes.  This is not an idle warning—we have seen them almost every place we have gone.

I should also mention that this area is near the border and you are likely to encounter the Border Patrol.  (Less likely to encounter illegals, but possible.)  I would also recommend that you have maps, whether GPS or topo atlas.  A little internet research would be helpful.  

There is a mine that may or may not be under claim called the Apache mine, but you can hunt in the arroyo below the mine.  Unfortunately a lot of what LOOKS like turquoise is actually chrysocolla and other copper minerals, but they can be just as beautiful if you find a nice piece.  There are other minerals like pyrite and calcite crystals there.  To get there you go south from Hachita on hwy 81 four miles then turn left onto a dirt track for a mile then turn right for about 1 mile, then veer left at the fork for another 1/2 mile.  The road to the mine is on the left across the arroyo. The pieces you find are usually quite small (fingernail size) and often in pebbles with other minerals.

The other place is Old Hachita where there are abundant dumps to search with varying results.  It would be hard for me to send you to a specific location, and there are a number of roads going in all directions, but it is a fun place to explore.  You head west on hwy 9 from hwy 146 in Hachita for 4.5 miles then turn off the pavement through a gate.  The ghost town of Old Hachita is about 2 miles down the road, and very interesting to hike around.  (It is illegal to collect historic artifacts from the site.)  I recommend having a map in hand as you explore the area.  The turquoise you find here is usually very soft and requires stabilization with something like sodium silicate (waterglass) or Opticon.  Turquoise mountain is beyond the town, but searching the smaller dumps in the arroyo past the ruins can be productive.

I don’t have any information regarding turquoise sites in other parts of NM, such as Cerrillos near Santa Fe.

If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them for you.  Good luck.
Kyle Meredith-president, Grant County Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Society.

Friday, March 30, 2012

2012 Show Update

Vendor contracts have been mailed to those participating last year.  They are due back April 1.  At that time, we will assess if any vacancies remain and contact our waiting list.   Anyone who is not on the waiting list, but interested in being added should contact Karen Blisard at   The Board of Directors has adopted the following policies for filling vacant space.


Since space at the Gem and Mineral Show is a scarce resource, the Board of the Grant County Rolling Stones has established the following guidelines for assigning empty tables.

The first priority will be to assign tables to former vendors who were unable to attend last year’s show and who gave advance notice that they were not coming.

The second priority will be to admit some new vendors to the show. It is important to bring in new vendors to keep the show vibrant and interesting to customers.

Third priority will be to assign additional tables to existing vendors.

These are general guidelines and the Board and/or Show Committee can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Decisions of the Board and/or Show Committee are final.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This weekend! Gem and Mineral Show in Albuquerque!

Treasures of the Earth – 2012
March 16-18, 2012
Theme: AGATE
Albuquerque Gem and Mineral Club's 43rd Annual Show
New Mexico State Fairgrounds (Creative Arts Center)
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm Friday and Saturday; 10 am to 5 pm Sunday
Admission is $3.00, except Friday is "DOLLAR DAY". Children under 13 are FREE.

We'll have over 40 dealers selling everything from amethyst cathedrals to Zebra rock, rocks and minerals inexpensive to moderately priced. You will find gems (crystals, faceted, cabs, rough, and set in jewelry), decorator items, and jewelry, books and supplies, beads, and lots more. We'll have a mineral ID Booth, visits by a well behaved and socialized wolf, an educational booth from the NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (both a display and maps, books, and guidebooks), grab bags for kids, and three silent auctions per day. We will have displays (about 20), most of them educational, all of them interesting! Displays provided by junior and adult members.

Why have we been doing this for 43 years? Besides being a whole lot of fun for club members and the public, the club raises money to award two $1000 scholarships, one each for a UNM and NM Tech geology student.

New Mexico State Fair Grounds. San Pedro street entrance is just north of Central and south of Lomas. The Creative Arts Center is one block east of our old building (the School Arts building) and is directly across the street from (south of) the Manuel Lujan Exhibit Center.

Contact Paul Hlava, 505-255-5478 for additional information

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rockhound on the Road - Rockin’ the Surf - Installment 3

Camp above Quartsite

Descending into lava tube

Long view of Mojave Desert

Climbing Down

Our favorite rock

Jalama Beach
Weird rocks on beach - oh wait - those are Elephant Seals!

Low tide - wow - look at all those rocks!
See below for Installments 1 and 2 of Rockhound on the Road - Rockin' the surf.  

Rockhound on the Road - Rockin’ the Surf - Installment 2

(Installment 1 is below)

We spent two nights at Plaskett Creek before heading south toward the Hearst Castle where we hoped to get in on a tour before our ultimate destination for the day, Jalama Beach near Lompoc. Just before we got to San Simeon, we encountered the Elephant Seal Beach where thousands of elephant seals of all ages and sizes were sunning themselves, suckling their calves, posturing and bellowing for territorial rights, and generally living what looked like the good life. We arrived at the Castle in time for the next tour, and saw how “the good life” was lived in the 30s and 40s.

Jalama beach was not only windy, but the surf was so loud that it sounded like a gale—not pleasant for sleeping. Here we did more rockhounding, finding something called root beer agate, and of course other pebbles and seashells. There were also tidal pools with orange, yellow, and blue starfish and sea urchins—quite extraordinary for landlubbers like ourselves.

We had hoped to head home through Death Valley, but only had enough time to make a detour through Tecopa Hot Springs. Not much rockhounding there, but the water was good. However it was about this time that the weather began to turn on us, and the next day we arrived in the Mojave Desert in time for an afternoon rain. Living in the desert, we never begrudge a desert rain, and after it stopped we hiked over the lava flows which glistened black in the low light. Then we walked through the short expanse of a lava tube with incredible flows that looked as fresh and sticky as frosting.

Here we split with our friends—they heading toward Laughlin and we heading back to Quartzsite for another afternoon of shopping before hitting the highway the next day. We camped at the same exit on the other side of the highway in what seemed like a private spot even though we could hear other campers maybe a half mile away. It was just off a gravel road, so we were quite startled the next morning when at first light an 18-wheeler zipped by on the way to who-knows-where! Then another! My first thought as the first one roared by was--earthquake! They must have been going to a quarry on a dead-end turn up the road a ways, because from there the road degenerated into something suitable only for 4-wheelers.

The drive home was long and tiring, but we arrived at a good hour with plenty of light to unpack and settle in. I have to mention the price of gas. Most places in California it was around $3.80/gallon. The most we paid was $4.59 in Needles, but with the needle dropping below E, we bit the bullet and paid the price. Altogether the cost was over $500 in gas alone, but it was worth the trip.

Rockhound on the Road - Rockin’ the Surf - Installment 1

by Kyle Meredith
The day after the January Rolling Stones meeting, Josh and Kyle headed west. We got up a lot earlier than we wanted to and drove a long day to the Desert Gardens Gem and Mineral Show in Quartzsite, Arizona.
We arrived about 2:30 in the afternoon with enough time to hurry through the booths, finding the great deals we have come to expect in Quartzsite. One note concerning the various shows: the other big rock show is the Tyson Wells Show. It’s larger than Desert Gardens, and we spent all our time there last year. Although either show is worth going to, we seemed to find the best deals at Desert Gardens in the north end of town. We also encountered Fuad, whom some of you may remember as a vendor at our Show last year.

For those of you who may consider camping there, we chose a secluded area off I-10 at Exit 26, Gold Nugget Road, before dropping down into town a few miles away. You can drive a ways in either direction and find a nice place for a night or two without the congestion you find nearer to town, AND it’s a lot more beautiful with plenty of saguaros and teddy bear cholla. One thing: you’re probably going to still hear the noise of I-10 which seems to get busier at night!

The next day we drove to a friend’s house in Rancho Mirage (near Palm Springs), then on the Sunday of Martin Luther King Weekend, ventured forth in our camper on the Interstate system out of San Bernardino. I think we picked the best possible day to travel—not even as much traffic as Albuquerque on an average day—and we arrived at Plaskett Creek Campground (south of Big Sur) where we met our Colorado camping buddies, Edie and Michael, in time to take a short hike to the bluffs above the ocean where the sun was beginning to cast long shadows.

We began rockhounding in earnest the next day. Jade is what we were there to find, and we were at the northern extremity of the jade collecting area. We had done a little research and learned that a lot of what LOOKS like jade is actually serpentine, but you can easily tell the difference with the scratch test—a knife blade will cut deeply into the serpentine, but hardly scratch the jade. The problem was that many rocks resisted the scratch test and yet were not likely to be jade. We’re still not sure how much jade we actually collected, but there were so many beautiful rocks that it was hard to not pick up each and every one. One of our favorites was definitely not jade.

In doing research for the trip we learned that you are only permitted to collect below the mean high tide line, meaning that we had to know the tide schedule. We felt lucky that it corresponded with the hours we wanted to be out. We started in the morning as the tide had about half receded, and wandered among the cliffs and crags as it ebbed further into the ocean. We also learned to never turn your back on the ocean. If we didn’t pay close attention, an unexpectedly exuberant wave could get our pants wet or try to claim our shoes on the beach. 

We had been worried that it might be foggy and wet and cold, but the weather cooperated beyond our wildest expectations, even though it was a little windy from time to time. Even having to wear jackets, though, we still were able to walk barefoot in the surf the whole time we were at the beach. We spent most of our time scrambling over the boulders pounded smooth by the relentless ocean. Just getting down was tricky verging on treacherous, climbing down the vertical dirt trails with serpentine steps as slick as talc. On the sandy beach it was a different matter, ambling along looking for rocks and shells laid at our feet by a generous surf.

Monday, March 5, 2012

February Field Trip Report

Many great specimens from the February trip
It was a bright sunny day with a gentle breeze that was chilly in the morning but soon warmed into a pleasant day. Rolling Stones gathered at a prospect just this side of Granite Gap off New Mexico Hwy 80. The Peloncillo Range that straddles the New Mexico-Arizona border is a spectacular weathered granite formation in this area. The area was known as the San Simon Mining District in the days when it was active. At the site, selected by field trip leader Ansel, copper ores, pyrites and calcite produced some smaller specimens. Those searching for yard rock found some beautiful white quartz in all sizes. For the first "spring weather" outing in a while, all agreed that it was an interesting and productive trip.

Submitted by Lee Stockman
Map to collecting site
Members search through hopes of long-gone miners