Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Field trip to Zuhl

The Rolling Stones November Field trip was a rather civilized affair.  Ansel arranged a Saturday tour of the Zuhl Museum on the NMSU campus in Las Cruces.  The Zuhl’s became fascinated with fossil wood after a visit to northern Arizona and the Petrified Forest area.  They followed their passion by collecting polished and massive samples of petrified wood from all over the US.  Soon their interests grew to include fossils and mineral specimens.  Of course collections of this magnitude soon outgrow the house or even the warehouse.   The Zuhls relocated to Las Cruces from the east coast and donated the collection to NMSU for public display. 


We all gathered in the entry room and met our guide for the tour who introduced us to the history of the Zuhls and the collection.  It was a little hard to pay attention since the walls were covered with beautiful polished slabs of petrified wood mounted on the walls.  It was distracting to say the least. The guide then took us into the second room with displays of more petrified wood and a very impressive collection of fossils.  The guide then took us through a tour of geologic time ranging from Precambrian stromatolites, to Cambrian trilobites, to mid-Paleozoic crinoids, and on to Cenozoic reptiles and insects.  One of the favorite samples was the fossilized nest of oviraptor eggs.  Or maybe it was the perfect fossilized remains of the dragon fly in limestone from Germany.  It was hard to pick a favorite with so many spectacular specimens from which to choose. The museum is well worth a visit.  Check out the website for more information at

Sunday, November 29, 2015

December Newsletter

Here is our December issue of the Beacon.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WNMU Geology Course offered

Mary Dowse, WNMU Professor of Geology, will be offering Geology of New Mexico (GEOL 315 – CRN 20218) on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 pm to 8 pm this spring at Western New Mexico University in Silver City.  The class will start January 12 and end May 6.  There will be one day-long field trip to look at the geology of the local area.  People are welcome to sign up to take the course for credit or as an audit.

As many of you may know Mary will be retiring in May and this will be the last time she teaches the course, so if you have been thinking about taking it, this is your last chance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Members visit the Deming Club's Show


Club members Jeannine Weiner and Andy Anderson went down to Deming Gem and Mineral Society's "Country Christmas Craft and Home Business Show " this week end.  

Saturday was a little windy in morning but it turned into a really nice day by the afternoon. Sunday was very cloudy and windy all day and stated to rain in the afternoon. 

They had a good time even with the wind and rain. Andy also belongs to the Deming club so he got to see some old friends.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Newsletter

Check out the November Beacon, hot off the presses. 

Info for November Field Trip

Field trip coordinator Ansel Walters suggest that members review this great handout for the Prehistoric Pathways National Monument before the November field trip. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Survey for Members Only

Rolling Stones Members,
The Board of Directors would like to know your thoughts on how the club should proceed, what we are dong right and what can be improved. You can print and bring to meeting or mail the survey.

Friday, October 2, 2015

October Newsletter is Ready

Check out our October Beacon for the latest club information, including very sad news about Club President George Skiba as well as post-Gem and Mineral Show follow-ups.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

See you next year!

Thanks to everyone who attended this years Gem and Mineral Show at Western New Mexico University.    The University did a good job to make us welcome.

  Overall, most of our vendors were happy with their sales, reports Karen Blisard the Vendor Chair.   Because many of our vendors use bright lights to showcase their products, Karen said, " I was really worried about the power situation, but thanks to everyone's cooperation there were no problems.   Everyone enjoyed the vendor dinner on Sunday night - we do know how to put on a spread."   Many thanks to all the club members who contributed food for this wonderful event.   Many vendors report from year to year that we are the only show that provides this to our vendors.  

Many thanks to all the Club Members, Vendors, and Visitors for making the 2015 Show a great event!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Last Day to Enjoy the Show!!

Member Jeannine Weiner reports that almost 2000 visitors have attended the show so far this weekend.  Food service, provided by the Silver City Lions Club outdoors under canopies, is open from 11 am till 2 pm. Drinks are available until 4 p.m. The Show ends today with hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Everyone enjoyed the traditional vendor dinner last night. As always Ansel roasted a really nice brisket. and other club members contributed with side dishes and desserts.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Brought to you LIVE from the Show!

Many thanks to Andy Anderson for sending in these photos from this weekend's Gem and Mineral Show. 
Club members Dave and Ruth Ann Rinsch

Monday, August 31, 2015

Show Time Almost Here!

Only 4 more days until the start of our SHOW!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Show News and September Newsletter

The September Newsletter , is hot off the press with the latest Gem and Mineral Show news. 

And, we have an updated list of our Show Vendors.  along with a diagram of the Show Layout.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Newsletter

Be sure to check out the August Beacon - our Club's newsletter. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July club field trip

Samples of coral,  limestone showing mineral alteration and a volcanic rock with alteration halo and calcite crystals
Submitted by Anita Williams

The Rolling Stones July field trip was relatively close to home and we had a very nice crowd participating including some young pebble pups.  It was nice to have kids along on the trip having fun collecting rocks.  As one of our sage members observed during the trip the kids have a distinct advantage in rock collecting since they are closer to the ground.  There is definitely something to that along with keen eyes and abundant enthusiasm.
Field Trip Participants

Saturday hosted a clear blue New Mexico sky as we all gathered at Walmart at 8 am.  Right on schedule the car-a-van lined up and headed east for the Georgetown area.  Our collecting locales were in the Devonian/Mississippian limestones.

It was a short ride over to our first stop just off the Georgetown Road.  We searched the area for  limestone garden rocks.  In this spot there were some outcrops of lovely, weathered limestone blocks, but many were too big to handle on this trip.  Next stop was similar except the hillside also hosted some beautiful cacti some of which George collected for his cacti garden.  The limestones in this area were fossiliferous too.

Samples from the Prospect pit--the top rock is gossan on limestone, dendrites on clay and examples of bands of alteration
Silicified corals
Next stop was very near “old” Georgetown.  We parked on some more recent tailings and started scouring the hillsides for corals and other fossils.  I was investigating a prospect pit and finding some gossan (translation from German is iron hat).  It is usually an iron mineral such as hematite and it is an indication of mineralization in the close proximity—thus the prospect pit.  I also found some silicified volcanic rocks with calcite crystals and some dendrites on clay partings.  Meantime I started hearing excited chatter and the sound of rocks falling into plastic buckets and I headed over that direction.  Folks were collecting some beautiful specimens of silicified corals in that area.  Everyone found nice samples and toted their buckets back up the hill to the vehicles for a brief lunch break.

Our last official stop was near the old Georgetown townsite.  Down in the stream valley folks were finding some brachiopods and crinoids.  I was farther up the hill and found lots of old glass and square nails.  Ansel went off to check on another collecting area, but the day was hot and everyone was tiring.  Everyone opted out and headed back to town to look over their new found treasures.

Field Trip Participants

Sunday, July 19, 2015

2015 Show Vendors - Labor Day Weekend

Susan & Doug Abbott, Desert Designs, Silver City, NM, Native American jewelry, Zuni fetishes

Henry & Charlotte Andazola, Silver City, NM, Native American jewelry

Armando Barrera, Custom Rock Cutters, Columbus, NM, Cabs, spheres, eggs, carvings

Fred Bishop, 2 Guys Rocks, Deming, NM, Slabs, quartz, geodes, turquoise, jewelry

Karen Blisard, Radiant Gemstones, Silver City, NM, Jewelry, faceted stones, facet rough

Harry & Carol Bruntz, Uniquely Yours, Horizon City, TX, Rocks, gems, minerals, display stands

Kevin Cook & Sylveen Robinson-Cook, Royal Scepter, Silver City, NM, Books, maps, beads, jewelry

Trina & Jeff Cornell, Trina’s Rock Shop, Deming, NM, Lapidary equipment, rough, slabs

Jack & Marty Crawford, Silver City, NM, Minerals

Dave Douglass, Douglass Minerals, Tucson, AZ, Mineral specimens

Julie Dubosz, wirewrap jewelry

Sue Fischer, Jewelry from Sue, Silver City, NM, Silver and gold jewelry

Tom Hales, Tom’s Treasures, Deming, NM, Minerals, gemstone rough, jewelry

Sally Hansen, Sally Rocks, Silver City, NM, Jewelry, lapidary

Allen Hebert, Glenkara, Tucson, AZ, Gems, minerals, jewelry

Therese Higgins, The Jewelry Lady, Silver City, NM, Jewelry, belly belts

Michael Ho, Gemstone Station, Miraloma, CA, Beads, pearls

Bill & Linda Horton, Misty Mountain G&M, Litchfield Park, AZ, Jewelry, gems, minerals, carvings

Gerald Howard & Jim Wines, JNE Lapidary, Dickinson, TX, Petrified wood, knapped items

Bill & Emily Jaeger, Endless Mountain Minerals, Hereford, AZ, Crystals, rough, specimens, jewelry

Patsy & Jerry Kastner, Kastner Gems & Supply, Tucson, AZ, Jewelry, lapidary equipt, supplies

Ron Kellner, RK Enterprises, Show Low, AZ, Jewelry, cabs, slabs, specimens

Therese & Eddie Lopez, Bisbeeborn Minerals, Morenci, AZ, Minerals

Norman Martin, NM Trap Rocks, Deming, NM, Minerals

Randy & Sally McCowan, Deming, NM, Arrowheads, turquoise

Kim Muller, Burro Mountain Arts, Tyrone, NM, Silver and gemstone jewelry

Blanca Murguia, BM Jewelry, El Paso, TX, Silver & gemstone jewelry

Ken Newman, DBA Rocks, Deming, NM, Spheres, slabs, thunder eggs

Jose Nunez, Canutillo, TX, Minerals

Park Pang, Lily’s Beads, Tucson, AZ, Beads

Jay & Amy Penn, El Chivo Viejo, Albuquerque, NM, Minerals

David & Ruth Ann Rinsch, Dave’s Enterprises, Tyrone, NM, Rocks, gems

Karen Rossman, A Bead or TWO, silver City, NM, Beads, tools, findings

Carmen & Martina Sanchez, Texas Rocks and Minerals, El Paso, TX, Minerals, rocks, specimens

John Scully & Laurie Rossi, Scully’s Minerals, Fairview, NM Minerals, fossils

Jesse, James, and Jan Searcy, Black hat Trading, Deming, NM, Jewelry, findings, beads, carvings

Sharon & Bill Szymanski, Never Enough Karats, San Tan Valley, AZ, Jewelry, collectibles

Virginia Wilkinson, Buckhorn, NM, Jewelry and rocks

Bruce Williams & Nancy Bailey, Silver & Stone Works, Silver City, NM, Jewelry, cabs, chain maille

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

July Beacon

The July Newsletter is now available. 

June Club Field Trip to Luna NM

 By Anita Williams

It was a warm, clear, sunny day on Saturday as folks gathered to sign in for the field trip to Luna.  The day was quite a contrast to last month when we met for the trip on a gray, rainy morning and found Ansel there telling everyone to come back next month.  He said the roads we had to traverse to get to the collecting area were dirt and access would be difficult in the rain.  Not only that but the storm apparently dropped snow in Luna.

One month later we are back to the meeting spot at Long John Silvers.  This time the weather is perfect for the trip and after signing up we all took off heading north on Highway 180.  Our first stop was a side trip down Mineral Creek Road in Alma.  A few miles up the road we stopped to visit the gravesite for a prospector

named Cooney.  He is interred in a large boulder by the side of the road.  During his time in the Army, stationed at Ft. Bayard, he did some prospecting and found a silver deposit here in the Mineral Creek drainage.  After being discharged from the Army he returned to the area to develop his prospect.  Unfortunately he met an early demise in a skirmish with the local Apaches.  More details are included on the photo taken at his gravesite.  His final resting spot is lovely.

After a group photo, we were back on the road again.  Up and over two passes
and we finally made it to the small town of Luna.  The rest of the trip was navigating some dirt roads until Ansel declared that we had arrived at the collecting area.  He showed us a sample of Luna agate, we parked the cars, and the quest was on.  Everyone spread out on the hillside and the sound of rocks being tossed into buckets was inspirational music to our rock hound ears.

Linda and I pulled into a nice parking spot and stared scouring the ground for agates.  Agates could actually be collected right from the roadbed and ditches.  I grabbed a sample bag and a water bottle (it was HOT and we were in a part of the forest that had burned so there was very little shade).  Linda opted for a sample bag, water bottle and an umbrella for portable shade.  It didn’t take too long to get our eyes adjusted to finding agates.

There were a lot to be had in colors from light gray and white to dark purple.  The dark purple were more scarce than white and gray colors so it was exciting when one was found.  As I worked my way from the dry stream bed up the hill there was a zone with a few blue/purple agates, and quite a few with quartz crystal-lined voids.  Quite a variety of rocks in a relatively small area.  We took a break for lunch and some time under the shade of our golf umbrellas.  After a lunch we made one last look-around to see if we could find something different from what we’d already found.

Time went by quickly and folks started packing up for the 3 hour trip back to Silver City.  We were enjoying the hunt but decided that we had better get packed up too.  As we departed we made a quick stop at the top of the hill and Linda found a small plate of rock covered with quartz crystals.  Wow, that means there will be plenty more areas to rock hound on the next field trip to Luna.
We made a stop for gas in Glenwood since it was cheaper than gas in Silver City (hum, I haven’t figured that situation out yet…).  It seemed HOT, but we did not have a thermometer so I asked the fellow at the station.  He said it was 103°.  It was just too darn hot to pass up the opportunity to stop for ice cream (strawberry being the only flavor for the day) at the local rock shop.  Ahhhhh refreshing and we got to look at some New Mexico rock specimens including Luna agate and quartz clusters.  Nice way to top off the trip.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Silver City - 4th of July Parade

Club President George will be driving his vintage auto in the 4th of July Parade to promote the Club and the Show.  He would like to have as many members as possible travel the route along with him passing out rack cards.
Bring a flag, dress appropriately, remember we are rock hounds, it is not necessary to make a fashion statement. 

Parade kicks off at 10:am, on the streets next to Gough Park.  Arrive a little early and join President Skiba and revel in the cheers of those who line the parade route. 


Due to the bridge work on Hudson this year the parade will line up at the south end of Hudson Street by the bridge construction.  It will travel north on Hudson and end at the intersection of 14th street (Daylight Donuts). Meet President George at the south end of Hudson  a little before 10:00 AM on the 4th of July!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lodging for Show

For our out of town vendors and visitors, the Murray Hotel in downtown Silver City is offering a special rate for the Gem and Mineral Show.  The Hotel is located near the University at 200 Broadway.  They are offering a queen room at a nightly rate of $84/room, plus tax. Since the standard rate is $109/night, this is a substantial savings.  This rate will apply only for September 4-7, 2015.

If you are interested, please call the Murray directly at 575-956-9400 or email  Working with the Customer Service Professional is the only way to assure this special rate.  Reservations must be made by August 10, 2015 to assure this rate. Also note that you are attending the 2015 Gem and Mineral Show.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Harden Cienega Field Trip

Submitted by Club Member Andy Anderson
Here are some photos of our trip.  First we stopped at the Viking long house being built at Mule Creek Adobe which was really nice.  Then we went to the adobe factory and found how adobe is made and saw a 75 year old adobe maker machine.  Next we went to a wash where they got their sand for the adobe. It was loaded with obsidian nodules. The group gathered up some obsidian.

On we went to Harden Cienega and the lava flows for more obsidian. The ground was covered with little nodules just right for tumbling.  Jim and his dog seemed to be having a good time.
Last we drove to a canyon that was the head waters of the San Francisco river. The canyon was beautiful.  We  saw a little horn toad while looking around there. All in all, it was a great trip.

Monday, March 30, 2015

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: