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

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