Finally! An Affordable Sat Phone

But will it work?

I’ve written how I have a SpotX by Globalstar (internal link) in case of emergencies when I am beyond cellular coverage.

I’m glad I have the device but the keyboard is difficult to use and it is a text based message service, in fact, the texts must be less than 150 characters.

Still, despite those limitations, it can connect with the outside world and I bought into a personal recovery service and a vehicle recovery service.

Globalstar has a new device. It’s called a Sat-Fi2 which is a small satellite terminal that works off your smart phone.

Besides text and regular e-mail, it provides voice! And a tie in to the nearest 911 center in case of an emergency. Voice! I can’t tell you how long I have waited for this.

The last time I priced sat phones was three years ago before my travels through the Southwest. Hardware was from $750 to $1,000 which I could manage. It was the air time that killed the deal.

Just that short time ago, air time was 75 cents to a dollar a minute. And you needed to buy huge blocks of airtime to get that price. And those minutes expired quickly. No rollover, use them up quick. A real racket.

I think Globalstar may have added more capacity by putting up more satellites, don’t know. I can’t explain the price drop.

Will it work? I’m going to find out on my upcoming trip into Utah. Right now, I am awaiting it to arrive, whereupon I will take it on the road. I still have my SpotX paid up until September so I am not going without a backup. And I have my handheld ham radio. And my CB radio.

Globalstar is running a promotion on the device for whatever reasons I do not know. $249 dollars for the hardware, figure $300 or so with tax and shipping, and $50 a month for unlimited voice and data.

Let’s talk about that data. The most Globalstar is promising is 72kbps, realistically, you’ll be getting data transfer at the equivalent of a 56K modem from 1996. You won’t be doing heavy business with this device but you will get e-mails out and back. But voice!

Nothing beats voice communication for relaying real time information. Everybody knows that. Now, I just have to find out if this is a broken or kept promise. I’ll be reporting back soon.

If you want to try this unit, deal with Globalstar directly. Going through a third party means trouble.

Here’s a link to them, and no, I do not get a commission. Nothing on this site is commercial, nothing is meant to sell anything. Ever seen an ad?
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Run Off Twice In Three Days

In three days I was run off land I was taking pictures on. A new record. Once by a public official and one by a private security guard. (Who had a K9 with him.) Some thoughts.

Anyone patrolling and protecting private or public land gets hard from dealing with thieves, vandals, squatters, pot growers, and people off-roading where they shouldn’t.

As such, you are most likely deemed a profiteer no matter what you are doing. If I have a camera, the question is always, “Are you a professional? Are you selling these photographs?” If I am rockhounding, it’s always, “Do you make money off of this?” Sigh.

My attempts at explaining are always seen as arguing. It puts these people immediately on the defensive. You don’t not want to do that. I say what I am doing, I am always friendly, and I always leave an area as asked. It doesn’t matter if I am right or not, I do not want to fail what cops call the attitude test.

Law enforcement can throw you into jail for almost anything. Whether the charges stick, that’s another matter. Right now, you are in jail. A police officer puts you in jail under what are called booking charges. They can be practically anything. It’s the district attorney (or whatever other official is tasked with prosecutions), who decide what the final charges will be. If any.

In questions like trespass, the DA probably doesn’t want to even consider the case. You may be fined with no further jail. The DA may be more mad at the police officer for bringing them another case that isn’t a priority. To that point, a policeman also doesn’t want to develop a history of jailing people on minor charges who get immediately released.

I belong to the Public Lands for the People and have a bumper sticker for them on my truck. They advocate getting all sorts of information from the officer in case you are stopped. I don’t ask for an officer’s full name. If I need to, I’ll get their license plate number. That will be enough to identify them later on. Less confrontation.

Speaking of names, if you mention someone in their agency, be prepared to have that name. “I know someone.” “Okay, Jack, who?” A printout is best, don’t be stuck by the side of the road searching through your e-mails on your phone. I carry printouts of current rockhounding regulations for both the BLM and USFS in my truck, along with the rules for collecting in Wilderness Areas. I have printed out my correspondence with certain state and national level BLM and USFS officials, along with their phone numbers.

Anything on paper is far better than describing it. If you want to try to explain yourself. Which, again, may seem argumentative and confrontational. Your call. Good luck.

Oh, if you are doing something really debateable, get the business card of a criminal defense lawyer and keep it in your wallet. Pay for an hour of their time to introduce yourself and tell them what you are doing. Find someone who practices criminal law, nothing else. They are very different from other lawyers. And get the business card of whatever bail bondsman that attorney recommends. Just saying.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Desert Pavement

Just finished uploading a file to Wikimedia Commons showing desert pavement. It’s reworked footage from my prospecting desert pavements video.

In this video, I remove all narration and free certain frames along the way. I think this works best, leaving a description of desert pavement up to educators and students.

There are many nice still photos of desert pavement from around the world at Wikimedia Commons but no video.

Here’s the link to its page at Wikimedia.,_Nevada.webm

Many devices can’t play that file format. So, here is the same footage at Vimeo, unfortunately, more compressed. Downloading any video file always and then playing it always produces the best results.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Two Minutes Walking in A Desert Wash

I’m documenting some different things at Wikimedia Commons for anyone to view or use.

Wikmedia Commons uses an odd video file format that may not play on your device. It’s called .webm. These videos open and operate reliably in the Firefox broswer, my iPad, but not my iPhone.

Editing or otherwise working with a Wikimedia Commons hosted video may prove fruitless unless you have a commercial converter. I use Movavi products for all of my video work. They are very cheap compared to anything Adobe and are far simpler to use.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Modern Day Desert Snails

Desert Snails

I recently got an e-mail which touches on a desert snail shell I recently found at Nopah:

Hello! Your geological adventures are so interesting and informative. Here is a screen shot of my Instagram message. Have you seen anything like this? Are these currently living creatures or extinct or fossils that are not stone… which isn’t exactly possible.

If you could point me in the right direction to someone who knows about these things that would be great. My 7 year old is 100% in love with geology.

Also, what info could you pass along to encourage her passion of rocks? What tools are the most fun we could use to help her investigations and learning?
Any professors or books that would be a great resource?

Thanks, A Reader

My reply:

Hello and I hope you are in good health. You most certainly have a present day snail shell. Where did you find it? Location is everything when finding something. There may be, for example, a snail in CO limited to just one mountain range. With that location, someone can better identify an object, compared to having it presented as something from somewhere in CO. Actually, with an exact location, someone can try to identify a specimen 20 years from now!

Desert snails exist today and leave behind their delicate shells when they die. As you know by their weight and fragility, they aren’t fossilized. Yet. You probably saw my gastropod photo from the Nopah, which I misidentified as a brachiopod (those are shells). I’m attaching it in this e-mail.

Professional ecologist Jim Boone identified what I had as definitely a desert snail, in fact, he once edited an academic paper on a snail that turned out to be new to science.  I have that paper belwo.

Apparently, it is very difficult to tell one desert snail from another, consequently, to be safe, one might call them by their genus name, which I think is Eremarionta. That’s like calling Oaks Quercus. All oaks are quercus, even if we don’t know which one we are looking at.

The one page paper you will read is academic and difficult, never-the-less, it mentions important scientists and papers regarding desert snails which you can use to go further.

Although Jim’s site is focused on Southern Nevada, he provides easy to read pages on rocks and vegetation. With your assistance, I am sure you could help your child puzzle out the pages on rocks and geology.

For local rocks, get hold of your local rock club. They love any new member, especially children. They are sometimes called Pebble Pups. (And they often get free stuff, which always makes me jealous :-))

As to reading, Diamond Dan has all sorts of easy to read and extremely accurate publications on minerals:

He has a number of free, downloadable .pdfs for kids to freely download during this COVID-19 practice. I can spare a few of his books if you want.

I wish you well and congratulations on your find. I hope you and your child continue searching. There is a fossil group on FB but any internet forum can get really nasty; I don’t generally don’t recommend them for beginners because of trolls. Best, Thomas

Snails on Yucca Mountain

Text by Will Pratt and the Internet, editing by Jim Boone

(All rights reserved to the authors)

The snails found in Abandoned Wash on Yucca Mountain are Panamint Desertsnails (Eremarionta greggi Miller, 1981) or an undescribed, new species. (Dr. Pratt is working on this question.) If they are E. greggi, then prior to finding these specimens on Yucca Mountain, this species was only known from two sites in California: Johnson Canyon in the Panamint Mountains (Inyo Co.), and in north-facing rockslides along the Silver Lake-Ft. Irwin Road in the Avawatz Mountains (San Bernardino Co.).

The Avawatz range is due south of the Ibex hills, separated by the valley of the Amargosa River. The distribution patterns of these helminthoglyptid snails date from the late Tertiary, and the Death Valley graben dates from the middle Pleistocene. During those time, the Avawatz were likely part of a continuous chain of montane habitats leading north from Avawatz through the Ibex Hills, Black Ridge, Grapevine Mountains, Bullfrog Hills, and Bare Mountain to Yucca Mountain. The Avawatz, Owlshead, Panamint, and Grapevine Mountains form a second such chain of formerly continuous habitat. Thus, it seems that this species could be found throughout these mountain ranges. Because people have not looked for snails in these mountain ranges, what we don’t know about land snail distribution in this region is enormously greater than what we do know.

The genus Eremarionta includes nine species in the United States; all are restricted to southeast California except for one species that extends into extreme western Arizona. This species extends from Temple Bar, Arizona, south along the eastern edge of the Colorado River into Baja California and west to Indio, CA:

(, 1997).

Eremarionta greggi and the Argus desertsnail, Eremariontoides argus (Edson, 1912) are the northernmost members of this group of snails (Eremarionta ranges eastward into southern AZ, in the Sonoran Desert). E. argus is listed in Pilsby’s Land Snail monograph as Micrarionta (Eremarionta) argus, lumped with E. greggi. Although the anatomy is distinctive, the shells cannot be reliably separated.

These snails are found in sheltered rockslides, generally on north-facing slopes with some runoff. While they live underground among the rocks, their shells can be found on the surface in areas they inhabit. It is likely that if we surveyed likely habitat on Yucca Mountain and surrounding montane areas, we would find more sites with these snails.

Prepared by:
Dr. William L. Pratt, Curator of Invertebrates
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas Box 454009, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4009

Miller, W. B. 1981. A new genus and a new species of helminthoglyptid land snails from the Mojave Desert of California. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 94: 437-444.

Editor’s note. If you want to go down the rabbit hole with native slugs and snails, check this out:
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley


Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park

I didn’t mention State Parks in my book very much because they don’t allow collecting. Still, I visited several and took many photographs that had no home. As I have said in previous posts, I am uploading the better ones to Wikimedia.

This one turned out well. A couple and their dog look down into the signature feature of the park, the so called Fire Wave. It’s a sandstone bowl, a confusion of swirls and layers and depressions. Like a crazy skate park might look if Fred Flintstone designed it.

This image would be better cropped, so that the couple are nearer. I didn’t do that, letting a user make their own decisions. Any editor wants the full image, as many pixels as possible. The original is 6,000 by 4,000 pixels, good enough for any magazine printing and even some decent enlargements.

If Wikimedia allowed posting RAW files then I would do that.

Here’s a 1,000 pixel size image at this site and then there is a link to the Wikimedia page where you can see that it is in the public domain and choose from a variety of download sizes.

Here’s how I might crop the image but it does loose the power the distance provided.

Or here is another way that emphasizes texture.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Recommended Reading and Resources – So far . . .

Recommended Reading and Resources – So far . . .

by Thomas Farley


Beginning rockhounds should start with anything produced by Diamond Dan Publications. Mostly written by Darryl Powell, these titles are approachable and accurate:

Diamond Dan’s Mineralogical Dictionary for Mineral Collectors
Crystals and Crystal Forms: An Introduction to Crystallography for Mineral Collectors
Fluorite: The Rainbow Mineral
Minerals of the U.S.A.
The Best Bathroom Book for Mineral Collectors Ever Written
The Best Bathroom Book for Mineral Collectors Ever Written No. 2
The World of Minerals and Crystals: Their Properties, Forms and Uses

Everything below is more complicated. Every title is worthwhile, it’s just a matter of price. Support your local used bookseller and the used book outlets at many county, city, and university libraries. As for the net, these two online sellers are well established:

Main List of Desirable Reading

American Automobile Association. Tour Book Guide: Colorado & Utah (Heathrow, Florida: AAA Publishing, 2016)

A weak entry to begin with. These old Tour Book Guides dated quickly but provided good snippets on area history and cities. AAA may no longer be printing them.

Anthony, John, Sidney Williams, and Richard A. Bideaux. Mineralogy of Arizona (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1982)

Everything technically needed to know about Arizona minerals. Describes practically every mineral in AZ and their localities, along with many photos. Like a in print. Lots of nice line drawings showing crystal forms of many minerals. There is a new edition out, the old edition I have is fine for me.

Bates, Robert and Julia Jackson. Dictionary of Geological Terms 3rd ed. (New York: The American Geological Institute, 1984)

Definitive and easily handled paperback geology dictionary. Worth buying but see Howell’s work listed further on. The authors more current and comprehensive title is the Glossary of Geology, now in its fourth edition. It’s an expensive hardback. The third edition, used, of course, is a better value.

Burns, Japser. Trilobites (Wilmington, Delaware: Miller’s Fossils, 1999)

Beautifully illustrated book in black and white. Clear explanations of the many trilobites, the first fossils most people encounter.

Busbey, Arthur, Robert Coenraads, David Roots, and Paul Willis. Rocks & Fossils (New York: Time Life Books, 1996) Excellent introduction to everything rocks, gems, and minerals. Well-illustrated in full color. Great bargain used.

Castor, Stephen and Gregory Ferdock. Minerals of Nevada (Reno and Las Vegas: Nevada University Press, 2004)

The essential tome on Nevada minerals. Detailed descriptions of minerals and their locations by county. 30 dedicated pages of photographs.

Christiansen, Eric and Kenneth Hamblin. Dynamic Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology (Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2015)

Current geology textbook, although several errors not yet acknowledged by the writers. Worth buying if an inexpensive used copy can be found and if an online errata sheet will be issued. $170 new.

Christiansen, Page. The Story of Mining in New Mexico. (Socorro, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources, 1974)

The definitive historical work on mining in New Mexico. Written for the layperson. Available as a free download from here:

Chronic, Halka and Lucy Chronic. Pages of Stone 2d. ed. (Seattle, Washington: The Mountaineers Books, 2004) Subtitled, “Geology of the Grand Canyon & Plateau Country National Parks & Monuments.”

Invaluable road trip book for traveling the Southwest. Explains the geology behind 24 National Parks and Monuments. Well-illustrated, much more than their roadside geology books.

Chronic, Halka and Lucy Chronic. Pages of Stone (Seattle, Washington: The Mountaineers Books, 1986) Subtitled, “Geology of Western National Parks and Monuments.”

This covers the Desert Southwest. Another essential. A look at basin and range territory from the tip of southern Idaho to Mexico.

Chronic, Halka. Roadside Geology of Arizona (Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press, 1983)

Classic description of Arizona’s geology. Don’t be bothered by the date, the landscape hasn’t changed much in thirty years, except to development. As with all road guides, these titles are best understood when read by a navigator or companion as a trip goes along.

Chronic, Halka. Roadside Geology of New Mexico (Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press, 1987)

Another good one from Halka who divides New Mexico into three geologic provinces. The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, on the other hand, splits the state into five parts. This author’s guide to rockhounding follows the latter course.

DeLong, Brad. 4-Wheel Freedom – The Art of Off-Road Driving (Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press, 2000)

DeLong wrote the Bible on off pavement. His lessons are old and mostly still current. Choosing a rig, 4-wheel basics, packing the vehicle, airing down for mud and sand, crossing streams, and on and on. As the kids say, “It’s all good.” Actually, it’s all great.

Durham, Michael. The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America-The Desert States (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1990)

While not focused on geology, this book does cover the tone and temperament of the Southwest. Background material.

Eckert, Allan. Earth Treasures Volume 4A – The Southwestern Quadrant (Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, 2000)

Eckert, Allan. Earth Treasures Volume 4B – The Southwestern Quadrant (Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, 2000)

Reprinted in 2000, these books were originally written in 1987. Both “A” and “B” are needed to cover the entire Southwest. At first read, it seems Eckert explored more ground than Kit Carson or John C. Fremont. This inveterate rockhound collected in nearly every county in nearly every state. In New Mexico, he missed only five counties, in Arizona, none. In Nevada, none. He collected in all 58 counties of California.

Eckert shows all locations with snippets of road maps overlaid with partial township, range and section information. Atlases of each state with that information are therefore required, or individual maps by the dozen. In some cases, his directions are sufficient by themselves. Although his books were first copyrighted in 1987, their written date remains a mystery. He lists Ormsby County in Nevada, for example, although that county was renamed in 1969. Today, collecting is probably prohibited at many of his recommended sites, perhaps the majority. But Eckert’s works are a good guide to collecting areas in general, pointing to heavily mineralized ground or places with an established mining history.

Greer, Ira, ed. Glossary of Weather and Climate (Boston: American Meteorological Society, 1996)

Authoritative and well done. A weather dictionary. Get it.

Harris, Richard. Hidden Southwest (Berkeley, California: Ulysses Press, 2004)

Background on traveling the Southwest. Non-essential and dated but a good read.

Howell, J.V., ed? Glossary of Geology and Related Sciences (Washington, D.C.: American Geological Association, 1957.)

Best geology dictionary I have ever read. Miserably small type. Proper dictionary writing by a strong, seasoned dictionary editor, identity unknown. Gives many word origins along with the use of a term in a sentence. Tough, technical words are explained in plain English, making geology’s difficult vocabulary at approachable.

Now dated and lacking the latest terms, it stands as the last, literate geology dictionary made. Geologists controlled every dictionary after this, technically astute but always struggling to put their profession into understandable English. Bates and Jackson substantially revised and updated this title in 1980 but took the life out of the writing so filling the 1957 work.

Johnson, Mark. The Ultimate Desert Handbook (New York: Ragged Mountain Press / McGraw Hill, 2003)

A valuable read with countless tips and techniques to managing time in the desert. Much spent on foot travel and navigating thereby. But, also good information on vehicle travel as well. First aid and things that bite in the desert.

Johnson, Maureen. Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona (Washington, D.C.: Geological Survey Bulletin 1355)

A hardcopy reprint from Del Oeste Press in Tarzana includes a fold-out map, much superior to the online map. Del Oeste reprinted many, many guides to placer deposits in the Western United States. Avoid any copy of Bulletin 1355 printed on-demand as these may not contain the fold-out map.

Johnson, Robert. Nevada-Utah Gem Atlas (Susanville, California: Cy Johnson & Sons, 1978)

Another gem trail guide worth having if inexpensive.

King, Vandall. A Collectors Guide to the Granite Pegmatite (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2010)

Focuses on granitic gem pegmatites but many principles applicable to all pegmatites. Great colored line drawing illustrating a gem pegmatite pocket. Every Schiffer Earth Science Monographs are worth having. Heavy on great photographs; I don’t see how they make money from these books. Inexpensive used.

Klien, James. Where to Find Gold in The Desert (Baldwin Park, California: Gem Guides Book Company, 1994)

This happily titled book focuses primarily on California, with a brief look at other Southwestern States. Fairly vague locale descriptions and this is a pre-GPS book. Pointing to general areas is all an author can do. Exact occurrences are either hidden or claimed, instead, a prospector must range widely, putting time in over a large area.

Knoerr, Alvin and George Lutjen. Prospecting for Atomic Minerals (New York: McGraw Hill, 1955)

Retro-prospecting. Written when the United States had a bounty on finding uranium ore in paying quantities. When two men would set out for a month with “fifty pounds of flour, forty pounds of bacon and pork, six pounds of butter and six pounds of beans.” Oh, and 30 pounds of sugar! The authors may not have been gourmets but they could sure write an entertaining and informative book.

Lauf, Robert. Introduction to Radioactive Minerals (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2008)

Wonderful photographs and authoritative text mark this the book the one to buy when putting together a radioactive ore collection. Which everyone should assemble. . .

Lincoln, Francis. Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada Reprinted ed. (Las Vegas, Nevada: Nevada Publications, 1982)

Typical reprint of mining district information. This one has an excellent, easy to use chapter on rock, gem, and mineral by county. Others have this information obscured in the entry for each district. Large paper maps of mining districts, by-the-way, are often available from a state’s geology bureau.

Lynch, Bob and Dan Lynch. Arizona Rocks and Minerals (Cambridge, Minnesota: Adventure Publications, 2010)

Excellent publication with real-life photographs and generalized locality maps. Highly recommended for use throughout the Southwest.

Lynch, Dan. Rock Collecting for Kids: An Introduction to Geology (Cambridge, Minnesota: Adventure Publications, 2018)

Terrific book for kids of all ages. An easy entry into a complex subject.

Magnuson, Jim. Gemstone Tumbling, Cutting, Drilling & Cabochon Making (Cambridge, Minnesota: Adventure Publications, 2015)

This book takes you from rough to refined. From a stone picked off the ground, Magnuson goes through every step needed to rock into rock art. Really good.

Massey, Peter, Angela Titus, Jeanne Wilson. Nevada Trails: Southern Region (Parker, Colorado: APC Publishing, 2015)

Describes many off-pavement roads and tracks that often go by old mines. Good advice on selecting an off-road vehicle. Gives every road or tour a difficulty rating. Recommended.

Mottana, Annibale; Rodolfo Crespi and Giuseppe Liborio. Simon and Schuster’s Guide to Rocks and Minerals (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978)

Authoritative and frequently cited. Widely available and inexpensive used. Beware of broken spines. Tremendous variety of rocks and minerals covered. No fossils. Difficult for the beginner. Small size makes it impossible to lay flat and to easily browse. Good photographs but see Proctor (below) for better images, if fewer in number.

Page, Jake. The Smithsonian Guides to Natural America: The Southwest: New Mexico – Arizona (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 1995)

Pearl, Richard. Colorado Gem Trails and Mineral Guide 3rd ed. (Chicago: Swallow Press, 1972)

Excellent book with maps detailed enough to follow today, provided listed roads are still open. Detailed references. Heavy emphasis on mineral collecting.

Pearl, Richard. Handbook for Prospectors 5th ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1973)

Dated and excellent prospecting book. Pearl did everything, went everywhere. Enough remains true to warrant buying. An entertaining and informative read.

Powell, Darryl. Rocks, Minerals & Crystals: A Collecting and Coloring Book (Gem Guides Book Company: Baldwin Park, California, 2017)

Great book for kids to color and learn from. Represents most material in idealized form, rather than the way it is pulled from the ground. Still a good book for present crystals in all their forms. Link to the publisher at the top of this text.

Proctor, Dean and P. Robert Peterson. Mineral-Rock Handbook (Sandy, Utah: Paulmar Publishers, 1989)

The best mineral and rock photographs in an everyday guide. Features large image sizes, especially helpful with identification. The spine is broken on my copy, be carefulto get an intact copy.

Rambo, Katherine. The World Came to Tucson (Tucson, Arizona: Stanegate Press, 2014)

History of the largest rock, gem, and mineral show in the world. Held each year, Rambo details its origin and continuation. Good background for anyone going.

Ransom, Jay. Arizona Gem Trails and the Colorado Desert of California (Portland: Mineralogist Publishing Company, 1955)

If the price is right.

Ransom, Jay. The Gold Hunter’s Field Book (New York: Harper & Row, 1975)

State by state and province by province descriptions of collecting areas. Good, general advice on gold and prospecting for same.

Sano, Jennifer. Gems & Minerals of The Southwest (Tucson, Arizona: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2009) A very pretty book. Photographs by the famed rock, gem and mineral photographer Jeffrey Scovil. Photographs represent high-end collection and museum pieces. Detailed information on each subject, including metaphysical notes.

Schneider, Stuart. The World of Fluorescent Minerals (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2006)

Part of Schiffer’s Book for Collectors series. Really nice.

Simpson, Bessie. New Mexico Gem Trails Revised ed. (Granbury, Texas: Gem Trails Publishing Company, 1965)

Straight, Jim. Nuggestshooting Dryplacer Areas 4th ed. (Rialto, California: Jim Straight, 1994)

No better prospector and writer than Jim Straight has ever come along. Technically challenging at times, Straight’s information applies to all metal detectors and dry washers. They are not product manuals, instead they teach everything needed to locate gold with any equipment the prospector owns.

Straight, Jim. Advanced Prospecting & Detecting for Hardrock Gold 4th ed. (Rialto, California: Jim Straight, 1998)

One could become a gold geologist by understanding everything Straight writes about in this book. Emphasis on research before traveling and on seeking areas little prospected. Depending on price, everything written by Straight is worth buying.

Thrush, Paul, ed. A Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968)

Eight pounds of awesome, this 1,269-page boat anchor of a book belongs in the library of anyone seriously interested in all things rock related. Bates’ Dictionary of Geological Terms (above) should be the first choice of the beginning rockhound but this title, though dated, is a classic. Make sure the spine isn’t cracked and don’t overpay.

Ungnade, Herbert. Guide to the New Mexico Mountains (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1965)

The essential work on the mountains of New Mexico. Hampered somewhat by a few difficult to follow black and white illustrations. But in general, the graphics are good. Many worthwhile reflections on New Mexico mining, especially by first peoples. Worth getting.

Wilburn, James. Prospecting for Gold Mines (Mesa: Arizona Specialty Printing, 1984)

A favorite. Wilburn describes well the essentials of gold prospecting. He’s intense. He’s not looking to pick up a few flakes or nuggets, this work is fixed on finding enough to start a mine.

Wilson, James. A Collector’s Guide to Rock, Mineral & Fossil Localities of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Geological Survey, 1995)

Available free online but best in hardcopy, this is an extremely well-organized work. Takes the rockhound through geology and identification basics and then lists rocks, gems, minerals and fossils county by county. All books should be this well laid out.

Woodmencey, Jim. Weather in the Southwest (Tucson, Arizona: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 2001)

Short, well-illustrated book on Southwest weather basics. Not essential but don’t bypass it at a good price.

Wooley, Alan and Arthur Bishop. The Henry Holt Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1989)

Another field guide, another presentation on collecting and identification. Worth having. Avoid cracked spines.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

This Might be My Last Post for A While

Since I finished what I could of my travel book series, I am now turning to other things. My back has to heal up better and I probably should spend more time indoors to help that along.

I’m now spending quite a bit of time contributing by better photos to Wikimedia, the photo repository for Wikimedia. I am placing all of these photos in the public domain, with no restrictions on their use or any need to credit me. I could explain why but that would take several more paragraphs to describe. You can go over to my writing site if you want to know more.

One has to register with Wikimedia first, upload and describe a photo according to their requirements, and then place a link to it at an appropriate Wikipedia page. I thought the dashboards and the interface the two groups used were too intimidating but it’s not that difficult once you go through it. Just takes time.

I saw there were no photos at Wikipedia on the Nopah Range in Inyo County. None taken while in that range at least, just two photos from the valley floor. I added a photo gallery of some of my pictures to this page:

Update! Wikipedia does not want to be an image gallery. An editor kindly told me this and we are going to rework that page. Only a few photos should show at a Wikipedia entry, the rest can sit quietly at Wikipedia Commons to be used in other articles and to be searchable as a whole.

Back to my original post:

It took most of this morning to get my Nopah photos up but they are now permanently posted at Wikimedia Commons where they await somebody 12 years from now to do a report. Many photos I am going to post have been seen here but not organized, not full sized, and not with a copyright release.

Seeing no photos of a wild Red Rock Canyon desert tortoise, I added my four tortoise photos to this page:

Here’s what I did for the Darwin, California entry:,_California

Update (again) That entry above has been changed. The emphasis on Wikipedia is not to create image galleries. I am learning this as I go and I remain very positive about contributing to Wikipedia and Wikipedia Commons. Be prepared, however, to have an editor watching your work and correcting it. That’s only fair, every writer needs an editor.

Back to the original article:

I’d encourage you, too, to build up what’s called the inverted pyramid of knowledge. With Wikipedia and Wikimedia, everyone can.

I wish you good health until my next report.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Update on Railroad Pass, Clark County, Nevada

My investigation of that area has somewhat stalled.

I was hoping that the fluorescent properties of alunite might guide me to that mineral on the hill. It is said to be extremely difficult to identify using physical or chemical means. Unfortunately, further research says its UV characteristics are uncertain.

The alunite examples I got from Minerals Unlimited are from  Marysvale  in Piute County, Utah. Mindat confirms that the mining district there indeed has alunite.

The host rock is richly pink, possibly from feldspar. The florescence the rocks show is confusing.

I read originally that alunite fluoresces orange under LW. Another website says it glows white under SW. Another authoritative site site says yellowish-white under both SW and LA. A hardcopy book I have says alunite is not normally a fluorescent mineral but when it does, it appears white to grayish.

The problem is that the specimens I receive glow softly green under SW and not at all under LW. Some of the rocks don’t light up at all. I have one rock from the hill that also lights up green under SW but it is much brighter than my reference samples and it has an afterglow. The ones from Utah do not.

Not all minerals are well researched for all the characteristics they may possess in all localities. For example, extremely few fluorescent mineral list mention that some benitoite glows red. But some small pieces do. UV may not be helpful after all but I have found a few other things lately in my self-quarantining.

I have Castor’s well respected Minerals of Nevada in my library. He says alunite is “abundant with pyrite at Railroad Pass.” Okay, as a gold prospector I certainly know what pyrite looks like. And two Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Examination reports mention quartz and alunite veins. Another mention of quartz. While I have found only one piece! Something is wrong.

In one of those examination reports are clear directions to another site on the hill, in the opposite direction of the area I was looking at. Armed with this information, I think I am now better positioned to find some well mineralized rocks. Just wished my back and leg were getting better.

I am now in physical therapy but and not making any progress, indeed, I having set backs. Still, I will probably make it back to the hill soon. Gold fever trumps all illnesses. Even when you are only looking for colors.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley