Rolf Luetcke on Fossils

Hi Tom,

Besides being an “old fossil” , my fossil hunting actually goes back to when I was a kid in Germany. My dads’ family house was near a small town and they had a nice piece of land with the old family house on it. The whole area around the house was crushed rock that was brought in to make an area that didn’t get muddy during rains. In among the pieces of rock there were crinoid fossils. I would sit for hours looking in the gravel for pieces with the rounded fossils in them. I had no idea what they were but I remember looking for them.

Never got into fossils in a big way either but knew a bit about them from my college days.

Didn’t get back to fossils until I moved where we are now. I was taking the dogs on morning walks and when I walked, I rarely slowed down, I have always had a fast pace when I am out and hiking. But, having to pee does make one stop and on one hike I stopped to pee and then always looked around and to my amazement, found a bone in a piece of rock just about a mile West of our house. If I had just found the bone I may not have noticed much but thought it was something a coyote had lost but in this case, the bone was par of the rock of the area, a white caliche like material. That got me looking and before long I saw little bone fragments all over the place.

Home again I researched this and got in touch with the University in Tucson. One of the guys there sent me a paper he had written on the fossil history of the San Pedro River Valley. It seems this area was a study area for major Universities from a few places back in the 1930’s and 40’s. They had found this area rich in mammal fossils from recent times to about 5 million years. I was hooked and started looking more and more. Found a bunch of things and was able to identify quite a few species in what I had come across.

Found all sorts of things of the mammal fossils from the area, including Camel, Mastadon, Rhino, Horse and many more. Fun stuff and I have a nice display in the shop/museum of the finds.

There are a number of much more ancient fossils also in the area and those stones I sent photos of are examples.

Lots of shell fossils in the area limestones too. One spot between Tombstone and Bisbee has wonderful layers and each one a different kind of shell life in it.

Never did get into fossils as I did minerals but it was fun to learn some of the history of the area.

One that was both mineral, fossil and lapidary material is Turitella, a fossil material from the West. I got some nice big pieces of it and did a few into jewelry, quite hard stuff. You may look into getting some for your cutting.

Here is a photo of the Turitella I did a cabachon of, neat stuff.

This is fossil Auricaria cone from Argentina, this piece a friend gave me to cut. This material is somewhat protected now by the Argentine govt. it was mostly smuggled out before.

This one is Stromatolite, a fossil algae, and quite ancient. Got some of this to cut from the Illinois friend.

My knowledge of fossils is not that good but I have had fun with the material I have come across.

I am sure you will come across some also in hunting rock. Petrified wood, or pet wood as we call it, is a good example.

Take care

Rolf

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:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopah_Range

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:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rock_Canyon_National_Conservation_Area

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin,_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.


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My New Mexico Chapter is Now Out

The Arizona and New Mexico chapters of my now halted book project is out. Places to go, things to do, stuff to pick off the ground. If anything is open these days, Still, plenty of open USFS and BLM managed ground to run around in.

The first two new chapters are at my SW Travel Page, which also has more abbreviated documents covering the entire Southwest.

I hope to get the Nevada Chapter out next.





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The Rockhound Roundup is Coming to Deming, New Mexico

The Deming Gem and Mineral Society is once again sponsoring the Rockhound Roundup in Deming, New Mexico from Thursday March 12th, 2020 to Sunday March 15th, 2020. It is the 55th year of the Roundup.

Rock, gems, and minerals will be sold by vendors from all over the Southwest. In addition, the club is putting on field trips and a metal detecting competition.

The event is at the S.W. New Mexico Fairgrounds at 4100 Raymond Reed Boulevard in Deming, New Mexico.

Here’s a link for more information:

http://www.thedgmsclub.com/rockhound-roundup/

Look for Richard Mueller at space #64. He operates Miners Gallery out of Alpine, California and will have a variety of excellent materials.

https://www.minersgallery.com/

There’s a camping and RV park outside of town that thoroughly encourages rockhounding on nearby ground. Listed below.

Here’s what I have so far on the Deming area from my upcoming book. I’ll double check everything before it is published, however, consider what follows as a work in progress.

Deming Gem and Mineral Society
4200 Raymond Reed Blvd.
Deming, NM 88030
575-546-2554

32°15.256′ N 107°42.925′ W

Well worth joining if visiting this great collecting area.

http://www.thedgmsclub.com

Rockhound State Park
9880 Stirrup Road SE
Deming, NM 88030
575-546-6182

32°12.458′ N 107°37.531′ W

“This is the only place in New Mexico and one of only two places in the U.S. where you can take something from a state park,” says Manager Robert Apodaca to the Albuquerque Journal. “The most prevalent thing that’s readily available for surface collecting is jasper.” Visitors to the park also find geodes and thunder eggs, perlite and quartz, Apodaca says.

Ask on arrival whether anything beyond surface collecting is permitted. The park has steep, cactus-studded hills. Watch where kids play. A great place to camp for a few days of hiking and rockhounding. Bring boots and a hemostat or needle nose pliers to pull out thorns. The visitor center has a good rock collection showing what might be found for those putting in the time.

Stop at the rock shop described below for possible park collecting advice. Please buy something from the owner if he helps you with directions.

Here are park maps:

http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/spd/documents/RHPARKMAPS.pdf
http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/spd/rockhoundstatepark.html

A highly authoritative page on the geology of Rockhound State Park from New Mexico Tech, along with an explanation of all things geodes and thundereggs:

https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/tour/state/rockhound/home.html

The Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum
6235 Stirrup Road SE
Deming, NM 88030
575-546-4021

32°11.678′ N 107°38.768′ W

Just before the entrance to Rockhound State Park is this gem of a rock shop. Christopher is the proprietor here and an expert all things thundereggs and geodes. Although he doesn’t sell geodes from Rockhound State Park, he did contribute samples for the Visitor Center’s rock display. And he may have hints as to where to look in the Park. Take in a park map to make any directions easier to follow.

http://www.zianet.com/geodekid/index.html

Trina’s Rock Shop
1812 Columbus Rd.
Deming, NM 88030
575-546-0348

32°15.048′ N 107°45.112′ W

Recommended by Christopher of the Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum.

https://www.trinasrockshop.com/shop/
Black Hat Trading
2785 US-180
Deming, NM 88030
575-494-4693

32°17.705′ N 107°46.008′

Recommended by Christopher of the Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum.

https://www.facebook.com/BlackHatTrading/

Hidden Valley Ranch RV Resort
12100 Hidden Valley Rd NW
Deming, NM 88030
575-546-3071

32°25.850′ N 107°45.658’W

Seemingly recommended by every rockhound in New Mexico and beyond. Bring your RV, tent, or rent a cabin. 25 miles from Rockhound State Park. Lots of rocks in the area of this working cattle ranch. Rockhounding a recommended activity by the Ranch, in fact, there is an annual rock show hosted here each March.

http://www.hiddenvalleyrvranch.com

Deming Luna Mimbres Museum / Deming Museum
301 S Silver Ave.
Deming, NM 88030
575-546-2382

32°16.003′ N 107°45.396′ W

History museum with large sections devoted to local geology. Recommended to me by an avid geode fan. An archived article from their website certainly confirms this. The text follows.

“The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum proudly displays a world-class exhibit of Thundereggs, Geodes, and Nodules donated by Robert (Paul) Colburn of the Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum. Rockhounds from all over enjoy this collection. Mr. Colburn has dedicated his life to the study of these geologic formations and is responsible for scientific redefinition of previously held ‘truths’.

Thunderegg is a Native American name for what Geologists call lithophysae or spherulites. Geode simply means an earth shaped hollow rock, or more specifically, a hollow Nodule with a crystal lined cavity.

Nodules when opened may be simple or complex. While there is usually a “family resemblance” in Nodules and Geodes from a specific area, the best way to reveal the inner mystery is by opening the rock. You may become a Rockhound “wannabe” after seeing this incredible collection. You may have the sudden urge to become a detective unearthing (pun intended) the secrets of rock formation over centuries.

The specimens on display are the best from over 100 locations and were selected from tens of thousands of cuts made over 46 years of collecting. Each flawless specimen was chosen to typify the area where it was mined.

This collection provides a rare opportunity to view one-of-a-kind gifts of nature created over thousands of years. If your family or group includes a rock collector (rockhound), a future geology professor, or anyone who is marvels at the wonders that have been created in the millions of years of earth’s formation, this is a sure hit for your visit.

Source of Information and photography: The Formation of Thunder Eggs (Lithophysae) by Paul Colburn.”

https://www.lunacountyhistoricalsociety.com/highlights.html

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