In The Hills above Shoshone, California

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Had to get out my reference samples for this one and redo my talk from the field. RC is the only one who can explain this: “Densely welded Resting Springs tuff” “There is a progression in tuffs, from unwelded volcanic ash (the source material) to welded volcanic ash (tuff) to densely welded tuff. Further welding would result in vitrophyre, a phenocryst-bearing obsidian. Densely welded tuffs are uncommon. This tuff, a member of the Resting Springs Formation, formed from a pyroclastic flow that was particularly hot in the middle. The middle was so hot it welded into a vitrophyre, essentially an obsidian with phenocrysts. On either side of the vitrophyre the tuff was hot enough to become densely welded, almost glassy, and ceramic in appearance. This is an unusual specimen. Note the color. Darker was closer to the center of the ash flow, at a higher temperature and is more vitreous. Potassium-argon dating gives the age of the tuff and vitrophyre as 9.5 million years.” “Flattened pumice lapilli in this densely welded tuff appear as dark lens shapes called fiamme, Italian for flames. Farther from the center of the tuff bed, where welding was not as intense, the flattened pumice fiamme are much larger and retain the pumice texture.” A cross section through the Resting Springs Tuff is exposed in a spectacular roadcut east of Shoshone, in Inyo County, California. It is Miocene in age.” Explaining in a different way: “Above and below this vitrophyre, the hot ash flow solidified into a densely welded tuff – vitreous instead of ashy as are most tuffs. The densely welded tuff contains fiamme or "flames" in Italian, pieces of pumice that because of the heat, were melted and squashed into almost flat glassy lens-like structures.” #geology #geologyrocks#rocks#vulcanism #explore#rockhounding#

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August 27, 2020 – Pahrump to Barstow

August 27, 2020 – Pahrump to Barstow

Long day but I found a number of interesting places to explore or hound on my trip. Real work will begin when temperatures fall into the 90s or below. Today, at least on the stretch between Baker and Shoshone driving home, temps were 103 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The next time I travel the desert I will take plastic tubs to fill with water for desperate wildlife. I stopped at one place along the road and a bedraggled bird appeared from nowhere. It went straight under my truck, I thought for shade, but it was clearly wanting water. I left some in a small reservoir I fashioned from a plastic bag.

I’ll take more water for other people, too, not just myself. I noticed a big rig idling at a turnout with its emergency triangles in place. A breakdown. The driver had the engine running and the air conditioning must have been going. I approached. The driver said she was fine but eagerly accepted the bottle of cold water I offered her. Even with air conditioning, it is very uncomfortable to be thirsty in the desert. Very. At another time, I was walking back to my vehicle after doing some photography. A California Highway Patrolman slowed down to ask if I was OK. I said I was fine, thanked him, and waved him on.

With these kind of temps, and rural driving in general, I like to wave at every vehicle. If you’re not the friendly type, get friendly for remote places. This will help you and others, we all need to watch out for each other.

317 total miles.

These are just some of the things I saw. The highlight of the trip was talking to Don DePue of Diamond Pacific Tool in Barstow. We met outside after I got the three gallons of rock saw oil I had ordered a few days before.

In Case You Didn’t See Them

Rock & Gem

Rock & Gem magazine is the only publication that touches on all aspects of the rock, gem, and mineral trade. It’s been a while since I penned an article for them, however, I did provide social media coverage for Rock & Gem at Quartzsite this year and I keep in regular contact with the magazine.

January, 2016: A Nevada Turquoise Adventure ↓

RocknGem-January-2016 (.pdf)




May, 2016: Goldfield’s Gems ↓

RocknGem-May-2016 (.pdf)




August, 2016: Garnet Hill, Nevada ↓

RocknGem-August-2016 (.pdf)




March, 2017: The Meaning of Mariposite: Get to Know This Green Muscovite Mineral ↓

RocknGem-March-2017 (.pdf)




April, 2017: The Quartzsite Show: Rockhounds Gather in the Arizona desert ↓

RocknGem-April-2017 (.pdf)



March, 2020: R & G Community Outlook ↓

RocknGem-March-2020 (.pdf)


Experimenting With Google Earth Studio

Quarztsite and Tucson 2021 are Still On

From very reliable sources I am told that both events are still on. 

I think  the TGMS reserves the right to make a final decision in September for the Big Show.  Let’s hope it goes on, the theme this year will be fluorescent minerals and it may be biggest exhibition of glowing rocks in our lifetimes. 

Both on as of today. Comes Storming Back!’s search engine (external link) converts webpages to text only, eliminating images and advertising along the way. As such, they are the perfect and perhaps only search engine for your satellite phone or terminal.

Several weeks ago they upgraded their website with features that prevented the SatFi browser from using their website. I corresponded with them, they listened, and the website is once again friendly to those in the North Atlantic trying to repair a spar or some desert rockhound who’d like to know about a strange obsidian they just encountered.

The folks there should be commended by everyone using satellite technology to communicate beyond the reach of cell sites.

Here’s more on and the SatFi browser:

This accompanies my page on Globalstar’s SatFi-2.

A Delicious New Mountain Range Has Appeared

This mural depicts a long rumored but never found mountain range whose location is still a mystery. It includes Sugar Mountain, to which Neil Young famously titled a song years ago. The muralist drew upon the tales of an old prospector who passed away shortly after revealing his memories to the artist.


A Few Miles Up Wheeler Pass Road

My writing website is here:

A Few Miles Up Wheeler Pass Road

Wheeler Pass Road near Pahrump, Nevada. Not to be confused with Walker Pass Road in California.

On a personal note.

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Requiem for a dead lizard. Before pest control came out to spray the house I am now renting, I told the landlord that “there was a group of happy lizards around the house so the pest control people should be cognizant of this.” The landlord said he talked to them and nothing they used was poisonous to animals.” Two hours after the guy left I found this dead lizard a few feet from my back door. Maybe a coincidence but I haven’t seen the other two or three several hours later and they were always running around and present. When I worked in the green trade in California I had to get a qualified applicator’s certificate from the State so I am kind of sensitive about this. I know I shouldn’t be upset about the loss of a few lizards but I told everybody in advance. And I am upset. #lizard#wildlife#littlethings#pahrump

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Trying to Document a Nighttime Fluorescent Mineral Hunt

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Documenting fluorescent mineral hunting at night on video will be a real challenge for me. My dedicated camcorder can overcome some of the problems you see here because I can adjust the white balance, greatly reducing what is known as blue bleed. These adjustments, however, would all have to be done in the dark or very low level light. That is a tricky, practical problem. And then I'd need to fine tune the video in post, again, quite a challenge. My still camera can also better adjust for white balance. A compromise might be to do a number of stills, and then make a slideshow movie. All of this, of course, takes away from collecting which is what I want to do in the first place. I think it would be worth the effort to do a good video in a very good area, such as the Yellow Pine Mine in Goodsprings. There was an area when I last visited of about forty feet by twelve feet, and on the ground were small chips of hydrozincite. It may have been a dump made level, and none of the chips were of collectible size. Never-the-less, the ground glowed blue and white and it looked like I was walking on stars. #photography#rockhound#geogistonboard#rockhounding#nopawilderness#nightimephotography#pahrump#minerals#iv#flourescentlights #video#postprocessing

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