Field trip to Socorro, New Mexico
Nov. 8-11, 2007
by Lorrie Hutchinson (Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society)
The weather was perfect as usual, for the Mineral Symposium in Socorro, November 8-11. Members from the Rams Club, North Jeffco, and Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society joined forces for a trip to the Blanchard Mine on Thursday and to the Magdalena Mining District on Friday. Ray DeMark was our host at the Blanchard and while some accompanied him into the Sunshine #3 Mine, others dug on top of the ridge. The seam of fluorite found on the ridge was as blue as the sky and prolific enough to keep the diggers busy the entire day. Everyone was able to load their car with a pick of specimens in different size. For those underground there were many spots to find an array of fluorite, galena, and some brochantite. Most of the miners came out with smiles and wrapped treasures. The Graphic and Nitt dumps yielded specimens of pyrite, cerrusite, smithsonite, azurite, malachite, and auricalcite. Other finds were identified by Helen at Billís Rock Shop when we returned after another beautiful and fun day of collecting. For those preferring to collect their finds at the tailgating, the specimens and prices varied enough to please many shoppers. The larger rooms at the Comfort Inn were pleasant and allowed for the circulation of more people and ample room to display minerals. I found several treasures there as well. John Rakovan was the featured speaker at the symposium with a great presentation on the sakura ishi or cherry blossom stones. Ray Berry did a great job presenting the collecting of Ed Over and Steve Veatch presented the new way Cripple Creek is looking at gold deposits. Ray DeMark talked about New Mexico Fluorites and had a wonderful display. Jim McGlasson gave a very interesting presentation on silver found in Batopilas, Chihuahua, Mexico. 75-80% of all the silver extracted occurred as native silver. Recent exploration by MAG Silver uncovered a vein in which 2.7 kilograms of native silver specimens were collected. It was sad to hear that many collecting areas in New Mexico are being closed by the Abandoned Mine Land Program because of progress and development and the carelessness of uneducated people who get hurt in mine shafts. To save some of these collecting sites, we should work with colleges, museums and clubs to prove the value of keeping the collecting sites accessible and put a claim on them if possible. Write to your congressmen and senators. If we work together, we may be able to save some areas. I enjoyed the symposium, collecting, and the time spent with new friends from other clubs. Thanks everyone for making it another great trip.
Editorís Note: Those RAMS members attending the Thursday and Friday field trips were Ted Gildea, Don and Gail Beamer, and Ron and Judy Knoshaug, Ron Anderson, and Norbert Laczko. Photos below are from RAMS members.