Desert Messenger

March 20, 2013

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March 20, 2013 19 ADVENTURES WITH ROCKS Smelling roses and collecting rocks By Jenn Jedidiah Free Well, we have come to the end of another awesome season in Quartzsite. Some of us are already on the road heading to our summer destinations, while others are waiting awhile still. As we bid goodbye to Quartzsite and all the exciting rockhounding and prospecting opportunities here, it is good to know that rocks are everywhere. No matter where we are, we can plan some rockhounding and prospecting adventures to fill our days with joy and excitement while we are on the road. If you are heading north through Nevada, there are two main routes to take: Hwy 95 or Hwy 93. Both routes offer exciting opportunities to the prospector. Heading north on 95 takes you through copper, gold, and silver mining country. The towns of Beatty, Goldfield, and Tonopah provide many opportunities to visit mines, ghost towns, and historic places. Chalcedony, petrified wood, and fossils are just some of the mineral wealth that can be found in this area. Further north in Fallon is the location of some gorgeous Wonderstone. If you choose Hwy 93 instead, you will encounter dry lake beds near Rachel perfect for hunting meteorites. Further north you will encounter garnets, petrified wood, limb casts, geodes and more. There is also a large copper mine near Ely which allows visitors to drive to an overlook inside the mine to watch the mining operations. If you are heading to Utah, however, it can be much more difficult to decide which way to go. In addition to amazing scenery and fabulous hiking, the entire state is chock full of great prospecting locations. On the western side of the state can be found famous sites like Dugway for geodes, Delta for Trilobites, and Topaz Mountain, for, well, topaz. Agates, jaspers, petrified wood and fossils abound in the mountains, canyons, and washes of southeastern Utah. The central part of the state boasts azurite, malachite, and jewelry grade Wonderstone. The mountains around Beaver and Provo are rich in gold. Heading East from Quartzsite can be equally as difficult when it comes to deciding on prospecting locations. In every direction there are abundant sites for prospecting and rockhounding. The famous and beautiful "Rainbow" petrified wood can be found near Winslow. Petrified corals, sponges and crinoids abound in the northeast section of Arizona along I40. World famous "Meteor Crater" is in this area, too. In the southeast, agates, jaspers, and geodes can be found, as well as malachite, azurite, chrysacolla, and turquoise. Gold prospectors will be excited by places like Rich Hill near Phoenix and Lynx Creek near Prescott. Fire Agate can be found in several locations heading southeast to Tucson. Prospecting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when traveling to New Mexico, but there are plenty of sites to keep even the most serious rockhounds busy here, too. In the Southwest corner, abundant marine fossils can be found, from crinoids and snails to bivalves with intact shells. This area also boasts petrified wood, agates and jaspers typical of the desert southwest. Garnets, amethyst, wulfenite, and turquoise can be found in select locations in this corner of the state. There are also gold, silver, and copper deposits that offer good prospecting opportunities. In the Northwest corner of New Mexico, heading east from Flagstaff, petrified wood, limb casts, agates and jaspers abound. Moonstone, garnets, feldspar, tourmaline, beryl and carnelian are some of the less common gemstones that can be found in this section of New Mexico as well. So remember, as you leave Quartzsite, that the journey is just as important as the destination. Instead of just logging miles, explore. Take time to stop and smell the roses, as they say. Go on an adventure or two along the way. You can even let the entire journey be an adventure. Grab some books, maps, and guides so you can see what there is to do along the way. Then hit the road, have fun, and enjoy your adventure. You'll be glad you did. For rockhounding and prospecting books and maps to plan your adventure, visit RocksInMyHead. We are open at Space A37 in Rice Ranch through the end of March, 605-376-8754, www. We have books and maps for Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. We also carry tools and supplies for all your rockhounding, prospecting, and lapidary needs, plus lots of cool rocks from the surrounding states.

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