The Cochise County Rock

Monthly Newsletter of the Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club

“Finding and Grinding Rocks in Cochise County, Arizona Since 1962”

JULY 2005

This issue edited by Paul McKnight


July Field Trip

We are going to do something different this month – a Friday field trip!

There is a museum in Thatcher, AZ that has a wonderful collection of 800-year old pottery from a large Salado Indian village that existed about three miles from where your editor lives in metropolitan Sunizona. They are not open on weekends and were unable to make a special exception for The Club when we inquired about a Saturday trip.

MEET at the Safeway Parking Lot in Willcox at 8:30 am on Friday, July 29. We will leave at 8:45. Larry Strout will lead this trip.

The official part of the trip includes only the Museum, but members may want to consider visiting Discovery Park or the Mt. Graham telescope while in the area.

June Picnic Report

According to all reports, this was the best picnic ever. Many thanks to Retha for organizing it. Thanks to everyone who brought food. It was all delicious. The Stronghold turned out to be a great location.

June Field Trip Report

The trip to Randy and Jaclyn’s gold and silver mine was a success. Some members scoured the tailings for specimens and some went into the mine and whacked away at the walls and ceiling. Some of the whackers found gold and others found lots of nice shiny stuff of no commercial value. A good time was had by all.


Club Calendar


Field Trip to the Museum in Thatcher to see the Kuykendal Site pottery from the Sunizona area


Field Trip


10 Board Meeting

12 Regular Meeting – public meeting on…

17 Field Trip


8 Board Meeting

10 Regular meeting - demo

15 Field Trip


12 Board Meeting

14 Regular Meeting – elections, no speaker

19 Field Trip


5 or 12 Christmas Party – potluck


Lapidary Classes!

Anyone who would like to get started with lapidary training should contact Larry Strout at 826-3991

Upcoming Regional Events

Sept 30 - Oct. 2 - Annual Show and Sale

Yavapai County Fair Grounds, 10401 N. Hwy. 89A, Prescott Valley, AZ

Fri.10 - 6, Sat.10 - 6, Sun.10- 4; adults $2, children 12 and under free with adult.

Contact Larry Jackson: P.O. Box 345, Chino Valley, AZ 86323, (928) 636-9188.


Oct. 15 - Sedona Gem & Mineral Club 4th Annual Rock Sale and Show

Posse Grounds Park, off Hwy 89A, Sedona, AZ

Sat.9 - 4; free admission; rock, mineral, and equipment sales, hourly raffles, hand-made jewelry,

free kid’s rocks and games.

Contact: Pat McMahan, (928) 634-2404.

Oct. 15-16 - 31st Annual Show - Huachuca Mineral & Gem Club

Elks Lodge # 2065, 1 Elks Ln., Sierra Vista, AZ

Sat 9 - 6, Sun 9 - 4; free admission; gems, jewelry, rocks, minerals, lapidary materials and equipment, books, tools, demonstrations, field trips, hourly prizes.

Contact Larry Nelson, P.O. Box 1596, Sierra Vista, AZ 85636, (520) 459-5211

e-mail:; or Bill Jaeger, (520) 803-6590; e-mail:


An invitation is extended to the Club to attend the 1st Annual Virgin Valley Gem, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show over the Labor Day weekend, to be held at the Opal Negra Mine millsite in northwest Nevada. There is no fee to buyers or sellers.

There is plenty of space to set up a booth or to tailgate.

Free camping is available at the nearby CCC campground. Or, if needed, there are full hookups at the Royal Peacock’s RV Park, reservations are recommended.

If you have ever wanted to dig at one of the world famous opal fee digs. Here’s another reason to go!

More information is available on the Opal Negra Mine website, including maps, driving directions and links, at this address:

For questions not answered at the web site contact Scott Ryals at:

or call 1-800-803-7601. Hope to see you there! Scott Ryals, Opal Negra Mining


List of Club Officers for 2005

President Paul McKnight 520 824-4054

Vice-President Curt Kelly 520 826-1136

Secretary Don Hammer 520 384-3105

Treasurer Larry Edgett

Board Member at large Marie Sherman 520 826-4004

Do You know about this Rock Shop?

Sunshine Gallery and Gifts

One of the most talented mineral identifiers in Arizona is Rolf Luetcke. With his lovely partner Mary Ray, he runs a very nice rock and gift shop 2.5 miles south of Benson on Highway 80. Look for the yellow sign that says “GIFTS” on the right side of the road as you drive south.

Bring Rolf one of your finds and he will identify it. He has an extensive collection of samples for comparison as well as a microscope for up-close examination of your mineral.

While you are there, don’t forget to wander through their rock piles behind the shop. You might find a rock that wants you to buy it.


Our Correspondent in Iraq

Yonis Lone Eagle is a friend of the editor who organized the Agate 2003 week of camping and rocking at Apache Creek, New Mexico. That’s where I met him. This is the third in a series of his rockhound reports from Iraq. If you want to skip over the blood and guts, look for the bold letters saying “Rock News” about half way through the article.

Rock Hunting in an Iraqi Combat Zone

(Rockhounding at its Extreme)

PART 3 of ??? – June 2005


Yonis E. Lone Eagle

Howdy fellow Rockhounds. I hope everyone is doing all Hunky-Dory and finding lots of good stuff on yalls local fieldtrips. I’m now reporting to yall from FOB Diamondback up in Mosul, Iraq. I’ve been transferred up here to help them out with their workload with all the medical equipment. Between working my job, pulling guard duty, surviving the extreme heat and working with all my rocks, life around here keeps me pretty busy. Lately, the temps around here have been around 125 degrees during day and in the 90’s at night. Over the next couple of months, the temps will be getting over 135 degrees with the nights in the 100’s. Yall folks are missing so much fun.

As for the War on Terrorism, all the casualties are keeping everyone else very busy. Currently with all the wounded soldiers coming through our hospital doors, about 80% are wounded Iraqis, either local civilians, Iraqi National Guard troops (ING’s), or Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW’s). The other 20% of the wounded are U.S. troops. It is very unfortunate that all the Terrorist Insurgents that come into Iraq to disrupt, destroy and kill don’t give a damn about human life. Besides trying to kill U.S. and coalition forces, they end up killing a lot more innocent civilians. Local men, women and children are being maimed or killed at an increasing rate.

Working in the medical field for over 25 years now, I’ve seen more than my share of Life, of Death, and of blood shed. During the Gulf War, I saw enough death, destruction and carnage for two lifetimes. Not my luck. This War on Terrorism is a war of more of the same, but much worse. A while back, we had a U.S. female soldier flown in to our ER severely wounded from an accident. Our trauma team work vigorously for over half an hour trying to save her life, but her injuries were too severe. As her spirit left her body to be with the Great Spirit, the entire ER staff bowed their heads as our chaplain prayed for her departing spirit. You could hear a pin drop. As the staff exited the ER, there was not a dry eye in the room. We have seen several severely wounded male soldiers that did not make it but this was the first female soldier that died. It hit very close home for everyone.

And then couple of months ago, there were two U.S. soldiers in town handing out candy to a group of young Iraqi children. There was at lease a group of fifty of them between the ages of five to fifteen. They were so happy to be getting a sweet treat for a change. Candy is something that has been very scarce, especially during the Saddam regime. A suicide bomber drove up and killed the two soldiers, but in doing so, killed over twenty of the children and wounded over thirty others. When all those wounded children came into our hospital with missing hands, arms, feet, legs and burns, the staff went into action and did their jobs to the highest standards of the Army Medical Corps. But you still could still see the pain and sadness the their eyes as the staff worked feverishly to save and comfort as many as these innocent young lives as possible. When you looked into the eyes of these innocent young children that were badly burned and/or missing a limb, they would look up at you with their trembling bodies and their scared eyes asking “Why”. Your heart sank and went out to them. When you work in the medical field and deal with death on a daily bases, you have to have some sort of wall between you and death. If not, death can and will tear out your heart and soul. The saddest part of all this is the innocent lives that are taken away for no reason, especially the children.

While there is a lot of bad news and negativism about this war in the media with all the daily murders and killings and destruction, there are a lot of good and positive things that have come out of the ouster of Saddam and the fall of his regime. In my next report, I will be telling yall of the positive news you won’t hear in the media.

And now for the “Rock News”. First, I want to thank the “Alamo Rock Shop” of Boerne, Texas, for sending me over a Twin 6 lb. Barrel Rock Tumbler. When I moved up here to Mosul, I brought about fifty pounds of the best rocks I found with me. (I had to leave at least another thirty pounds behind.) And I’ve put it strait into operation tumbling the great pickens from Tikrit. The rocks I collected down at FOB Speicher were great, with less than 20% limestone. There wasn’t a day that did not go by that I didn’t pick up one or two dozen rocks. But up here in Mosul, the pickens have been very, very slim. I’ve been up here for over six weeks now and collected only about a dozen rocks. The rocks up here are over 90% limestone.

I recently found a very good and more detailed map on the Internet of Turkey, northern Iraq and their rivers. This has leaded me to another conclusion and gave me a more accurate source of the origin of the rocks. There is a major lake and two dams north west of Mosul. There for, with all this manmade stuff in the way, not much rocks coming from that direction. South of Mosul, there are two major rivers that flow into the Tigris between here and Tikrit, the Great Zab and the Little Zab rivers. The Little Zab has at least two dams and another lake. The Great Zab, which flows into the Tigris further north than the Little Zab, flows freely all the way from the extreme southwestern tip of Turkey. There for, I would say the majority of all those wonders I found down south evidently came down the Great Zab River.

Now to wrap up some old news from my last report. A few months back I got to go down to the Middle East country of Qatar. I flew down on a C-130 into Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. We then took a thirty-minute ride over to Camp As Sayliyah, which would be home for the next few days. While down there for a two week class, I got to do some more rock hunting. The majority of the rocks I found around the camp were tumbled limestone beach rock from the Persian Gulf. However, I did run across some unique lavas, a quartz/mystery rock conglomerate, a piece of petrified wood, a piece of granite, and a very nice three-inch fossilized coral stem.

So what are Astronomy Rocks, Diseased Rocks and Finger Rocks? Astronomy rocks, the name I gave them for what they look like, are black igneous rocks with small white spherical dots and swirls in the matrix that look like stars in the nighttime skies. Diseased rocks, again, the name I gave them for what they look like, are different colored rocks with spots or feldspar crystals that look like blotches or rashes or a disease on the surface. And Finger rocks, same naming, are long skinny rocks about one-half inch in diameter and three to five inches long, about the size of your finger! What’s amazing about these rocks is that they tumbled and traveled such a long distance without getting broken.

Folks around here have really got their curiosity up when they walk into my shop and see this thing with two barrels rolling over and over. “What is that”, I’m asked a couple of times a day. And once I explain what a Rock Tumbler is and what it does, a dozen more questions pop up. What kind of rocks do you tumble? Where do you find the rocks to tumble? When will the rocks be ready to see? How do you tell a good rock from a bad? Why would anybody want to tumble rocks? I got a lot of folks very, very curious and anxious to see the final results of the tumbler. I tell them one of the things you have to learn about being a Rockhound is “patience”.

The good news is that coming in my fourth report sometime in early September, “Pictures, Pictures, Pictures”. I will be including several colored photographs of all the unique wonders that I have found over here. They will include photos of the Astronomy rocks, the Diseased rocks, the Spotted rocks, the Banded rocks, the Abstract Art rocks, and my new “Pet Rock” I found I call Cyclops.

And now something for any Jadeite and Nephrite experts reading this. Does anyone know of any Jade that comes from southeast Turkey or northern Iraq??? I found some green rocks I strongly suspect are a type of Jade. All the research that I have done on the Internet tells me that the closes Jade found in the area comes from the region far to the northeast of Turkey toward China. Too far for these rocks to travel. If anyone has any information, please e-mail me at rockymountainrockhounds at yahoo dot com.

Well folks, six months down and six months to go. Everyone please take care and safe and happy hunting.

Yonis “Rock Pockets” Lone Eagle