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Monthly Newsletter of the Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club

The Cochise County Rock

“Finding and Grinding Rocks in Cochise County, Arizona since 1967”

January 2016

This issue edited by Don Hammer


The next GENERAL MEETING of the Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club is on Monday, January 11, 2016 at the Sunsites Community Center.  This meeting has been designated as “WELCOME BACK MEMBERS AND GUESTS NIGHT".  Note:  To Previous Members – You are more than welcome to attend!  We miss you!  Program: The history and exploration of Chiricahua Crystal Cave

Hidden in the Chiricahua Mountains is a spectacular natural wonderland that eventually became Chiricahua National Monument, a place of unbelievable balanced rocks and giant awe-inspiring pinnacles. In those same mountains is also hidden another spectacular natural wonderland, Crystal Cave, a place where you feel like you are traveling through the inside of a geode, surrounded by giant quartz crystals found like this in no other cave in the world. Robert Zimmerman’s presentation on Crystal Cave will be at 7 pm on Monday January 11 at the January meeting of the Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club at the Sunsites Community Center.  The public is invited to hear his 

Amazingly, the same local ranchers who helped found Chiricahua National Monument were also intimately involved in the first extensive exploration of Crystal Cave in the early 1900s, a fact that had been unknown until the cavers of southern Arizona began a project to survey and map Crystal Cave four years ago.

Robert Zimmerman is this project's leader and cartographer. He is also writing the history of the cave, the research of which has uncovered these surprising facts. His lecture will tell the story of the cave project and the cave's newly discovered history, as well as show some amazing pictures from inside Crystal Cave. Professionally he is a historian and science journalist who has written a number of books on the history of space exploration. He has also just published a new hiking guidebook called "Circuit Hikes of Southern Arizona.” 

MR ZIMMERMAN’S PRESENTATION WILL BEGIN PROMPTLY AT 7 PM, followed by a short break with the General Business Meeting following.  Get there early for a good seat.  This event has been publicized throughout Cochise County.


Minutes of General Meeting November 9, 2014

There were 44 people present for the meeting. Elliott opened the meeting at 7:00pm by introducing the evening's speaker, Dr. Michael Conway. He took us through the San Bernadino volcanic field of southeastern Cochise County which comprises 130 individual volcanic vents that had erupted between about 3.2 to 0.3 million years before the present. He explained some typical vent structures such as cinder cones, tuff rings and maar volcanoes and described how they were formed. He had a slide show so that we would know what we were looking at while he explained what each slide showed. It was a very fascinating talk and was well received by all who attended. 

Refreshments were supplied by Cynthia Livingston, Laura Dwyer and Wally Hozjan. 

Elliott called the business meeting to order at 8:15 pm. 

Treasurer Walter Sigel reported that we had $3246.47 in our treasury and we have four new members. 

Lapidary Lab report: Don Hammer would be available at the lab on Wednesday and Thursday morning. 

Nominating Committee consisting of Don Hammer and Carl Schnabel announced the following slate: 

President: Zoe Schnabel 520-826-0100 

Vice President: Tony Crumly 520-507-7717 

Treasurer: Walter Sigel 520-826-1009 

Secretary: to be announced 

Hospitality: Cyndee Crumly and Bette Greene 

This month's field trip will be to Cascabel. Hopefully, it won't rain. We will meet on Sunday at the Pomerene Exit at 8:30am. High clearance vehicles preferred. 

Zoe will be in charge of the Christmas Party to be held at 6:00 pm on December 14th at the Community Center. Zoe will be in touch with all the members to know how many would be coming and what they will bring. New members, Sara and Thomas Berger offered to cook the turkey for that night. Elliott adjourned the meeting at 8:45pm. 

Respectfully submitted by Bette Greene, Secretary

Club Calendar:

January 28  Board Meeting                  

February 8  General  Meeting       

March 3 Board Meeting 

March 14  General Meeting

March 31  Board Meeting

April 11 General Meeting

April 28 Board Meeting

May 9 General Meeting

June 4  Picnic

January Field Trip

We will be going to Tombstone Hills for a variety of sparky, colorful and fluorescent rocks including some copper minerals.  You will need 4 WD.  Meet at 9 am on Saturday January 16 at the intersection of Davis Road and Highway 80.   There is a wide shoulder on the south side of Davis Road with plenty of parking.  Most will be picking off the ground but you might want to do some shallow digging so bring light digging tools and knee-pads.  Bring buckets or bags, water, sun protection, etc.  

Since we have many new members that may be new to this area, a safety reminder is in order.  Rattlesnakes may be active at any time of the year in this part of the state.  I’ve seen them out in December and January.  Although other species occur in the mountains, I’ve only seen Mojaves and Westerns in the valleys.  Mojaves are not always greenish but may be tan, brown, yellow, etc.  The identifying characteristic is that on Mojaves the dark bands on the tail are much narrower than the light bands.  And depending on whether you ask the herpetology people or the medical folks, Mojave venom is 10-20 times more potent than the other rattlesnakes. Apparently Mojaves have a very high proportion of neurotoxin. Never put your hands or feet where you cannot see and don’t walk around in the dark.  We had one on the front porch with a morning temperature of 22 on October 29 and one in the utility shed on Halloween 

Our lapidary classes will begin shortly.  We have 6 members signed up so we will hold two sessions – one on Wednesday afternoon and the other on Thursday afternoon.  Mornings are still a bit cold. 

Dues are due.  The Board proposed and the members approved an increase to $15 for individuals and $25 for a family.  Bring your dues to the next meeting or mail your check to Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club, PO Box 87, Pearce, Arizona 85625.   Unpaid members 

President:  Zoe Schnabel      520-826-0100

V. President   Tony Crumly  520-825-2566

Treasurer Walter Sigel         520-826-1009

Past Pres:  Elliot Hendricks   520-471-8820

Del. At Large:  Carl Schnabel:  826-0100

Past Pres:  Elliot Hendricks:  520-471-8820

Field Trip Coord:  Carl Schnabel  826-0100

Hospitality:  Cyndee Crumly/Bette Greene

Field Trip Coord:  Carl Schnabel  826-0100

Speaker Coord:  Don Hammer 520-384-3105

Newletter:  Don Hammer         520-384-3105