The proposed plan may be read at the following web site:

But, to save you time, the following is the important part from the proposal
bout rockhounding:

Rockhound State Park was originally established as a destination for
ock collectors. At the time, in 1966, rock collecting was a popular
astime. Visitors were encouraged to visit the Park in order to collect
ocks, and were allowed to take home up to 15 pounds of rocks.

Today the Division promotes a respect for the natural environment
hrough interpretive and educational programs. Not only does rock
ollecting in a public park contradict the principle of natural resource

There is only one state park in the United States that permits rock
ollecting: Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, which has a
8-acre plowed field set aside for collecting. Nearly all municipal,
tate, and national parks prohibit the removal of natural artifacts from
parks. The practice of rock collecting at the Park would need to comply
with NMSA 1978, Section 16-2-32:

“A person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of a petty
isdemeanor and shall be sentenced in accordance with the provisions of
ection 31-19-1 NMSA 1978:

A. cut, break, injure, destroy, take or remove a tree, shrub, timber,
lant or natural object in any state park and recreation area, except in
areas designated by the secretary and permitted by regulations adopted
y the secretary, such regulations shall only permit the removal of a
ree, shrub, timber, plant or natural object for scientific study or for
non-commercial use by an individual as a souvenir, the quantity of
aterial authorized for removal from any area shall be strictly
egulated by park personnel in order to minimize resource damage.”

If the Division were to continue to allow the public to collect rocks at
the Park, the EMNRD Cabinet Secretary would designate a specific area
nd adopt rules pertaining to the collecting of rocks on Park property
such as the amount and location).

The once popular hobby of rock collecting has declined significantly
ince the 1960s. There are local businesses that cater to rock
ollectors and can guide or direct them to similar opportunities outside
of the Park. Safety is also a concern with the public collecting rocks
n the Park, as there are steep and unstable slopes that are becoming
ore hazardous as the collecting alters the stability of the hillside.
here is also a concern that some visitors may go beyond the Park
oundaries in their quest for rocks.

Park staff has already begun the transition away from rock collecting
nd will need to educate the public about the need to respect the
atural resources. One crucial step is to modify all Park information
signage, brochures, website), so that this activity is no longer
ncouraged. All materials need to state that it is a prohibited
ctivity. The namesake theme can continue through educational programs
nd interpretive information about the rocks that occur in the Park and
he geology of the region.
Revise written materials by removing all mention of rock collecting
nd add a reference to the state statute which prohibits rock collecting
on Park property.

Written and oral comments on the plan will be accepted. Comment letters
an be dropped off at the park; mailed to P.O. Box 1147, Santa Fe, NM
7505; e-mailed to or faxed to (505) 476-3361.

PLEASE, everyone reading this message, email, snail mail or fax a
ritten comment in opposition to the proposed plan to discontinue
ockhounding in Rockhound State Park. You have until April 18, 2011 to
ake comment, so please get on it today. Let's show the NMSPD personnel
that rockhounding has not declined since the 1960s and the park should
emain true to its namesake. Also, all you club members out there,
lease let everyone in your club know about this by mass email so we can
get all rockhounds throughout this country engaged in the battle to
ave yet another of our fleeting freedoms. This may be in far away New
exico now, but in your backyard tomorrow.

  • Current Mood


I go to City College of New York and needless to say there are very few courses in agriculture. I am a geology major and part of what I am interested in in the intersection between hydrogeology and agriculture. Most specifically irrigation. So I was thinking about possibly working on a farm for a summer through WWOOF or some other agency in Arizona or Nevada or somewhere where irrigation is a big thing for the summer. Would I actually learn what I need to learn by doing this?
general drivel

Take 90M years off the Proterozoic

Apparent fossils in the Ediacaran Dated at 650Ma

THE oldest known animal life on Earth has been discovered in Australia, pushing back its origins by about 90 million years, research has suggested.

Tiny fossils measuring up to a centimetre across have been identified as sea sponges that lived about 650 million years ago, indicating that they survived a global ice catastrophe known as "Snowball Earth".

The remains, found by a team led by Adam Maloof, of Princeton University in New Jersey, are the oldest convincing fossils left behind by the bodies of primitive early animals.

As well as extending the prehistory of animal life, they indicate that it must have predated the last Snowball Earth event, in which most of the planet's surface iced over about 635 million years ago. This would overturn the prevailing idea that animals first emerged after this event.

"No one was expecting that we would find animals that lived before the (Snowball Earth) ice age," Dr Maloof said. "Since animals probably did not evolve twice, we are suddenly confronted with the question of how some relative of these reef-dwelling animals survived the Snowball Earth."

Before the new discovery, from the Trezona Formation of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, the oldest firm evidence for fossilised animal life came from a creature called Namacalathus, which lived about 550 million years ago. There is more controversial evidence for older fossils that are up to 572 million years old.

DNA evidence from sponges, however, has suggested that their origins predate this, and fats that appear to have been secreted by sponges have been dated to rocks from Oman from the same period as the Australian fossils. "There are now three separate lines of evidence for sponges before this Snowball Earth event," said Marc Laflamme, of Yale University.

Dr Maloof's team made the discovery by chance while studying rocks from the Snowball Earth episode known as the Marinoan glaciation. The research is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"We were accustomed to finding rocks with embedded mud chips, and at first this is what we thought we were seeing," Dr Maloof said. "But then we noticed these repeated shapes that we were finding everywhere - wishbones, rings, perforated slabs and anvils. We realised we had stumbled upon some sort of organism."

The fossils were impossible to remove from their surrounding rock. To analyse them, digital models of them had to be created by a company in New York. The scientists shaved off 50 microns of rock at a time, and photographed each new face. The pictures were then digitally combined to make three-dimensional images.