Bingham, New Mexico Field Trip
Collecting Fluorite, Galena, Barite, Brochantite

May 29th - 31st

by the Knights, Tom, Renee' & Sarah

Collecting in New Mexico is a very hot, dangerous (rattlesnakes) but rewarding thing to do!! We started out the trip by spending some time in Santa Fe, a beautiful mountain town, on Thursday and Friday morning. We then headed for Socorro on Friday afternoon. Since we had some time to spare, and being avid rock hounds, we decided to check out a place 2 miles west of Socorro where one could find fossils that was mentioned in the "Gem Trails of New Mexico" book. The book said that virtually all of the rock at the summit contained fossils. Well, we didn't find any, only thing we did find was a rattlesnake, that really made our day!!!! We hoped we would have better luck the next day in Bingham. We did.

We all met at Tom's rock shop in Bingham, he is the man who owned the Desert Rose mine dumps we were to explore. First day we had Ron & Judy Knoshaug, Bob Loeffler, Eldon Hunewell, and Moyra Lyne. Tom gave us the warnings about rattlesnakes, hundreds of them out there (he said) and all the other dangers of the area and then we were off. We followed Tom down the winding paths for roads, had cattle grazing out there, even saw a pronghorn and her fawn run across the road one day. We found that having a 4-wheeler made life much easier, especially when we got to the site, the road leading up to the very top mine dump was suited only for 4-wheel drive, so we walked up. Fortunately for everyone else, they had the right vehicles. Tom showed us several mine dump areas that we could dig. Told us all the good stuff we could find in each area, reminded us once again of all the dangers and left us to our digging.

The first day for us didn't produce much, but we didn't spend as much time there to really amount to much either. We found some good samples of Fluorite crystals, Galena and Barite just laying on top of the ground. We also found small residuals of Brochantite, not anything large. Bob turned over a large rock and found some good Fluorite crystals on the other side. Moyra found some Quartz crystals. We left around lunch time to Socorro for lunch and spent several hours going there and back. We got back late afternoon and decided to start working on the lowest dump where most everyone had started working. David & Ann Voyles had arrived that afternoon while we were gone and had started working in this area as well. Eldon had been finding some nice smaller Fluorite cubes, so we thought we would give the bottom dump a try. We did come across a vein but by this time it was getting late and decided to call it a day. Day 2 was much more productive for everyone, especially for Ron & Judy, they hit the jackpot! They found some large Fluorite cubes, made us all envious. We worked on removing a large portion of the vein we had found and recovered a lot of Fluorite crystals, small but pretty. I believe everyone there got something worthwhile to bring home. We didn't stay for the 3rd day, but heard those that did were rewarded.

In spite of the very hot heat and the dangers of rattlesnakes (we never saw one while at the dumps) this field trip was rewarding in the finds. I would suggest, if we could, to go when the weather is cooler but I know that's not always possible. It's a great place to go to find Fluorite.

Editor's Note
Tom Nelson no longer owns the Rock Shop or the Desert Rose Mine. For details about digging at the Desert Rose Mine, contact Allison or Wayne via e-mail at or via telephone at 505-423-3235 or check out their website.