Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Desert Pirate's Booty

There's lots of black obsidian there, although much of it is mixed with rhyolite and other igneous material. The yellow and reddish rocks below the black obsidian includes some rare pumpkin obsidian. A couple of the black pieces have traces of snowflake obsidian. We'll go back later for more of the flat sedimentary rock for landscaping in Idaho and Oregon.

Rockhounding in the Southern Idaho Desert 4

To get back to the Twin I headed up Road 500 into the South Hills. Some very welcome rain washed off several pounds of road dust.

Rockhounding in the Southern Idaho Desert 3

Day 2 of rockhounding led me to the Shoshone Basin, south of Twin Falls and east of Hwy 93. Most backroads are unmarked, so I ended up way to the south than I intended. Thanks to my excellent sense of direction, spotty cell phone reception, and built in compass in the Subaru Outback, I got back on track. The haul in rocks was excellent!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rockhounding in the Southern Idaho Desert 2

More photos of the southern Idaho desert. The last 2 are at and on the way to Norton Bay at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. The first 2 are on the Rabbit Springs road which leaves Hwy 93 just north of the ID-NV border and rejoins in "downtown" Jackpot, NV. I found most of my new rock collection on the Norton Bay road.

Rockhounding in the Southern Idaho Desert 1

Off Hwy 93, about 8 miles north of the ID-NV border is a gravel/dirt road to Norton Bay at the south end of Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. About half way there I took a more primitive dirt road spur up to some low hills for some rockhounding. A wash (dry stream bed) there was a great source of interesting rocks, including obsidian, and wildlife. I looked and looked for snakes but didn't see or hear a single one.

Check out the animal below. It turned out to be a Greater Short-Horned Lizard. When I first saw it I thought it was a snake head without a body! I threw a couple pebbles at it. Nothing. So then I poked it a couple times with a long, pointed rock. No reaction. I flipped it over a couple times, but it stayed there, unmoving. Their defense mechanism is to puff up and stay still. That's what it was doing - determined to wait patiently next to the wash, anticipating the next big thunderstorm and flash flood.