HISTORICAL INTERESTS
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Historical Interests title



          This page is dedicated to presenting a series of papers and discussions my brother and I have written which we hope will be of interest to our readers. Currently, it begins with a brief synopsis of the general geology of the Woodward Ranch and Needle Peak areas which would be of prime interest to many rockhounds. Our discussion and interpretation of the development of an opal-onyx-agate slab, a Texas-size Lone Star cut Topaz, a true Mexican Wolf (Lobo), plus a visit to an ancient Ice Age human campsite is unique.

          I have other papers in the works which will discuss more on the origin of agates and local history of this Big Bend area of Texas. Please tell me what you think of these pages. Any questions? Our roots are in the Big Bend. I have a degree in geology and I will be happy to answer any questions as best I can. We hope you enjoy your visit and come back soon.

Tommy R. Woodward

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          1. Even though there have been several separately identified volcanic extrusions in the southern Davis Mountains area of West Texas, there is only one formation which is the true source of the famous WOODWARD RANCH red plume agates: however, other flows also have unique types of agates. In addition to red plumes, there can be found black and yellow plumes, carnelian agates, banded agates, moss agates, and jaspers. Another unique lava flow produces gem quality Labradorites. Please click here for a brief geological description of the WOODWARD RANCH area.

          2. The famous and beautiful Pom-pom agates are found in the NEEDLE PEAK area of the Big Bend of Texas and adjoining the Big Bend National Park boundary. NEEDLE PEAK and its general surrounding consists of a complicated series of lava flows, ash deposits, and ash flows which were extruded from volcanoes in ages past. Later, Cretaceous lakes covered the area. These lake waters, percolated downward through the lavas, ashes, and clay formations supplying the silica and aragonite material which formed the Pom-pom agates. Please click here for a brief geological description of the NEEDLE PEAK area of the Big Bend.

          3. A beautiful FACETED DEEP BLUE TOPAZ will take the breath away from the most discerning viewer but "you ain't seen nuthin' yet folks"...This is a "must-see-to-believe"; a FACETED BLUE TOPAZ cut in the Lone Star of Texas style. The faceted gemstone weighs 51 carats and has now been placed in an 18 Karat gold mounting. Please click here for more information on the history and description of this beautiful TEXAS-SIZE TOPAZ gemstone.

          4. OPAL is described as a silicon dioxide with a high content of water. This is why, when left out to dry in the sunlight, opal will tend to get brittle and crack easily. When a crack or vein in a rock is being filled with this siliceous material each change in the movement of water can be recognized. Please click here for an interesting and more detailed description of a specific slab of an OPAL-ONYX-AGATE silica emplacement in a BRAZILIAN AGATE rock cavity.

          5. Did you know that there are numerous URANIUM deposits located in South Texas? If so, did you ever wonder where the original source of this uranium first existed? How in the world did it ever get deposited into the geological formations of South Texas, Southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and as far away as Northern Florida? Well, just have a seat and this old timer will tell you a little story about the wildest "RIDE" anyone could ever imagine.

          6. The mysterious MARFA LIGHTS have always been a mystery to the people in and around the Alpine - Marfa area. They have simply been accepted as a natural phenomenon of Mother Nature. This article introduces my latest thoughts for a logical solution to the source and cause of the MARFA LIGHTS Revisited

          7. Within the vast arid desert region of the Big Bend National Park of Texas there lies a graveyard. Not just any graveyard, but one that is huge - and very old. I call it a CRETACEOUS GRAVEYARD. Whet your interest? Sure hope so.

          8. THE MEXICAN GRAY WOLF is the rarest, southernmost and most genetically distinct sub-species of the Gray Wolf in North America. Until recent times, the Mexican Wolf ranged the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts from central Mexico to western Texas, southern New Mexico and Central Arizona. In 1976, the Mexican Gray Wolf was declared an endangered species. These animals are quite capably of killing a large calf or yearling. As a matter of fact - that was their preferred daily kill. Learn more here about the MEXICAN GRAY WOLF in the Big Bend country, sometimes called.... El Lobo.

          9. A very interesting highlight of Frances and J. Frank Woodward, Sr., during their rock selling days was when they were principals in founding the Rollin’ Rock Club. Frank had been a member-at-large director for the State Mineral Societes of Texas (S.M.S.T.) since 1945. In 1955 it was voted to abolish this type of membership; meaning, many members would again be ineligible for state membership. CLICK HERE for a more fully detailed story about the origin of the Rollin' Rock Club of Texas as related by J. Frank Woodward II (now deceased), who was one of the original charter member.

          10. METATES (Indian grinding stones) are a common occurrence in this part of the Southwestern United States, including the Big Bend of Texas area. In recent years many Early Man sites have been documented by various methods of the existence of ancient people living here several thousands of years ago. Among these age-dating evidences are:

(1) fire pits and their ashes,

(2) faunal spores found in the diggings,

(3) arrowheads and spear points, and of course

(4) burial site excavations.

          This Ash Creek metate site is unique in that none of the above methods can be applied. These metates can be dated from 5000 - 12,000 years before present (YBP) because they have only been exposed in the last 50 - 120 years by the removal of stream terrace deposits of the last depositional substage of the glacial age (Ice Age). You can read more here to learn about the ASH CREEK METATE SITE.

          11. GLACIATION? In southern New Mexico? South of Cloudcroft? Normally, geologic discussions and papers relating to glaciation in New Mexico are almost exclusively confined to the mountains closer to the Colorado border, but the southern slopes of the Sacramento Mountains in Otero County show all the indications of having been subjected to glaciation during, at least, the Pleistocene Age (probably within the last 10-12,000 year). Are you interested in reading about this, and possibly making a visit to Timberon to see for yourself? The geology is there. It remains to be adequately interpreted. Read a more complete report and further discussion here on the GLACIATION paper.

          12. This is about a real CATTLE ROUNDUP which took place when the author was about 12 years old. It isn't really all that exciting as seen in the movies, except to a young cowboy aspiring to do his part rounding up and herding cattle to market. I hope you enjoy reading about the ROUNDUP. It was certainly an experience I will never forget.




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