Catron County, New Mexico

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If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all (especially other human beings), Catron County might be a good choice. It’s the largest county in New Mexico by area, and the third least populated, with a population of 3,579 in the 2020 census (down about 150 from 2010). However the elk population is about 12,000 ….

There’s a lot of wide-open space, about 2 square miles per person.  According to the county website, there are no stoplights in the whole county. Originally it constituted the western half of Socorro County, but it was made a separate county in 1921. Like other counties in this part of New Mexico, the gold rush of the 1800’s brought many prospectors, followed by the railroads. It's remoteness made it popular for outlaws of the late 1800's including Billy the Kid.

The geology of Sierra County is similar to that of adjacent Socorro, Dona Ana, and Grant counties. Like much of New Mexico, Sierra County geology reflects a long geologic history of sedimentation in a stable area of the continent (known as the craton), subsequently buried and turned into rock, then modified by tectonism that resulted in magmatic events (intrusion of magma, volcanic eruptions, and mineralization of host rocks), uplift, folding and faulting. These events stretched from what is now Mexico up to Montana producing what are termed porphyry deposits, rich in gold, copper and other valuable mineral resources. Since Catron County is located at a distance from the Rio Grande rift, it has fewer deposits related to recent volcanism.

Taos Rockers has some lovely "wood tin" (cassiterite) from Catron County; there's a reference to the site on (click HERE).

Minerals of Catron County

These are all the minerals reported from credible sources. Please note that many of these minerals exist as fine-grained, minor constituents of rocks, not in collectible large crystals.

Mogollon district - Acanthite, adularia, amethyst, andesine, argentite, augite, azurite, bornite, bromargyrite, calcite, chalcocite, chalcedony, chalcopyrite, chlorargyrite, chlorite, chrysocolla, clinoclase, covellite, cuprite, epidote, fluorite, galena, gold, greenockite, halloysite, hematite, jasper, kaolinite, labradorite, limonite, malachite, mckinstryite, muscovite, oligoclase, olivine, psilomelane, pyrargyrite, pyrite, pyrolusite, quartz, rhodochrosite, silver, sphalerite, sternbergite, stromeyerite, tellurium, tetrahedrite

Quemado Salt district - Barite, halite, mirabilite

*Taylor Creek district - Andradite, biotite, bixbyite, calcite, cassiterite, chalcedony, cristobalite, fluorite, hematite, ilmenite, kaolinite, magnetite, opal, quartz, titanite, topaz, tridymite

Wilcox district - Argentite, bismuthinite, emmonsite, fluorite, gold, gypsum, khademite, lannonite, limonite, macakayite, malachite, poughite, pyrite, quartz, rajite, tellurite, tellurium, tellurobismuthite, tetradymite, wilcoxite

Datil area - Carnotite, iddingsite, tyuyamunite

Old Horse Springs - Andradite, chalcedony, diopside, forsterite, hematite, magnesioferrite, montmorillonite, olivine, phlogopite, pseudobrookite, quartz, spinel, titanite

Reserve area - Actinolite, alunogen, chabazite, chalcedony, saponite

Middle Fork Gila River - Heulandite, chabazite