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May-June 2016

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Grand Opening of the New Mineral Museum at New Mexico Tech University, Socorro, New Mexico, 10 November 2015

Socorro, New Mexico, is a gem of a small college town nestled on the banks of the Rio Grande about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Albuquerque (fig. 4).

Socorro lies on the eastern fringe of the Datil-Mogollon Volcanic Field with Socorro Peak (aka “M” Mountain) (fig. 1) towering above the town and the campus of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, better known as New Mexico Tech (NMT). Socorro is the gateway to the Plains of San Augustin with its otherworldly Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope and the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge with its thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese. Socorro is also infamous for the Zamora UFO sighting and the Elfego Baca Shoot, one of the world's more bizarre golf tournaments (look it up). For mineral collectors, Socorro is known as the closest major town to the Magdalena and Hansonburg mining districts, famous for blue smithsonite, and fluorite and linarite, respectively. Perhaps more importantly, however, each November Socorro hosts the New Mexico Mineral Symposium, which celebrates its thirty-seventh year in 2016. The symposium blends solid scientific and collecting content with a laid-back commercial aspect and multiple opportunities to sample New Mexico's famed hospitality and green chile.

Dr. Peter K. M. Megaw, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a well-known geologist, mineral collector, author, and longtime exhibits chair for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®.

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