How to Dig lithophysae:
Diagram of digging scheme for mining thundereggsIn known deposits with large, old holes, find the largest one and plan to spend a day or two digging an area about 4x6 feet wide with a shovel straight down.  When the bottom of your hole is clean to virgin ground, the character of the deposit can be "read."
For example, the bands of strata can reveal a direction to dig.  Likewise, sockets from which the last nodules were removed can also often indicate a good direction in which to dig.

If you are serious about mining lithophysae, you will need a wheelbarrow and more time-- so that you can dig an entrance from a low place, and make a level ramp for removing old tailings and enlarging the hole.  A sheet of "flashing" sheet metal can be purchased from any building supply store.  A piece about 3x4 feet, placed at the bottom of the leveled hole for tailings to fall on, makes shoveling very easy.  As you dig the eggs out, the accumulating debris can be shoveled off the tin sheet into the wheelbarrow and hauled out.
Mark specimen before removal from an unfamiliar deposit
When the first lithophysae is found still embedded in the surrounding perlite, do not dig it all the way out.  Remove enough material from it so as to be able to mark it with a black felt marker from the top down the side:  This will enable you to determine the best cutting orientation for sawing all the eggs you may find.

Star thunderegg, Little Florida Mountains, Deming, New Mexico

The most common mistake in digging lithophysae is made by those who dig the sides of their holes down and expect to have a sack-full before dinner.  This is why so many deposits are rumored to be "dug out" when, for the persistent, industrious soul, a treasure likely awaits.

Locations from as many 40 deposits will be found in my brand new book,
The Formation of Thundereggs.

Home-page of the Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum
What Are Thundereggs (Lithophysae)?
Where To Find Thundereggs (Lithophysae)
How To Determine Proper Orientation for Successful Cutting
The Collection of the Geode Kid
Baker Thunderegg Basics
Where To Find the Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum and Rockshop

You can e-mail us at

Phone (575) 546-4021

You can snail-mail us at
Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum
6235 Stirrup Road SE
Deming, New Mexico   88030

For more information,
please refer to my book, The Formation of Thundereggs
by Robert Colburn, aka "Paul, the Geode Kid."

This web page was created for the Geode Kid by Carlton J Donaghe and Bill Boomhower

All contents copyright © 1997 Robert Colburn.  All rights reserved.