by Marco Marchesini

As promised, something natural after the "horror gallery". Tucson is not just mineral, fossils, gems and jewelry. Located in Southern Arizona, it has a winter climate much better than most of the US. There are classical western sites framed in a great natural environment. Among the most visited localities, we have the Saguaro National Park, the Desert Museum (which has a wide open air part), the Sebino Canyon. The Sonora desert natural sites are very beautiful and attract many visitors. The Sabino Canyon alone counts more that a million visitors each year. These "alternative" places also have a mineralogical interest, as the Desert Museum has a very interesting geological and mineralogical section with a high educational value. It certainly deserves a visit.

Typical desert landscape with giant Saguaro cacti.


A world class Wulfenite with Mimetite from San Francisco Mine with crystals over 4 cm.


One of the geology displays at the Desert Museum


Impressive Wulfenite from the famous Red Cloud Mine. Cristals around 3-4 cm.

Superb blue Smithsonite


Impressive acicular Cuprite in Calcite (left) and Native Gold (right).


This ocelot is kept in the Museum educational complex. All the main desert fauna can be seen there, including tortoises, rattlesnakes, lizards, coyotes, wolves, javelinas, hummingbirds and many others.


There are many different species of Cacti in the Desert around Tucson. The blossom can start in February or March, depending on the weather.


Some animals are kept in captivity in the Museum Park, many other can be spotted free in the area, attracted by the food and water availability.


Old Saguaro cacti in the Sebino Canyon recreational area.


Contrasting natural habitats in the canyons highly depending on the water availability. This winter has been particularly wet for a desert region.


That's all for the time being. I'll be back the main course of the reporting. Stay tuned for the Top Class specimens special.

Mineral Section Tucson Home Report