Approximately 30 people braved the cold winds recently for the latest Young Explorers adventure.
Students and parents hiked to the vicinity of old mining towns Carthage and Tokay to check out cretaceous sedimentary rocks.
Peter Scholle, the state geologist, and geologists Dana Ulmer-Scholle and Peter Mozely taught the group about numerous fossils they found on the hike, including inoceramus, a clam which grew to almost six feet in diameter.
Students also learned they were standing at the bottom of an ancient, shallow sea.
They climbed the steep ridge to the “shore” and discovered a petrified forest. The geologists explained how petrified wood was created.
The group also received historical lessons by two brothers who grew up in the area, Louis and Jose Saavedra.
As the group explored ruins of old houses and buildings, the Saavedra brothers shared facts, stories and old pictures of the mining communities.
Mining began in the mid-19th century and lasted almost 100 years. Hundreds of miners and their families lived in Carthage and Tokay, and competed with Socorro, San Antonio and other communities in baseball games.
Carthage had a small school, a general store and a church, along with a railroad spur.
Carthage coal was described as being of excellent quality.
The Young Explorers recently ventured north to the American Indian ruins of San Acacia. Anyone interested in participating or helping out should contact Cottonwood Valley Charter School at 838-2026.