Big Bend Real Estate Guide January 2022 - Page 7

Even small finds are exciting on the o6 .
Cut-agates : The agates are arguably more beautiful once they ’ ve been sawed open and polished . by Aaron Thomas These two examples are from the o6 .
found species on the Kokernot that were not previously identified in the region or that only had one or two records .
As the family wrestles with how to carry the cattle business forward in increasingly difficult times , James has found solace in soaking up the ranch ’ s wilder corners . Little pieces of it — a shaded canyon that leads to a springfed pond — have remained off limits to cattle grazing and offer glimpses of pristine habitat . “ I appreciate being able to see these special places ,” James softly noted .
He happily shares his passion for exploration and has hosted some of Texas ’ s top botanists in search of rare plants and new data for the academic canon . He has even co-authored articles published in the scientific literature .
His curiosity has driven him to learn about the geology of the land and he continues to drop in on science classes at Sul Ross . Additionally , James has hosted classes in both agrostology ( the study of grasses ) and geology on the ranch .
The Trans Pecos Magmatic Province , the geologic context in which the ranch resides , is known for producing beautiful agates in pockets here and there . Agate is a translucent to transparent microcrystalline quartz ( think : chalcedony ), imbued with stripes , colorful banding , plumes , and other variegation . It forms over millions of years in the rich quartz slurry of volcanically active regions . Volcanic activity in the Trans Pecos began during the Eocene epoch , many , many millions of years ago . Different varieties of agate are found in clusters from Terlingua to Balmorhea . Marfa is known for blue and bouquet agates . Areas near Alpine have red plume , crayon , and peanut agate , among some
of the colloquially named types . The catch is that the agates are exclusively found on private land . Some ranches have opened to the public over the years , allowing limited paid hunts , but the Kokernot o6 never branched out in that direction . Management was focused on more traditional cattle and hunting operations . “ They ’ ve stepped over the rocks for years ,” James noted . Until recently .
In 2019 , James connected with geologist Aaron Thomas , who had moved to Alpine with his family to open the Tri-Lo-Bite food truck as a reprieve from the oil patch .
Aaron had been rockhounding in West Texas for decades and cultivated a knack for mapping his way to sites rich in agates . He amassed a huge collection of cut and polished show pieces in his private rock shop , many of which can be seen on his Facebook group page Texas Rockhounds .
WestTexasMoves . com • BigBendRealEstateGuide . com 7