KOFA, King of Arizona Mines, A Painting Explained


This drawing was made in the King of Arizona Mines Preserve in Arizona (KOFA) about 10 miles south on hiway 95 from Quartzite, AZ.  Quartzite is the area where RV people come from all over the West to overwinter in a warm climate.  As you enter the “KOFA” area you will see on the map a road going east.  Drive in about 5 miles and you will come to a former parking area amidst the sujaroe cactus, mesquites and palo verdes (with their green trunks).  The parking area is just off the main road to the north.  Crystal Hill is on the map.  And it is the small mountain on the north side of the parking area across a wash.

The parking areas are delineated with rocks and concrete curbs but it is no longer used regularly for parking, so there are few if any people there.  A place with no people that has some great features for sketching was the best for us in those days.  We loved being away from so-called civilization.  Those that come there don’t bother you and so we were there by ourselves for many days.  There was an occasional vehicle going east but mostly nobody came there with some exceptions.

And as we explored forCrystalson Crystal Hill we became aware that the diggings we saw were either abandoned former mines now filled in or just exploratory holes which did not yield crystals.  I wonder if people who buy crystals know what kind of devastation is caused for their fleeting view of a glittering rock.

This colored pencil-ink drawing was done by climbing the hill above the Crystal Hill Parking Area to the right below.  The view is looking south east.  The hills in the far distance are the rim of a ancient caldera.

We learned about this caldera when we ran into a group of geologists having their annual family excursion.  They were touring the main entrance of KOFA further south towardYuma.  We got a little chummy and found out that some giant meteor had landed there and created the caldera many millions of years ago.  One could see large rocks, a foot or so across scattered outward from where the meteor probably fell.  The heavier rocks were closer and they got smaller and smaller as the distance grew outward from where we were viewing.  On a topo map of the area you can see that the mountains were in a ring but the center had been filled in.

The group of geologists with family passed along a interesting perspective on Geology.  My wife and I were amateur geologists and Helga almost became a geologist in college but was told that they did not take women.  We told them our story and they passed along theirs.  Their story was that they were all students together in graduate school and then all got jobs in different areas after graduation.  They were all teaching geology.  They would get together once per year for an expedition to some great geological area and then they would argue about what was the proper interpretation.

One of the guys confined the story of when they were on the Colorado River rafting they had started out scattered in different boats.  Then as their arguments got more and more heated they started moving into one boat while all the family members were left in their respective boats.  He considered this a commentary on geology in general, pointing out that with the same evidence there were often conflicting interpretations. And these guys liked to argue so much that it became impossible for the family members to tolerate their shouting from boat to boat.  So they were all forced into one boat so the families could have some peace and quiet to enjoy the places.  We thought this was funny, but could understand the situation as we were at  one time part of an academic institution with its intense undercurrents.

Colored pencil takes time and this one took an afternoon.  The color of the rocks never satisfied me.  You can see the slate like nature of the rocks in the foreground. The mineral iron makes the reddish color.


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