RockHoundBlog

MINERAL COLLECTING ON SEARLES DRY LAKE, CALIFORNIA

Filed under: regular postings — Gary October 23, 2006 @ 9:59 pm
Hi Gary!Well if you come down next year you can always hang out with us, we work together as a team and clean up.

Feel free to post it to the Rockhoundblog. I have your MySpace on the top of The-Vug account.

Take Care,
Justin

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The operating company on Searles Dry Lake, Searles Valley Minerals, Inc. (SVMC), permits public mineral collecting at just one time each year: during the annual gem and mineral show of the Searles Lake Gem & Mineral Society. The show always begins on the second Saturday in October. This show date was chosen because it is the very best time of year to collect Searles Dry Lake minerals; the brine level is below the salt surface (necessary to collect Upper Salt minerals), the mud is dry and hard and can support the heavy equipment used to bring it to where it can be prospected for minerals, and the pink halite has formed well and not yet begun its annual winter dissolving. The weather is also cool enough to make collecting comfortable (Searles Valley can reach 118oF during a summer afternoon).
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I had a blast at the Trona show this year. The collecting trips are
always fun and they really did a fantastic job of running the event.
I don’t want to imagine how much work goes into organizing this show
but I sure do appreciate it. I look forward to going to Trona every
year and I feel like it’s some kind of pilgramige. Tell most old time
mineral collectors you are going to Trona and they will groan with a
sarcastic “oh…fun”, the implied meaning, “Been there, dug through
the mud enough for one lifetime”. I think I’ve got at least a few
more in me before I think of it like that.The mud dig was as stinky as ever. Unlike the 99% of other Trona
digs, it rained. After the long drive from Tucson I was expecting
terrible things, but it turned out great anyway. The crystals on the
very top of the pile had been pitted and damaged by the rain, but
there was an abundance of perfect large crystals in the pile. There
were more nice large crystals in the pile than last year. We had
several dozen perfect large double terminated floaters from this year
and after a day of scrubbing, they look much better!

The blow hole is my second favorite dig of the trip. Last year marked
the apperance of nice clusters of Thenardite and this year continued
that trend. I make it my goal to find as many Sulphohalites as
possible and this year the finds were excellent! Large Sulphohalites were
found scattered around, some of the largest to be seen in past
history. Some people feel lucky to find 4 or 5 of them every year,
yet every year I grab a pile of them. This year the largest
Sulphohalite crystal I
found was a large 1 and 5/8th inch, yellow in color. The surface of
some of the material on the blow hole was pitted from the rain, the
material just an inch down was unaffected and very nice! I couldn’t
believe the size of the average crystal this year. The medium sized
crystals were bigger than the largest crystals from years past and I
was shocked to find so many nice combination specimens, virtually a
Sulphohalite in association with every mineral found at the location.
Anyone else find a really fantastic specimen(s)?

The salt dig was good this year, if not for the size of the crystals
but the rich color they had this year. A small handful of large
crystals we found were almost blood red in color and most of the
puddles were rich with pleasing pink Halite. With the proper tools
and some teamwork, you can really find some attractive material out
here. I hope next year we will get bigger ledges and the same color! =)

The club show looked better than ever with a few new dealers and some
interesting items for sale. If you have never had the Trona
experience, I highly recommend it! The Trona club even has a video
about the show available. Contact them for a copy, it’s a very
interesting guide.

Great to see so many people out this weekend!
Justin
The-Vug.com

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