Big Bertha Mine, Quartzsite, AZ, Saturday, Jan 20, 2024

Hi mineral friends!

Mark your calendars for the next classic rockhounding location, the Big Bertha Mine near Quartzsite, AZ, on Saturday, Jan 20, 2024 (weather permitting).

We will meet at 10 AM on Saturday, the 20th, in Quartzsite, at a dirt lot across Love’s Travel Stop on Dome Rock Rd West, immediately south of Exit 17 from I-10 (Route 95 exit to Yuma). Here are the GPS coordinates: 33°39’29.8″N 114°14’29.3″W (33.6583, -114.2415).
The Google Maps link:

It’s 241 miles from Pasadena. The driving time is about 4 hours but could get worse due to construction and lane closures on I-10, so check the traffic before leaving. We will drive on asphalt for about 4 miles until we get to the pipeline road, then 2 miles on dirt roads, mostly flat and dusty. Most cars will make it without issues; no 4WD or high clearance will be necessary. There might be a few new washouts on the way, so we will need to be careful.

The mine on the hill is famous for beautiful hematite blades on quartz, many centimeters long, and if lucky, you can find gemmy red grains of rutile between the blades. Also, it is a location for tetragonal pyramids of rare zunyite, an aluminum silicate halide, in the matrix of clear-to-beige pyrophyllite, a talc relative. Generations of rockhounds have picked over the material, but it is still there. The path up to the mine and some areas at the mine are a bit steep, so be mindful when walking or climbing.

See the Mindat location for more info: However, do not rely on the location from Mindat as it is way off.

Pyrophyllitic rock at the mine.
Pyrophyllitic rock at the mine.

Please remember to renew your MSSC membership for 2024 before the trip; I’ll be checking onsite. Doing payments and paperwork in the morning will waste collecting time.

The weather forecast is not yet available for the trip date, so I’ll be on the lookout for heavy rain in case we have to reschedule. If there is no rain, the Quartzsite area is usually quite pleasant at that time of the year. After the trip, the participants might want to check out the ongoing Quartzsite rock shows like Powwow.

Hope to see you there!