On a beautiful Saturday morning, April 28, 2018, several cars gathered near the Daggett Rd exit, off Fwy 40, 6 miles east of Barstow. The fieldtrip to Ord Mountain was originally scheduled at the middle of April, but due to the rain forecast it has been pushed off by 2 weeks. At 9:00AM the caravan took off on Camp Rock Rd towards Ord Mountain 12 miles away. After approx. 30-minute drive on the dirt road the cars parked near the first stop on the trip itinerary, the Brilliant claim. The weather started getting windy, but that did not deter the mineral enthusiasts.
The Brilliant claim is a part of the Ord Mountain mine complex, consisting mostly of gold, silver and copper claims (see more info on Mindat: https://www.mindat.org/loc-89177.html). This claim is famous for its great deep green malachite needles filling vugs in the rock and brilliant deep blue azurite crystals up to 1/8 inch in size. After short walk from the parking spot everybody got busy collecting on the main dump and other areas or breaking off pieces of green rock from the ledge. The area has two very deep shafts, so everybody was cautious about safety.
The participants filled their buckets with a lot of beautiful green and blue material. The minerals found were: deep green malachite, deep blue azurite, light blue chrysocolla, transparent blades of baryte. One of the participants found a specimen with lustrous black blades of hematite, not reported from the Brilliant claim before.
After a couple of hours, the trip moved to the second location, the Josephine mine adit, about a mile directly south of the Brilliant claim. The road was much rockier and bumpier than the Camp Rock Rd, so the high clearance was necessary for the vehicles. We parked near the Copper Junction adit and walked to the Josephine dump. Next, we put on our helmets and headlamps and took a tour of the adit, which is 365 feet long and intersects two copper ore veins. Some good oxidized vein material was taken out of the tunnel and broken up for the participants to share.
The material contained brilliant deep green malachite needles and some blue-green crystals of brochantite. One piece of rock with malachite also contained a small spot of azurite, reported here for the first time from the Josephine adit. There is also an occurrence of atacamite on gypsum, near the main vein, which is thought to be a post mining occurrence caused by salty water interacting with copper minerals. The atacamite balls are below one-millimeter, lighter green earthy color. In some areas it occurs as transparent deep green microscopic crystals on white gypsum, making very showy micro specimens. Also found with gypsum was chalcanthite, forming translucent light blue masses, and surprisingly resilient to the SoCal dry air. There was also a lot of good material available on the dump, including some large pieces of iridescent chalcopyrite ore. Nobody found any microscopic gold nuggets this time, although some small finds were reported during previous trips several years ago.
Around lunch time the weather was warming up a lot and the wind was getting stronger, so the participants wrapped up the finds and started heading home. At the parking spot we were reminded to respect the desert by a beautiful rattlesnake that kept it distance from the people and slowly slithered away into the bushes as the cars were leaving too.
Pictures attached were taken by some of the participants: Rudy, Bob, Reid and MarekC.