SCFM Spring Symposium Fieldtrips, Mar 30-31, 2019

Our friend society, the Southern California Friends of Mineralogy, held the Spring Symposium in Apple Valley about the geology in the Victorville area. Howard Brown gave two excellent presentations on Geology, Mining, and Fluorescent Minerals at OMYA White Knob Quarry and Geology, Minerals, and Mining in the Stoddard Ridge and Sidewinder Mts area NE of Victorville.

There was a lot of great material on the silent auction table, more than 50 specimens brought by attendants and the SCFM board members, many $1 sales micro specimens, and old quarterly magazines of the San Bernardino County Museum, a great rarity with very good mineralogical content.

The trip to the OMYA White Knob mine was held on Saturday afternoon after the symposium. It’s not a frequent opportunity to get into the OMYA mine, so more than 40 people showed up. We have received a great introduction to the mining operations, machinery in use, and safety, so everybody had to wear hard hats and sturdy boots.

Up at the top of the quarry, the active mining site, we collected big cleavages of very white calcite, a couple of inches in size. One participant found a piece of very rare blue calcite, which is created by the shock wave of the blasting and fades in the daylight in a few days. Some people found wollastonite, which has yellow or orange UV fluorescence. Also present in the rocks were brown garnets, very popular with the participants, who were impatiently waiting for the SCFM president, Don Buchanan, to break up the boulder and share some pieces.

I was looking for other microminerals and found yellow layers and some brilliant balls of mottramite, which was not reported from the quarry until now.

The second stop was at the lower, bigger pad, where we saw a giant hydraulic hammer used to break up big marble boulders.

Here we saw some more color in the rocks, but the pink rhodochrosite still eluded us. Some people found small blue specks of chrysocolla, I also found a small speck containing dark green malachite needles, also not reported from the quarry so far.

The second trip was held on Sunday morning to Stoddard Ridge and Sidewinder Mts.

All in all, it was a great symposium, well worth the time!

Hope to see at the fall symposium in October,