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Salton Sea, January 3, 2012

posted Jan 17, 2012, 5:56 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety   [ updated Jan 17, 2012, 10:00 PM ]

Tuesday, January 3, I'm up too early for any sane retired person except for a rockhound. Golfers don't even leave the house this early in the morning. Part of the reason is the hour and a half drive to reach the T/A truck stop before seven. The other reasons are Mud Volcanoes, Pumice for the club bags, Obsidian for the yard and another field trip with the Shadow Mountain Gem & Mineral Society. Not that watching the sunrise over the desert is ever unattractive.

After an enjoyable ride south along the Salton Sea and a right turn at Davis Road we come to our first stop, the Mud Pots. A little bit of earth sciences with a great view of geothermal power plants producing electricity. And who hasn't wanted to have a Mud Volcano burp grey mud on them.

Not to far away is our second stop, the Red Hill Marina. Like I said before, the club needed pumice for those cute little rock bags we sell at the Riverside County Fair starting again next month. And this is the place, wasn't hard to locate the pumice, we were standing on it. As a good club member, I collected a full five gallon bucket needed or not. Then it was time for a little selfish rock-hunting. The yard could use a few good sized chunks of Obsidian. However, the best obsidian is only found at the top of this large hill. This is actually good news, for in real rockhounding you are usually expected to find what you're collecting in a deep gully on the other side of the hill and therefore have to carry the heavy pail of rock uphill some greater distance.

As if a rewarded for my good behavior, Barbara led the way to the Bertram Siding. This is a place I've personally wanted to go to for years. Funny, most all the people who lived in the town of Bertram seem to have been long gone for years. Never mind them, they left the Mine just where it was. I've hunted through old topo maps, dragged the aerial landscapes of Google Maps and starred in wonder at the dynamic interactive mapping of GeoCommunicator all because I read about this place in the 1966 Western Gem Hunters Atlas. Glauberite Crystals here I am. We all had great fun digging in the soft waste dumps of the old mine. What a wonderful field trip.

Submitted by Roger Thompson