January 18 Virtual Program Meeting Explores Crystals

Pictured above: Actinolite, Quartz point, Axinite. Can you identify the other four?
Photo credit: PLS member Elizabeth Weston

Our Tuesday, January 18, 2022 Program Meeting will be held via Zoom. PLS member David Lacy will provide the evening’s presentation as an overview of Crystals and Crystal Forms.  We will look at the differences between geometrical (ideal) crystal forms and some of the crystal habits in nature, where geometric forms meet the real world.  We will check on just what are the characteristics of a crystal, what is a crystal habit, symmetry in crystals, and the seven crystal systems met in nature.  Some mineral specimens will be visually shared to demonstrate real-world crystal habits. Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. If you’d like to join us, write marcia.pls.emails [at] gmail [dot] com to request a Zoom link.

DIY ‘Field Trip’ to… Quartzsite, AZ!

QIA PowWow photo credit by Sue Peng

For the month of January, many members of Pasadena Lapidary Society join the ranks of rockhounds and lapidarists across the nation – and beyond – in an annual sojourn to our ‘mecca’ of rocks – Quartzsite, Arizona. While this isn’t a fieldtrip that requires a rock hammer, shovel or other tools, it’s a great opportunity to see what wonderful gems and minerals exist in our world – all in one place. There are several gem and mineral shows which are held between December and late February in this town, which swells to over a million visitors in the month of January from a paltry 3,714 +/- residents the rest of the year. One of our favorite shows to check out is the QIA Pow Wow, which takes place this year from January 19 – 23, 2022, with free admission and free parking and way more than a day’s worth of treasures to see. It’s like a giant open air swap meet held under the beautiful blue sky with giant puffy white clouds floating overhead – which sometimes open up with a quick light rain or a heavy shower – then dissipates as quickly as it starts. Quartzsite is just 18 miles east of the California border, along Interstate 10. One can make it a full day trip, or if you’re able to secure lodging in Quartzsite or Blythe, CA, turn your visit into more than one day so you can visit the other shows taking place as well, such as Tyson Wells or Desert Gardens. If you prefer to take an RV and camp, there’s plenty of open space just on the outskirts of town. How to get there? Take I-10 East until you get to Quartzsite, about a four hour drive from Pasadena when traffic isn’t bad. We often make a quick stop at Chiriaco Summit either on the way to or from AZ, where one can fuel up and stop for a bite or snacks.

The Tunnel to Nowhere

December’s educational field trip will be at 8AM on Saturday, December 18th to Shoemaker Canyon Road above Azusa.  We’ll be visiting the Tunnels to Nowhere, which were hewn out of solid granite in 1969.  These tunnels were built to provide an escape route out of LA in case of nuclear attack.  Now they sit vacant; a lone sentinel to times forgotten. 

This trip is suitable for any passenger car and is 31 miles from Pasadena.  The walk to tunnel is 2 miles with an elevation gain of 700 feet.   We’ll be on the lookout for various ores and minerals, but this is more an educational/nature walk rather than a collecting trip.  For more details, please contact Rex at rexch8@yahoo.com 

Baxter Wash Rockfishing Report

   

Unlike fishing, the good thing about rock hounding is you pretty much never get skunked.   Here’s my fishing-for-rock report from the Thanksgiving 2021 weekend field trip to Baxter Wash, near Baker, CA. 

Weather:  Light winds, temperatures 75/40

Sea (Road) Conditions:  heavy sand 12” deep or more.  4wd definitely required

Anglers (Rock hounds):   13

Species caught (rocks found)

          Angel wing agate

Green angel wing agate

          Lace agate

Top Notch agate

          Blue agate nodules

This nodule is about the size of a baseball!

          Sagenite

There’s better sagenite where this came from but you gotta’ dig for it!

          Amydules and chalcedony extrusions

Morning sunlight on chalcedony extrusion

          Marble and green/purple fluorite

Emerald Green Fluorite (photo by Gabe Morley)

Entertainment value:  limits for all

Kids and campfires

Cost-free

If I don’t see you in December, be sure to join PLS for the upcoming 2022 field trip season!

‘til next time,

Rex

Thanksgiving Weekend Trip to the Cady Mountains

Seam agate

PLS will be rocking in the Cady Mountains at the end of the month. This 3 day trip will begin Friday at noon on November 26 and finish on Sunday, November 28 at 11 AM. We’ll be searching for agates, jaspers, and fluorite. Though you can make it to base camp with high clearance 2wd, 4wd is required for the rockhounding part of this trip.

Must RSVP to field trip leader, Rex, at rexch8@yahoo.com with the subject line “Cady Mountain field trip.”

Tuesday, Nov. 16 Virtual Program Meeting Explores the Chixculub Impact Event with Paolo Sanchez; 7:00 p.m.

Pasadena Lapidary Society’s very own future geologist/geophysicist, Paolo Sanchez, will present “Traces of Extinction: The Search for Rocks and Minerals at Chixculub” for our November program meeting. For those wondering what the heck ‘Chixculub Impact Event’ is, think meteor meets dinosaurs. Paolo will present his current ongoing research examining tektites derived from Chixculub and what their respective chemistries tell us about the minerals and lithologies associated with the impact event, with the potential of understanding the lithology of the meteor itself.

Earlier this year, Paolo was awarded the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies’ (CFMS) Robert O. Deidrich Memorial Fund Scholarship for school year 2020-21. He’s been studying geosciences at UC Berkeley, working his way up to a PhD and possibly obtaining a career as a professional researcher.

There will be no Rock of the Month discussion for this meeting.

The Tuesday, Nov. 16 program meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. To join us, send an email to (new email address!)… marcia.pls.emails[at]gmail.com in advance, using ‘PROGRAM MEETING’ in subject line, and request the Zoom meeting link. We’re looking forward to seeing Paolo – and hope to see you virtually as well!

Time to Go to the Sierra Pelona Travertine Claim

Whether it’s planting a new tree for the garden or extracting a boulder while mining, there’s something satisfying about digging and rocks.  No, I’m not talking about hard rock mining, for that is pure torture.  I’m talking about the Sierra Pelona claim out in North Edwards, CA, a renowned location for prize winning travertine onyx.  The only difference is that while rocks are the bane of any happy garden, the goal at the Sierra Pelona is using a pry bar to make that rock wiggle and finally extracting it in triumph.

Though hundreds of clubs and rockhounds have visited the claim over the years, this location still produces hundreds of pounds of quality travertine onyx. 

On our last visit October 30th, we were able to excavate one hundred pounds of travertine in about 2 hours.  That’s a pretty good haul for any rockhound and the colors were spectacular.  I hadn’t seen the greens that color in a few years, but it looks like the seam is into a green band right now.  Greens, reds, and even blue bands of agate make beautiful spheres or cabochons. 

The claim is open to rockhounds everywhere and though access is fairly straightforward, you’ll need a high clearance vehicle.  This is a great trip for an experienced miner or just a weekend warrior who wants to get out and smell the dirt.

The weather is cool and it’s time to get out your picks and shovels and go rockhounding.   No one knows when the green banding will run out again, so plan your next trip with your local rockclub to collect this beautiful material.

‘til next time,

Rex

Sat., Oct. 30 Field Trip to North Edwards, 7 a.m.

Our October field trip will be to Brown/Castle Butte, the Sierra Pelona travertine claim, and the Rio Tinto/U.S. Borax visitor center in Boron. This area is known for a variety of minerals, and we hope to find agate, bloodstone, travertine onyx, ulexite (“TV rock”), kernite, and petrified wood.

High clearance truck or SUV is recommended. For more info, please contact rexch8@yahoo.com with the subject line “North Edwards field trip”.

Tuesday, Oct. 19 Virtual Program Meeting Focuses on Urban Rockhounding in Tucson; 7:00 p.m.

Among some of our favorite rockhound travel guides are Dick and Mary Pat Weber. For the Tuesday, October 19 presentation, Mary Pat will take us on a Practical Guide to Urban Rockhounding in Tucson.

In a few months dealers, buyers, and collectors will gather together for the largest rockhound  event in the world.  You will find great bargains relating to all aspects of our hobby offered by vendors from all corners of the globe.  If you can’t find it in Tucson, it probably doesn’t exist anywhere.  According to Mary Pat, you will run out of money long before you cross off all the items on your wish list.

With over forty shows from which to choose, it can be a bit confusing for the first-timer.  Mary Pat will offer practical advice for navigating though the “Tucson experience” to make it both efficient and fun.  This program is jammed packed with photo highlights of the biggest club show in the world, including specimens from world class museums such as the Smithsonian and other private collections. If you’ve been thinking about visiting Tucson for the rockhound shows but have yet to, here’s a chance to see what they’re all about.

PLS member Mona Ross will provide October’s Rock of the Month talk on one of the world’s rarest gemstones, Grandidierite.

The Tuesday, Oct. 19 program meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. To join us, send an email to joenmar1[at]verizon.net in advance, using ‘PROGRAM MEETING’ in subject line, and request the Zoom meeting link. Hope to “see” you there!

UPDATED INFO: Stoddard Wells Rockhound Tailgate Show and Field Trip for Tri-Color Marble

9:00 AM, Saturday, September 25, 2021

On Saturday, September 25, 2021 , we’ll be headed to Stoddard Wells, CA, near Apple Valley. This outdoor rock show, which runs Sept. 24-26, is sponsored by the Victor Valley Gem and Mineral Club. It’s the 45th Annual Stoddard Wells Rockhound Tailgate. Hours: 9 AM  – 5 PM daily.

Free event, everyone is welcome! FREE Vendor Spaces, dry camping, restrooms available. First come, first served. All donations welcomed. Handcrafted jewelry, cabs, slabs, rough, and more. Breakfast and lunch available. NO saving spaces or competing with VVGMS’s fundraising activities – i.e. food, drinks, grab bags, spin the wheel or auctions. Rain or Shine!! For the show itself, it’s especially important to follow “Tailgate” signs to the show site, as the meetup location for the fieldtrip is 1/2 mile away.

Saturday field trip 9:30 – 11:30 AM is slated to target tri-color marble. Meet at Tailgate location per map and instructions below at 8:45 am. 4WD is required.
Must RSVP to field trip leader, Rex, at rexch8@yahoo.com with the subject line “Tailgate field trip.”

Tri-Color Marble photos above courtesy of PLS member Rex N.

Directions:

From I—15 Northbound towards Barstow:
Hwy 15 North THRU Victorville! EXIT at 2nd Stoddard Wells Rd at BELL Mtn. (EXIT # 157). Turn Left/East at Ramp STOP sign. STAY on Stoddard Wells Road 4 mi. until next STOP sign at Dale Evans Pkwy. Observe “Tailgate” signs high on NW corner power pole. Check Odometer here! Continue Straight on Stoddard Wells Rd. 7 miles to “Tailgate”.  Road becomes a graded dirt road about 4/10 mi. from the Dale Evans Pkwy intersection. Proceed East/NE past “Grange” fork to “Tailgate” site. Cars & RVs can make it w/ease & care; go slow and watch out for potholes. Please look for “Tailgate” signs along route. Need clarification? Visit https://vvgmc.org/tailgate.html

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Pasadena,+CA+91101/VVGMC+Tailgate,+Apple+Valley,+CA+92307/@34.3692906,-117.7497546,86720m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x80c2c368f3ae0b77:0x12747768f808aadb!2m2!1d-118.1386005!2d34.1427587!1m5!1m1!1s0x80c483099e171ffd:0x8f0470b903f30488!2m2!1d-117.1100043!2d34.6704078!3e0