Mineral Mondays #68 - Gem O Rama The End Of An Era

in GEMS10 months ago (edited)

mm68.jpeg

I received sad news the other day, the long running Gem & Mineral show, Gem O Rama, is permanently cancelled. Let me elaborate.

img_9875_1_.jpg

Gem O Rama was an annual mineral show in Trona, California near Death Valley. The show ran for 77 years up to 2018. Then, in 2019, a major 7.1 earthquake struck in nearby Ridgecrest which damaged many buildings in Trona as well as Searles Lake, a main feature of the show.

img_9881_1_.jpg

One of the big attractions of Gem O Rama was the ability to go out onto the dry portion of Searles Lake, the majority of it, and collect saline minerals like pink halite & hanksite.

screen_shot_2022_04_19_at_10.31.16_am.png

Once a year, over 2 days, the club in conjunction with Searles Valley Minerals hosted 3 field trips onto the lake bed to do the collecting. Each year it would attract thousands of visitors, a large portion of them being children.

img_0222_1_.jpg

The reason so many children would attend is science teachers from all over Southern California would encourage their students to go out and dig in the mud & brine for hanksite & halite. In fact, that is how I found out about it. My daughter's science teacher announced it to his class one Friday and the next morning we were in our car on othe way out. This started our life in the gem & mineral world.

img_4861.jpg

The minerals collected from Searles Lake were pretty unique. 3 of the main minerals were halite, hanksite & sulphohalite.

img_4912.jpg

Halite is rock salt, (NaCl). You can find it in many stores as "Pink Himalaya Salt". The pink halite crystals from Searles Lake were special though. They were world class and ranged from white to cranberry pink to very rare blue. They grew from a few millimeters to 7 or 8 centimeters!

img_0216.jpg

Collecting pink halite would occur on Sunday, the last day of the even. You had about 6 hours to collect as much as you could under the hot sun.

img_0222_2_.jpg

img_4926.jpg

img_0382_2_.jpg
(You can see me dig this specimen out of the lake bed in the video below)

Hanksite is a rare mineral that is both a sulfate and carbonate (Na22K(SO4)9(CO3)2Cl). One of only a few in the world. Like the halite, the hanksite crystals grew big and world class.

img_9841.jpg

2 hanksite field trips would happen on Saturdays. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both trips provided different types of hanksite, one being barrell shaped and grown in thick, black mud. The other hexogonal with pyramid terminations that grow in a brine water.

f089fa8b5b5c692a057415639d9dfa15.jpg

8a0f7ab07aede7d6cc4a12572eea5c5e.jpg

img_3400_2.jpg
(This specimen is available on my Etsy shop here)

Sulphohalite is the rarest of the minerals from Searles Lake. It is a sulfate mineral with the chemical formula (Na₆(SO₄)₂FCl). It crystalizes as octahedral, two triangles bottom to bottom. The crystals are usually small 1-2 centimeters, but can reach up to 3-4 centimeters.

b7232fbf25bc2ff91b7105978199e06d.jpg

I only ever found sulphohalite in the brine water with hanksite. Never in the black mud.

Searles Lake is one of those unique places that can produce all of these minerals. It's a sump surrounded by mountains with no ability for the water to drain anywhere. This allowed the minerals to build up in the lake to produce the wonderful combinations & shapes. Now those minerals will be locked up on the lake bed until either Searles Valley Minerals leaves or someone is able to negotiate future field trips with the company. I doubt the latter will happen though because the trips required at least 10 company employees to manage it and to dig up the hanksite crystals with grow about 10 meters below the surface. They either have to be dug up by heavy excavators or by drilling and pumping the minerals out. You can see the latter in the video below.

Here is a video I made of the last Gem O Rama in 2018.

Gem O Rama was an amazing experience and I am glad I was able to go 5 different times with my family. It's a shame though that after 77 years it has come to an end. I'll end by posting some additional pictures I took over the years.

img_9846.jpg

img_4867.jpg

img_4868.jpg

img_9851.jpg

img_9843.jpg

img_9876.jpg

img_3680_3.jpg

img_3681_2.jpg

Oh, I forgot to mention, the tourist attraction Trona Pinnacles are next to Searles Lake. You might recognize them from various movies & TV as well as Westworld Season 2 Episode 2 "Reunion".

img_9860.jpg

For more information here is the link to the Trona Gem & Mineral club.
http://www1.iwvisp.com/tronagemclub/

Sort:  

I love the pink halite that I have that you collected at Gem O Rama! That is sad that it has been canceled. I'm sure many students gained an interest in rocks and minerals because of that event.

Your content has been voted as a part of Encouragement program. Keep up the good work!

Use Ecency daily to boost your growth on platform!

Support Ecency
Vote for new Proposal
Delegate HP and earn more

You want to downvote? Ok cool.

@offgridlife here's another Russian troll throwing votes.

Yeah baby. You want to throw down. Let's do it.

I'm down. Let's brawl.

WTF are you talking about? I removed a vote from your post, that was proxied by @Informationwar, not downvote.

Calling me a Russian troll because I don't support your posts? Calling other people to downvote me because I didn't support your post? This is exactly why I unfollowed you. You've got some issues dude.

Liar...

That's not removing a vote.

And fine you want to sit there and throw votes I'll just put you on auto down vote.

You want to unfollow me find kick rocks I'll do the same.

So what are you talking about. You want to get some let's do it.

Calling me a liar now? screen_shot_2022_04_19_at_6.10.55_pm.png

Seriously, you have issues dude. Seek help.

You might want to take your own advice however you're allowed to test your assumptions at your earliest convenience.

By all means let me know and I'll schedule you in. Currently everybody that knows me knows that that's probably the biggest mistake in the world so there is no line and you can wander right up to the front.....

So yeah what were you saying?

Show the blockchain data where I downvoted you.

Suck my ass I already showed you what I had to.

You want to apologize and back up off this attitude... I might decide to let you wander off and not pursue this.

Keep running your mouth by all means... I'll start swinging back. Like I said I absolutely can automate things so that all of my accounts down vote you on everything that you do.

Let me know...

You wanted a problem you got one. You want to fight with somebody...

I'm your huckleberry.

You showed me some mobile app screen shot. I showed you actual HIVE blockchain data. You continue to threaten me and call me names. Again, exactly why I unfollowed you and removed my vote.

And by the way you calling into question the known fact of my mental status?

Highly offensive.

I'm absolutely crazy. I had 10 men try to rob me and I had edged weapons and scored a body part and 7-8 DNA samples.

So am i crazy? Yep. So crazy the mental health people back away slowly.

Since you didn't read anything I've written on the subject....

So yeah you want to brawl this out let's do it. I'm down it being blockchain only and flags. I can fight back and I ain't easy meat.

You gonna bully abuse and be offensive? Yes I've got a problem with that.

So now. You can start being respectful and negotiate your way out of this.... Or... I can go well.... I'm only half native American, so I can only go half savage on you.

Start being respectful of others and less offensive. That's some.bullshit. I'll leave my flags stand. And by all.means we can further discuss this at your earliest convenience.

Yep. Liar.

Here you are.

By all means continue running your mouth. I'll be happy to throw flags and like I said I can always put you on auto downvote.

I can also add to it my 14 Plus accounts....

So do you really want to fight about this?

Or do you just want to go kick rocks and lip off to somebody else?

img_0.15950367780733657.jpg

I just posted a screenshot of Hiveblocks which shows the actual data. Again, you've got problems dude.

Yeah absolutely you did something and then you turn around and run your mouth.

Absolutely I've got problems I've got problems with you.

So what are we going to do about it you want to continue throwing flags by all means I've got an entire box of them.

Let me know I'm standing by.

I just showed you the blockchain data after you called me a liar. Then you continue to threaten me. WTF is wrong with you dude? Seriously, seek mental help.

There's a couple more down votes and thanks for putting yourself on my radar.

Yep. Do you want to keep going?

What?? @rt395 is a longtime friend of mine @ganjafarmer

Pretty interesting that this individual would be so offensive...

Since he wanted to start it... He can manage the fallout.