Searles Lake Gem and Mineral Society
GEM-O-RAMA
See  Flyer  for dates and times
The Mud Field Trip
Digging the Mud
 The Mud Pile                The Mud Crystals



Very large pinacoidal (basal terminated) Hanksite crystals form in limited areas of the Overburden Mud (the mud that forms the surface over 85% of Searles Dry Lake). The most desirable crystals lare in beds ten to twenty feet beneath the surface, and always beneath the static level of the brine.  Therefore, without help it would be almost impossible to collect these crystals.  Enter the SVMC crews. These guys may spend almost a week digging up 15-20 truckloads of mud for this field trip.
 
 
First, an exploration crew armed with a trackhoe scouts those areas where good crystals were found in the past.  At each location they will spend a few hours digging a trench  Here an experienced SVMC technician examines the mud crystals from a test trench to see if they are good enough for our show visitors. 


If the specimens look good, the backhoe scoops out the mud, and loads it into waiting ore trucks. Some years, the technicians have collected mud from as many as thirteen different holes! That's a lot of work on our behalf!


At the same time that the trackhoe operator is exploring for good crystals, another technician is grading a large enough field trip site to provide ample space to spread the mud and for parking for show visitors.
 

Trucks carry the mud to the collection site where it is dumped.  Each truck may make many trips over a period of two or three days, making 150-200 tons of crystal ladden mud available.  The final step is to spread the mud the afternoon before the field trip to reduce your work to find good specimens.


Go to  The Mud Pile
Go to  The Mud Crystals
Go to  Gem-O-Rama Site Map

Searles Lake Gem and Mineral Society
P. O. Box 966
Trona, CA 93592-0966
Phone (760) 372-5356

Home Page  Site Map  | Revised 04/24/2004

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