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Omya White Knob Quarry Trip

posted Oct 18, 2011, 3:01 PM by Hi-Desert Rockhounds
The slogan for Omya Inc. is "Making Your Life Better" and they did just that for us rockhounds on our Saturday field trip to Lucerne Valley and the White Knob Quarry, part of the Omya Mine.
 Although pure white Calcium Carbonate is the mineral Omya is mining from the limestone deposits, many other minerals can be found. Let me place a small side note in here, the Calcium Carbonate is so pure at this Omya mine that it has a Kosher Certification. Back to what we found. We found Chrysocolla, Azurite, Rodocrhosite, Garnet, Pyrite, Epidote, Magnetite and Sphalerite also. Another bonus is all the glowing fluorescent minerals hiding out in plain bright sunlight. Only after bringing our heavy buckets back to the mine office did we see what the shortwave UV lights had in store for us.
This was a combined society field trip of the Shadow Mountain Gem & Mineral Society and the Hi-Desert Rockhounds in order to fill as many hardhats as possible. We met at the Omya Mine office for our presentation, orientation and safety meeting.  Our host Howard Brown, Geologist for Omya California Inc. gave us a wonderfully informative talk on Omya the company, geology of the area, Calcium Carbonate in our everyday lives, Minerals found in the area. Mine operation and environmental reclamation including endangered species protection. The photos of Big Horn Sheep, Bears and other animals were great. After that we posed for our picture in front of the huge dump trucks, then caravanned up the mountain road to the quarry. Once in the quarry itself we parked in an area of white calcium crystal rock everywhere. Clutching our pails we hurriedly walked down into the latest site blasted for digging out by the heavy equipment. This pit was a good seventy-five feet below the level we had parked at and walking out with overfilled buckets of rock was our first lesson of quarry collecting.We sent about three hours gathering rock and minerals.
Our SUV's and trucks full with us rock-collectors tired we headed for home. I want to thank everyone who participated from both clubs and our host Howard Brown, Geologist for Omya California Inc. for making this a very enjoyable trip.

Roger & Judy