4:00 PM16:00

Beach Bonfire

Join us on Nov. 17th for a beach bonfire hosted by CSUN's American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) club. CSUN's Geology club and the Geology/AAPG clubs of CSULB and USC will be going. 

The bonfire will be at Dockweiler Beach at 4pm. This is a great opportunity to meet geology/earth science majors from other schools!


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9:00 AM09:00

Explore Your Universe at UCLA

BGS will be hosting the rock and mineral room at Explore Your Universe this year! Explore Your Universe (EYU) is a science outreach day that includes demos and hand-on science experiments for all ages. Its a really fun event and is a great way to give back to the community by inspiring young scientists. In the next few weeks we will be looking for volunteers for our station. Email BGS if you are interested!

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to Oct 15


Bruin Geological Survey will be going on its first trip of the year next weekend (10/14-10/15) to Searles Lake in Trona, CA for the 76th annual Gem-o-Rama mineral hunting extravaganza. Once a year, the Searles Valley Minerals mining company opens up its grounds to the public to collect minerals such as hanksite, sulfohalite, borax, and pink halite from under a briney crust. Hanksite is a rare mineral only found in two places in the world, Trona, CA and Lake Katwe in Uganda, Africa. 

We will be leaving Friday evening to avoid traffic and returning on Sunday afternoon. We plan to camp about 15 minutes away from Trona. 


Saturday at 7:30am Mud Field Trip

Minerals to be found: cluster and barrel hanksite, trona, borax


Saturday at 2:30pm Blow Hole Field Trip

Minerals to be found: hanksite, halite, borax, sulfohalite - dry surface


Sunday at 9am Pink Halite Field Trip


Check out the event website:


For a more in-depth explanation:


What to bring for prospecting:

(All of these things can be purchased at Gem-o-Rama for reasonable prices or I can go on a run to Home Depot)

  • small gardening hand rake
  • brine to wash crystals (bought at their store, but we do need empty milk jugs)
  • gloves
  • bucket to hold specimens
  • carpet square to kneel or sit on
  • rock hammer
  • shovel

What to bring for camping:

  • tent
  • sleepingbag
  • jugs of water
  • clothes that can get dirty
  • warm clothes (in case it gets cold at night)
  • hat
  • sunscreen

Transportation: to be arranged

Cost: ~$40, TBD

If you need gear, the Wooden Center rents tents, sleeping bags, and anything you might need. You are also welcome to borrow gear from me.

Please let us know if you are interested by emailing BGS!

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6:00 PM18:00

General Meeting/General Election

Bruin Geological Survey will have its first meeting of the year this Thursday (10/5) at 6pm in the Geology Common Room (3680). Come learn about the exciting event we have planned for this quarter such as:

- Gem-o-rama: A gem and mineral hunting extravaganza overnight trip (10/14-10/15)
- Cassini at Saturn Presentation: Dinner social and lecture (10/26)
- Explore Your Universe (11/5)
- Mineral Sales
- Day hikes around Southern California

Snacks will be provided
Hope to see you there!

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to Mar 21

Weekend on Catalina Island

The Bruin Geological Survey will be spending the second weekend of spring break on Catalina Island. Catalina is a wonderful place to spend time on the beach, see unique wildlife (both in and out of the water), and most importantly see some cool schist! Catalina Schist that is... The island is another puzzle piece in the complex geological history of southern California. However this puzzle piece has a whole story of its own.

We will be staying the weekend at USC's Wrigley Marine Science Center at Two Harbors. The center has their own boat that will give us a ride to and from the island, leaving out of San Pedro, Los Angeles.

A four bedroom cottage and a two bedroom apartment will make up our accommodations for the weekend. The apartment comes with a full kitchen and outdoor barbecue area, so we are planning on bringing our own food to the island and cooking ourselves.

Our plan while we are at the island is to get a clear picture of how the island fits into the greater geological history of southern California. We plan on accomplishing this in a number of fun and interesting ways. This part of Catalina Island has miles of hiking trails, which will take the eager geologist past many well exposed outcrops. You can also take the marine approach, and kayak up to the cliffs that line the island's shores. We can even explore the rocks beneath the surface with a snorkel mask and some fins. We will have three full days on the island, so there will be time to explore the area on your own as well.

This trip will be the second weekend of spring break. The specific dates are Friday March 25 - Monday March 28. We will depart from San Pedro Harbor at 8 a.m.on Friday morning, and will be departing from the island at 3:30 p.m. the following Monday. We are returning on Monday because the Marine Center's boats do not run on the weekends. There is an option to take a boat back from Two Harbors on Sunday at 2 p.m., but this will cost extra, and it does not return you to the same terminal we will be leaving from on Friday.

There are only a limited number of spots available for this trip- we currently have 13 available spots. If you would like to join us on this weekend, then please email us ASAP. We will be requiring a $75 deposit by March 1. This will ensure your spot on the trip, and will be sent to the Marine Center as part of our group deposit. The overall cost of the trip will be roughly $150. This price will vary depending on how many people sign up, what activities we want to do on the island, and how much food we want to bring. The deposit will cover $75 of the total cost.

RSVP to to save your spot today and feel free to email us if you have any questions.

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to Feb 14

Death Valley Overnight Trip

  • Death Valley National Park (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

On Saturday, February 13, BGS will be heading out early to Death Valley National Park, and will be returning late on Sunday, February 14

Death Valley
Death Valley is the land of extremes. The lowest point in the contiguous United States, the greatest topographical relief in the contiguous United States, and the highest recorded temperature in North America are all records held by Death Valley. This dry and rugged landscape is a geologist's paradise. The exposure of rock is 100%, so all the neat and interesting formations are highly visible. There is a lot to see here, and we only have two days, so we will really be truckin' through the park to get in as much as we can.

Here is a broad, tentative itinerary of what we will be doing: 

Day 1:
Leave UCLA early Saturday morning
Fossils Falls (off 395 in Owens Valley)
Mosaic Canyon
Zabriske Point
Dantes View
Camping at one of the park's campgrounds

Day 2:
Mormon Point
Natural Bridge Canyon
Artist's Drive
Aguereberry Point
Trona Pinnacles
Return to UCLA in the evening

This schedule is subject to change based on the interests of the group.

This trip will be more of a geology tour than an in-depth survey of one specific area. Our goal is to get a broad picture of the geology of Death Valley. Any hiking will most likely be for a short distance.

We will be camping in one of the various campgrounds in the park. They are all first come, first served, so it is not set which campground we will be staying in. Leaving UCLA early Saturday morning will allow us to get to the park, pick a campsite, then go and explore for the rest of the day.

February is a wonderful time to visit Death Valley, as the temperatures are cooler, and more comfortable. However, temperatures can still fluctuate quite a bit, and the nights will most likely be cold. Prepare for the daytime by having layers that will keep you cool in the sunshine, but also have layers that will keep you warm in the shade. You will want plenty of clothes to keep you warm at night.

BGS will not be providing food for the trip, so you will be required to bring your own meals. We may cook a communal meal on Saturday night. Also bring plenty of water along. A gallon of water a day should suffice.

Number of spots available
For the sake of transportation, there will be a limited number of spots available on this trip. There are twenty spots available, which should allow us to pack into four cars. Drivers are needed, and we can only provide as many rides as we have spots in the cars.

There will be a small fee to attend this trip
. We need to pay for gas, park entry, and campsites. This will be $30 per person.

Reserving Your Spot
If you would like to attend this trip to Death Valley, then please RSVP to as soon as possible. Please send us your name, if you can drive, and any other questions you may have.

This is not a trip to miss, so email us soon to save your spot!

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7:30 AM07:30

BGS Goes to the Beach

Hello guys and gals,

The Bruin Geological Survey will be taking a trip to the field this upcoming Saturday January 23rd. Let's head to the beach!

This is not going to be a day of sunbathing, but a day to explore another aspect of the Transverse Range micro-plate rotation. Along the coast of Laguna Beach and Dana Point, there are wonderful outcrops of the San Onofre breccia, which contains the ever gorgeous Catalina schist. These are both remnants of the Farallon plate subduction zone, components of which were pulled ou from beneath the North American plate during rotation. We will explore how these formations are related to the Santa Monica Mountains, and further understand the geological evolution of southern California.

We will get to see lots of neat rocks and formations that you wouldn't see in the Santa Monica Mountains. And you get to see it all with your toes in the sand! Winter is the best time to visit these beach front outcrops, as much of the sand has been washed offshore by the large waves.

Leave UCLA @ 7:30-8 a.m. Saturday morning    
~ 1 hr. drive to LagunaBeach

First stop: Cameo Cove, Laguna Beach
Second stop: Mussel Cove, Dana Point
Third stop: Dana Point Marina

Return to UCLA @ 3 - 3:30 p.m.
     ~ 1.5 hr. drive back to UCLA from Dana Point

What you will want to bring:
- Lunch
- Water
- Comfortable shoes, sandals (NO flip-flops), water shoes
- Hat
- Rain coat (if in forecast)

Please RSVP as soon as possible to If you need a ride, please indicate that in your email. We need as many drivers as we can get! Our ability to provide you with a ride will depend on how many participants are willing to drive.

Don't hesitate to email us if you have any questions, or need more information.
See you in the field!

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8:00 AM08:00

Red Rock Canyon Park - Veterans Day Excursion

  • West Red Rock Road Topanga, CA, 90290 United States (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Hello everyone,

If you have not yet noticed, we do NOT have class on Wednesday, November 11 due to Veterans Day. So we at BGS decided this would be a perfect time for you to join us on our excursion to Red Rock Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains!

Here are the specifics:

Who: Bruin Geological Survey (led by BGS President Drew)

What: Excursion to Red Rock Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains. Attendees should were proper field attire (sturdy shoes, hat, rain coat if needed, etc.), bring snacks or lunch, and at least 1 liter of water.

Where: W. Red Rock Rd. Topanga, CA 90290

When: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. Wednesday, November 11

Why: Because Geology rocks!

The geological history of the Santa Monica Mountains (SMM) is quite complex, to say the least. Part of the larger Transverse Ranges, the SMM have been rotated, uplifted, compressed, tilted, and everything in between. While providing us with wonderful rock formations to feast our eyes upon, it has not in anyway provided us with a straightforward  account of its story of creation. Luckily we are geologists, so the twists and folds of the SMM only makes our jobs that much sweeter.

On Veterans Day, we will take a stroll along the trails of Red Rock Canyon Park, located off Old Topanga Canyon Rd. Depending on the interest of the attending group, we may hike up to 5 miles roundtrip. This may include hiking to the top of Calabasas Peak (~2100 ft.) to gain sweeping views of the surrounding area and ocean. However, we are geologists first, and hikers second, so we could end up only walking a few hundreds yards and revealing at the fascinating formations.

Our goal for the day will be to explore the methods used to determine the geological history of a region. This will include looking at the strike and dip of tilted beds, examining grain size and composition of sandstones, identifying volcanic breccia clasts, and finding fossils, if we are lucky! We want this to be an opportunity for you to learn about your local mountain range. Everyone is welcome, whether you are a sophomore studying sociology, or a fourth year studying physics, we want you to come along!

We will have limited spots available in our vehicle. If you drive, we would appreciate if you could help us out and carpool. Everyone is responsible for contributing to the gas fund of their driver.

Please RSVP as soon as possible by shooting an email to with your name and if you will be needing a ride, or can give others a ride.

If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to reply accordingly.
We hope to see you all there!

On behalf of the BGS Board,
Drew Levy
BGS President

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10:00 AM10:00

Exploring Your Universe 2015

The Bruin Geological Survey will be hosting an exhibit at the Exploring Your Universe fair this fall. We will have a rock room full of wondeful specimens that you can only see once a year at this event! This is a great event targeted at exposing younger kids, as well as many adults, to the wonders of our natural world, and showing them how our daily lives are filled with scientific wonder.

If you would like to see more, check out this website:

Also, BGS is looking for volunteers. Speaking from personal experience, I highly recommend volunteering. It was lots of fun getting to share what I enjoy so much with young people, and to see the looks on their faces after they learn something new. If you are interested in joining our team, send us a quick message and we'll get you on the list!

Hope to see you there,
BGS President

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Point Mogu Hike & Beach Day
10:00 AM10:00

Point Mogu Hike & Beach Day

Date: Saturday, May 23rd

Time: Start hike 10 am, beach hangout ~1 pm to 4

Parking: $12 (reimbursement possible, we'll keep you updated)

For the hike, we'll be following the Chumash Trail to Mugu Peak for spectacular views of the coast, rolling meadows, and mountains. We'll be hiking through the sedimentary Topanga Formation and the Conejo Volcanics, and discussing the Sycamore Canyon Fault and the general geology of the Santa Monicas.

Distance: 5.2 mi

Elevation Gain: 1255 ft

Difficulty: Moderate


We'll start the hike around 10 am, and return around 1 pm. Then we'll head to Mugu State Park beach to eat lunch and relax.


Things to bring: hiking appropriate clothes and shoes (long pants encouraged), water, sunscreen, hat, lunch, money to split gas/parking (reimbursement possible). Snacks, drinks, bathing suit, volleyball, frisbee, etc. for the beach very much encouraged! 

We'll be arranging carpools from UCLA. Let us know if you need a ride! Carpooling is encouraged, since we expect the beach to be busy due to Memorial Day weekend. In addition, let us know if you can drive and provide rides. Please feel free to just join us at the beach if you cannot make the hike, or vice versa.

So take a load off before the end of the year and join BGS for fun in the sun! RSVP by Thursday, 5/21 to and let us know if you have any questions.

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6:30 AM06:30

Rio Tinto Borax Mine Trip

Who wants to go mining? We have scheduled a tour of the Rio Tinto Borax Mine in Boron, CA:

Date: Friday, May 8th

Time: Leave bright and early UCLA ~ 6:30 am (tour begins 9 am), return to UCLA ~ 6 pm

What to bring: MUST wear long sleeve shirt, long pants, flat closed shoes (steel toes if you have em!), no jewelry, long hair must be tied back. Bring sunscreen, hat, water, money for gift shop purchases. Lunch to be discussed! See below.

RSVP by Friday, May 1st. 20 people max, will arrange carpools. Must be over 18.

We will be hosted by community affairs advisor Tania Lewis and site geologist Brandon Griffiths. The visit begins with a safety briefing and gear-up (safety vest, hard hat, safety glasses, and shoe covers).

We will take a bus tour of the mine and open pit (approximately 2 hours). Then we will return to the visitor center and have time to explore, make some gift shop purchases, view the informational video and take photos from the roof top of the pit. We can bring lunch and eat it there or hit up one of the two! restaurants in Boron. There are museums in town and a rock shop there as well. Details to be discussed.

Please RSVP by Friday May 1st to We would prefer if we could all carpool there, so in your response please confirm if you would like to join a carpool and/or if you are willing to drive others. In addition, due to tour policy, we need your first and last name, date of birth, shoe size, and if you have your own steel toe boots.

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Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area: Day Trip
8:00 AM08:00

Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area: Day Trip

  • 28000 Devils Punchbowl Rd, Pearblossom, CA 93553 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Get ready for the first activity of the quarter! We'll be headed to the Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area on Sunday, April 19th. This is an area of impressive sandstone formations, folded and tilted by the nearby San Andreas and other associated faults. We're planning to meet at the park at 8 am. Entrance and parking is free. We'll be following the short Loop Trail (~1 mile) and investigating and discussing the geologic context of the Punchbowl Formation. We'll also be stopping along the San Andreas Fault outside of the park.

Please RSVP to by Friday, April 17th if you would like to join us. Carpooling will be arranged on a first-come, first-served basis.

Things to bring: Good shoes, water, notebook, hand lens (if you have one), sun protection

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to Mar 8

San Diego/Anza Borrego Geology Tour

Who: Bruin Geologic Survey members and anyone else who would like to join

What: Geology field trip through San Diego County, with an emphasis on Anza Borrego State Park. This trip will be a tour style, which means we will be covering a lot of area in a small amount of time. We will take a brief hike around each area we stop, and all hikes will be easy-moderate. Additional stops may be made along the way to explore cool roadside geology.

Where:  Cabrillo National Monument (Uplifted marine terraces, Rose Canyon Fault, fossils), Fossil Canyon (Pliocene marine sediments, oyster-shell reefs), Volcanic Hills (Late miocene volcanics), Fish Creek Wash (great examples of tectonic deformation, gypsum mines, wind caves), and Pala Mining District (well exposed pegmatite dikes, gem mines).

Camping: Agua Caliente Regional Park - facilities available

When: Saturday March 7 to Sunday March 8 
 Leave UCLA by 8 a.m. Saturday, and return by approx. 6 p.m. Sunday

Why: San Diego offers a wide variety of geologic phenomena in a relatively small area. We will be able to explore gem and mineral mines, volcanic fields, batholithic extrusions, coastal marine sediments, as well as inland marine sediments. No matter what your interest is, San Diego covers it and much more. 

Fees: $20 will cover gas, camping, and any park entrance fees.

Please RSVP by March 1 to

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Las Llajas Canyon Day Hike
10:00 AM10:00

Las Llajas Canyon Day Hike

  • 5635 Evening Sky Dr Simi Valley, CA, 93063 United States (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Thinking of a way to wow your significant other this Valentine's Day weekend? Nothing says "I love you" like fossiliferous sandstones! Come join us Sunday, Feb. 15th @ 10 am for a hike through Las Llajas Canyon (Simi Valley area), led by BGS alum Paul McBurnett. The hike is moderately difficult with a total round trip of 6 miles. Temperatures should be in the 70's and will make for a nice day to see some good geology and fossils. Bring plenty of water and a snack/meal for when we get to the top.

Click here for Directions

If you're driving yourself, there is plenty of street parking on Evening Sky Drive. If you'd like to join a carpool or are willing to drive other members let us know. We will arrange carpooling on a first-come, first-served basis. Gas will be split with your carpool (bring some extra cash the day of).

Please RSVP to by Friday, February 13, 2015.

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to Dec 7

Joshua Tree Camping Trip

When: Sat. Dec. 6 - Sun. Dec. 7

Where: Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (flush toilets and water)

Activities: Geologizing, day hiking, rock climbing (plenty of bouldering)*, rock hounding, stargazing, camp shenanigans

Transportation: We will try to arrange carpools, please let us know if you have your own ride or can offer rides

Cost: Pay for own gas and entrance fees (split with your car) and food**. BGS will cover the campsite fees

What to bring (including but not limited to): Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag&pad, headlamp, personal cookware**), climbing gear if you wish to climb, comfortable clothing (prepare for a variety of weather, it will get quite cold at night!), hiking shoes, water bottles/bladders, sunblock, hat, hand lens, rock hammer, games, musical instruments, camera, sense of adventure...

Please RSVP by Sunday, November 30 to

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Mt. Baldy Hike
11:00 AM11:00

Mt. Baldy Hike

Depart: 11 am from the UCLA Geology building loading dock

Return: Night time

Cost: Split gas with drivers

RSVP by: Wed., May 28th

Difficulty:  Strenuous (~16km with ~ 1 km of elevation gain)

What to bring: Lots of water, Lunch and plenty of snacks, hiking gear, a jacket, sunblock

Description: Paulus McBurnett and Kevin Coffey will lead a trip up and down Mt. Baldy with the hike beginning in late morning and returning at night with some moon walking down the trail.

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Beach Trenching and BBQ
11:00 AM11:00

Beach Trenching and BBQ

Depart: 11 am from the UCLA Geology building loading dock

Return: That evening

Cost: Free

RSVP by: Wed., May 21st

Difficulty: Tough day relaxing on the beach

What to bring: Food will be decided once we have a head count by the RSVP date.

Description: We will have a fun day relaxing on the beach, playing games, eating, drinking, and ultimately digging a small trench to look at sedimentary features. The beach we go to will be decided closer to the date.

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Caliente Peak Hike
8:00 AM08:00

Caliente Peak Hike

Depart: 8 am from the UCLA Geology building loading dock

Return: That evening

Cost: Split gas with drivers

RSVP by: Thu., May 1st 

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous (~28 km roundtrip; ~650 m elevation gain)

What to bring: Lots of water, lunch and plenty of snacks, hiking gear, a jacket (may be chilly at the top), sunblock

Description: Paulus McBurnett will lead a day hike to Caliente Peak, the highest peak in the Caliente Mountains, and one that affords spectacular vistas overlooking the Carrizo Plain and the San Andreas fault.

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Geology of the American Southwest Road Trip
to Mar 26

Geology of the American Southwest Road Trip

Sat., Mar. 22 - Wed., Mar. 26  Geology of the American Southwest  Road Trip

Depart: Mar. 22, 9 am from the UCLA Geology building loading dock

Return: Mar. 26, in the evening

Cost: $100

RSVP by: Sat., Mar. 1

Difficulty: Low to moderate (day hikes of various lengths)

What to bring: Hiking and camping equipment, 5 days of food, camera

Description: What better way to spend the first part of spring break than on a road trip with the BGS through the American southwest! We will visit Red Rock Canyon State Park (NV), Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (UT), Bryce Canyon National Park (UT), Capitol Reef National Park (UT), Arches National Park (UT), Mesa Verde National Monument (CO), and Sunset Crater National Monument (AZ). Great geology, great friends, and a great price: the $100 covers everything except food, including gas, park entrance fees, and campsites. More details will be sent out separately, including how you can help write the fieldtrip guide and, if you like, get school credit for it!

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St. Francis Dam Hike
9:00 AM09:00

St. Francis Dam Hike

Sat., Feb. 22 St. Francis Dam Hike

Depart: 9 am from the UCLA Geology building loading dock

Return: Late that afternoon

Cost: Free

RSVP by: Mon., Feb. 17

Difficulty: Low

What to bring: Water, lunch, hiking gear, jacket

Description: Andy Perrine will lead a short hike to the remains of the infamous St. Francis Dam, which was built in one of the worst possible locations from a geological perspective, and which, not surprisingly, collapsed in 1928, resulting in a catastrophic and lethal flood and, on a happier note, in the birth of the field of engineering geology.

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Joshua Tree
to Feb 16

Joshua Tree

Fri., Feb. 14 - Sun., Feb. 16  Joshua Tree Camping Trip

Depart: Feb. 14, 3 pm from the UCLA Geology building loading dock

Return: Feb. 16, in the evening

Cost: $10

RSVP by: Mon., Feb. 10

Difficulty: Low (optional small hikes in Joshua Tree)

What to bring: Lots of water, hiking and camping equipment, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast

Description: Join the BGS for a fun weekend of hiking, camping, and, of course, great geology in Joshua Tree National Monument!

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9:00 AM09:00


Sat., Feb. 8 - Rockhounding around Acton 

Depart: 9 am from the UCLA Geology building loading dock

Cost: Free

RSVP by: Fri, Feb. 7

Difficulty: Low

What to bring: Rock collecting equipment (hammers, bags, etc), sturdy shoes, water, snacks and such.

Description: Join us as we go explore an area around Acton, Ca for some awesome minerals and rocks. We will be mostly driving around, but may need to scramble a bit to reach outcrops.

Minerals that we may potentially find: Mica books, ilmenite, orthoclase, actinolite, hornblende, greenschist, banded agate, massive olivine, jasper, malachite, chrysocolla.

Disclaimer: Information about these areas may be somewhat outdated, so it is possible that what we seek could now be off limits. Finding stuff is not guaranteed, but is  likely. 

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