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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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General Meeting/General Election
Later Event: October 26
Cassini at Saturn Presentation