December 2002 Field Trip to Salton Seaby Bob Fitzpatrick
Field Trip Chair - South - 2003
Just returned from a great one-day rockhound field trip to the Salton Sea area. We had 16 from seven clubs that signed the disclaimer plus two dogs. The weather was cool but we all dressed for it. We left Indio at 8 am and caravanned down the East side of the Salton Sea on highway 111 to just past the town of Niland. From there on to Obsidian Buttes on the South end of the Salton Sea. The lake is two hundred feet below sea level and is one of the lowest spots in the United States, and upon occasion can be one of the hottest too. The narrow body of water is roughly 40 miles long and 10 miles wide.
It took us around an hour to drive from Indio to the collecting area were we met up with Chris Sibel from San Diego. We were all able to collect all the Obsidian and Pumice that we all wanted. Beth Pelfrey and Mike Casey from the Searchers Club collected some nice Snow Flake Obsidian to make a sphere. Henry Torres from the Yucaipa Club took home an extra large bolder of nice black Obsidian that weighed about 400 hundred pounds.
From there we drove to the Mud Pots (small volcanoes). We walked around the geothermal pots listening to the carbon dioxide and other gases escaping from deep underground and gurgling through the liquefied mud and spewing little jets of mud. In some areas they smelled of rotten eggs, but most emitted no odor. This is definitely one of those "You had to be there " moments! None of them were very hot. As always, it's a fascinating place to visit.
From there we drove to the old Bertram Sodium Sulfate Mine. Minerals that can be found there are Glauberite, Bloedite, Mirabilite, Thenardite, Gypsum Crystals and Alabaster. We dug in the side of the dumps and were able to find some great Glauberite Crystals. They were quite plentiful and real easy to dig in the soft soil. They occur as singles and in groups. Everyone in our group said they had a great time and thanked me for leading them to these great areas.