This weekend I had the privilege to tagging along with the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mackay Rockhounds club to the Gem-O-Rama in Trona, California. Trona is a desert town on the edge of Death Valley that is a small community built on a salt flat. They host the Gem-O-Rama every year and it brings in the largest amount of people they see all year.
Gem-O-Rama has several field trips that you can participate in and attend. The first field trip we went on was the Searles Dry Lake Mud Trip. You drive your own car to the lake bed where you get down and dirty in the mud and dig for hanksite minerals.
You have to dig to the bottom of the mud till you find hanksite to your liking. You can get as many minerals as you want in the two hour allotted time.
After you get all the minerals you would like, you wash them down in the wash bin with brine water and get all the grime off. To keep the minerals intact, rub them with mineral oil to shine them up so you can display them for everyone to see!
The second field trip of the day we attended was the Blow Hole. The Blow Hole is also on Searles Dry Lake and is where you can search for hanksite, halite, borax, and sulfohalite.
We collected a lot of minerals over the weekend and will donate them to the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mackay Rockhounds mineral sale at the end of the semester!