Presidents Corner (January, 2023)
January 27, 2023,
I am looking forward to the South Coast Geological Society presidential challenge and welcome any thoughts or ideas any one of you have that can make this year more exciting than the last. With this new year comes a new membership drive. Now that we are officially in 2023, we ask that you renew your membership either by sending a check through the mail or by mule train, or for those technologically savvy members you can renew on the SCGS website.
In addition to our regular membership renewal the Society is looking for corporate sponsors. Securing sponsorships with allies in the for-profit world is one of the most important steps the Society can take. As without the contributions of key sponsors, our nonprofit risks being unable to raise the money we need to continue the Society. South Coast survives because of you and through the generosity of our sponsors, and we are extremely grateful for yours and their continued support of one of the largest, most active Geological Societies in Southern California. If you or your company would like to become a sponsor, you can do so via the corporate sponsorship page on our website. http://southcoastgeology.org/
My interests in mining and tales of lost treasure have taken me to various corners of the Mojave Desert hell bent in pursuit of gold. This wanderlust and excitement is something I would like to share with you all. We are currently working to organize a trip to several active mines and locations in the Mojave. More to come on this subject as the trip and locations are developed.
Exploration of the Mojave Desert was driven by the desire to locate gold, the Spanish began actively mining gold in Alta California as early as 1775 at the Potholes, near Yuma, Arizona. After Mexican Independence in 1821, location and extraction of gold remained a priority. Still, it was gold’s “rediscovery” on January 24, 1848, at Sutter’s Mill that would compel some 300,000 individuals over the next five years to heedlessly travel over land and sea, driven by their heady dreams of “striking it rich.” The earliest recorded discovery of gold in the Mojave Desert region by non-Indigenous people occurred during the mid-1820s at Rio Salitroso (or Salt Spring) along the Spanish Trail, just south of the Dumont Dunes near the southern end of Death Valley and Amargosa River. Many Mojave mining camps were however short-lived, and a majority were abandoned within a historical heartbeat. The biggest threats to these overnight boomtowns were impulsive prospectors, miners, and capitalists—opportunists ready to leave town at the drop of a hat when news of a spectacular claim staked elsewhere had reached them. Over time, this scenario would play out in Ballarat, Calico, Cerro Gordo, Chloride, Dale, Darwin, Goldfield, Harrisburg, Hart, Hornsilver, Lida, Oatman, Panamint City, Rhyolite, Skidoo, Searchlight, Tonopah, Tule Canyon, Vanderbilt, and many other camps…. some marked only by a rusting tin can, abandoned concrete pad or simply a rumor whispered on the wind.
Lastly, I encourage you all to check the website desertsymposium.org, USGS is leading a trip into the desert in late April 2023 to visit some active and not so active mines of the Mojave, it will be a fun trip to get you all interested in our annual field trip.
2023 SCGS President