Collecting minerals from “Cross Hill”, Nuevo California

A friend of mine asked to go visit the feldspar mine on the mountain in Nuevo California, about an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles, toward Riverside and on the way to San Diego. I had not been to the location in five years and I had heard that there was a lot of activity in the area with houses being built. As this has been a classic collecting location, along with the possibility of general prospecting around the area, I wanted to see what was going on.

View Nuevo Quarry pinpointed in a larger map
First I heard there was a gate up. That did not seem to bode well, but it looks like the Korean Church at the bottom of the hill put a gate up at the beginning of the road. It was open (and public land!) so we drove through. Going up the hill was no problem, just like in the past. The odd thing was, going up the hill, the graffiti was out of control on those rocks, empty ammo cases littered the ground alongside empty beer bottles. In addition, these signs saying that the road was PRIVATE were sprayed on the boulders, which is just plain nonsense! This is a road. You can not simply buy the rights to some land and close off a public road. There were work crews, lots of construction going on and shockingly, houses were springing up in this area. The turn off to the quarry was way worse than I remember, as they graded the dirt road down, down, down, so that the turnoff was a six foot climb in the Jeep, which was a little shocking. But, then the road seemed fine, as I remember, and we pulled into the parking area to start our walk to the quarry and dump pile. Seriously, nobody is going to tell me that, as a citizen of California and America, that I am not allowed to go on a public road, to an abandoned quarry to collect some worthless rocks that nobody will miss. Just because some chumps want to spend millions of dollars to build their secluded homesites doesn’t mean they can keep me from the public road outside their house. Keep those ATVs, the gun nuts and the teenage drinkers away, I’m here for some science and some nature.
Smithsonian Nuevo California Garnet
Here is the photo that got me interested again, a photo from the Smithsonian of a nice garnet from this location.

The quarry is very interesting, mainly feldspar and massive quartz, with huge crystals of schorl tourmaline embedded inside the feldspar. Along with this are garnets, most always forming in one thin layer on the outside of the feldspar blocks, the rare find of a scrap of aquamarine is possible and uncommon radioactive crystals of monazite and thorianite. I wanted to try and find some of the radioactives and nice garnet plate, my friend was looking for schorl chunks to put into reference kits for the kids. We found everything that you could expect to find from the quarry and spent about 2 hours collecting before hitting the road back to Los Angeles, with a wide open freeway, pre-rush hour, it was a great trip. If you are in the Southern California area, this is an interesting place to check out and I hope you make it without any problems and who knows, maybe in a few years the road will be paved! (and gated, to keep you ruffians out) This is BLM land, no person should DARE to stop entry to that land. Access to this area has been served by that road which far predates the church or the houses being built up there. It is absolutely shameful if anyone tries to stop you.

Overlooking the felspar quarry in Nuevo California
Overlooking the quarry from the parking area.
Huge Crystals of Schorl in feldspar
For size reference, here is my hand.
Nuevo Quarry with John
A human for size reference.
Another view of the schorl wall at Nuevo
More mouth-watering schorl!
Schorl Crystal in Matrix
This schorl crystal would fall to bits if we tried to remove it from matrix.
loose schorl crystal
A typical scrap of Schorl Tourmaline found on the dumps.
Garnet crystals on feldspar matrix
Commonly seen are the blocks of feldspar, more uncommon is a coverage as rich as this with well formed crystals.
Unidentified radioactive minerals
You can tell these are radioactive due to the radiation rings discoloring the quartz/feldspar matrix.
leaving the quarry with some kid rocks
Leaving the quarry with some rocks to share with the kids.

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Our Top 10 Favorite Mineral/Rock/Gem Memes

While the old definition of “Meme” would simply imply a behavior learned from cultural or non-family social interaction, the standard for “Meme” now is these humorous photos. Memes start when someone takes a photo, puts some words on it and posts it online. With enough approval, blanks are requested so that the public can start producing their own. The one unfortunate aspect of this is memes becoming too popular and being generated by people who do not have the aptitude to CREATE, leading to some very poor examples floating around on the internet.

Minerals have been the subject of these online jokes since nearly the beginning of their production. As terrible b/tards, tumblr uses and redditors, we have seen and collected dozens of mineral themed memes over the past few years and now we want to share them with you!

And now, onto…

#10 – Brace Yourself – The Mineral Posts are coming

Game of Thrones Meme for Minerals

This meme comes from the HBO show, Game of Thrones,
with Ned Stark saying his legendary line…”Brace Yourself, Winter is coming”, denoting the approaching LONG seasonal change in that fantasy world, which can last for a decade or more. In Memespeak, these are created when a meme goes viral, someone will inevitably produce Ned warning the audience that soon there will be a flood of that meme, most, poorly produced.

#9 – TheOatmeal.com – “We Require More Minerals!”

TheOatmeal Starcraft Meme for Minerals

Starcraft is a great game by Blizzard and while it has a huge fan following, South Korea is well known as the country with the most rabid players. While the South Koreans are plugging away at their computers looking for pixelated crystals, in North Korea, minerals are a more serious business! Created by the great comic creator, TheOatmeal.com

#8 – Halite Makes Me Hot

Models for Minerals

A favorite of online mineral memes is the paring of a mineral with a model and “quoting” the model telling the audience how incredibly turned on they are by a ugly rock. One of the misnomers about mineral collecting is that it is a bunch of old crusty men, when in reality there are, my god, WOMEN that collect minerals! Not only are they…Female…many of them are BEAUTIFUL women! Gasp! This is one of our favorites, because we can’t think of anyone who comes away from the halite filled brine pools thinking about anything besides getting a shower and lunch.

#7 – Disregard Marie, Acquire Minerals – Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad Hank Meme

A Meme within a meme within a meme, hey we have a meme to specifically make fun of that, but let’s focus on THIS one, which is, for our non-USA viewers or those who are not familiar with the excellent AMC Drama, Breaking Bad.
In the show, DEA agent Hank is shot and needs a lot of recouping time, bedridden he starts to obsess over minerals, buying them from various websites, including the one mentioned on the show, mineralemporium.com, which of course, takes you to Breaking Bad’s website. On top of that, this meme is a tribute to the Joseph Ducreux portrait, which traditionally says “Disregard Bitches, Acquire Money.”
Now, one of the funny things for Non-US visitors is that we wonder if the plot of Breaking Bad makes any sense…A School Teacher, who is poorly paid, gets cancer and is told that treatments are going to leave the family destitute. In hopes to pay for his medical treatment, he starts cooking methamphetamine. We would think in any real civilized society, someone shouldn’t have to worry about their family being torn apart by medical expenses. That’s a truly American way of life! Go USA!

#6 – Phillip J. Fry – Futurama – Not Sure if…

Futurama for Minerals

We would like to think the writers at Futurama would approve of this meme, the standard Phillip J. Fry “Not Sure if x or y” meme, done for the appreciation of minerals. There are hundreds, nay, might I guess THOUSANDS of stoners getting lost inside a quartz crystal or aragonite cluster, maybe even RIGHT THIS MOMENT! Put down the bong, son, Minerals are cool, even when not high.

#5 – Holy Shit – This Rock is PERFECT!

Found the perfect rock for my collection

There is a positive way to look at that face planting that is about to occur. Makes my face hurt…and makes me wonder…is it a quartz crystal? We hope so!

#4 – Bismuth

Bismuth Meme

The internet has a hardon for Bismuth. Lab grown Bismuth crystals are shared with reckless abandon, so this great meme, featuring a NATURAL BISMUTH crystal, a winner in our books!

#3 – Bill Larson, your argument is invalid

Invalid Meme

The meme that is dedicated to the form “This is x, your argument is invalid” where X is a something completely random and pointless, used as a tactic to make distracting point in a dispute to which you have no good retort. At an annual Tucson party celebrating the TGMS, a wild iguana appeared, coupled with countless bottles of wine, several people posed with the reptile. When it took to Pala Minerals owner “Burma Bill” Larson, a man with more untold mineral stories than you might ever hope to acquire over a lifetime, the flashes went off all over the place and as soon as an image was posted online, this meme was created.

#2 – Gave that Bitch a Crystal, Bitches love Crystals – MineralClassics’ founder Richard Kosnar and the legendary phosphophyllite.

Richard Kosnar Phosphophyllite Meme

Brian Kosnar showed me this meme that was created with a famous photo of the standard smiling face of his dad, Richard Kosnar. In his hands, the ultimate phosphophyllite. The meme? Based on a line from the TV show “The Boondocks” where the rich, violent whiteboy gangster styled after another dimensions’ George Bush Jr, saying, while texting a woman “Hold Up, I’m gonna send this bitch a smiley face. Bitches love smiley faces.”. Thus, the “I’m going to give this X a Y, X’s love Ys.” You can find wonderful minerals from Bolivia (where this crystal comes from), colorado and more at the website www.minclassics.com

And, finally, the Meme we believe might have been the first…

#1 – Out of nowhere…Feldspar!

Feldspar Meme

What could have been the first mineral meme, and surely, one of the most popular…”Out of Nowhere…It’s X” where X is the thing in the picture, in this case…two nice feldspar crystals.

There you have it, our Top 10 Mineral/Rock themed Memes! We certainly had MORE to share, but these were our favorites around the office. Hope you enjoyed it!

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