Ocean View Tourmaline Mine - Hard rock mining Pala Reviews
Gems in San Diego Jul 14, 2007
Just east of San Diego is a pegmatite dike- that's geologicalese for a place where magma leaked up from the earth and left behind gems! Most famously tourmaline. These cylindrical crystals range from the diameter of a pencil to several inches in diameter and come in every color of the rainbow. The rarest is 'watermelon' tourmaline, red on the inside with a green 'rind' on the outside.
There are a number of mines in the hills, some of which occasionally allow you to mine the tailings piles to find what they've missed. Ocean View Mine is the best- On Saturdays, they'll blow up one new section of tunnel, and supposedly haul out the rubble without looking at it for you to dig through. It's hard work, but there's a chance for treasure. Sometimes no one will find anything for weeks, another time- tourmaline, aquamarine, emeralds, peridot, and other semiprecious gems. Pictures are at my other site:
It's hard work, bring gloves and a hat. You can tell those who have the prospector's gene... after about an hour of shoveling, breaking up rocks, and sifting, some people are done and want to get out of there. Others (myself included) you have to forcibly drag off the rock pile after the 9 hours are up "there's something for sure in the next bucket load!!"
We snuck off the sight at one point to have a look at the view, and something too big to be a dog, making horrible sounds came charging at us. At some point, you realize that it's not going to stop and just run, a basic instinct... After it chased us at top speed for a quarter mile, be both slowed down, it raised it's ears back up, and it was a baby donkey! Once off it's land it was once again friendly.
Part of the Travels in San Diego travel blog
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