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Palos Verde Glaucophane

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A trip to the beach is always fun and this one is ideal for summer when other places are too warm. You can find material her the year around.

Type of material found

Glaucophane
Baraite
Diatomaceous Earth
Various other materials
Click to enlarge  glaucophane

Description of material

Glaucophane. Semitranslucent material occurring most predominately in multicolored green hues. Black, white, and rarer wine red pieces also occur. Easily recognized by its semitranslucenay and varigated pattern. Suitable for tumbling, cabbing, bookends, spheres, etc.

Barite. There are ????? types of barite occurring here. The first type is ????? thing the trail to the beach is with ????? forming "rosette" barite, 1/2" in diameter ????? platelets of barite, found at the bottom of the cliffs. Occurs as sandy colored individual crystals forming a thin crust on the rocks. Small chisels and patience are required to remove these specimens.

Diatomaceous earth. For the aspiring carver, this is a wonderful material to start with, as it is soft enough to be carved with a knife, and yet it can be rubbed with linseed oil to enhance the color and lend a certain amount of luster.  Easily recognized by its obvious weightlessness. It is gray brown in color. Found along the trail to the beach.

Caution: wear a dust mask when collecting and carving Diatomaceous earth! You don't want in this material in your lungs, because it can be really really bad. It's made from fossilized diatoms, which are plankton like animals that have glass shells, so having crushed bits of it/them in your lungs is like inhaling powdered glass. (Thanks to Adda Lamon for this caution.)

Other materials. There are interesting specimen meterials scattered in the fallen rock along the banks to the left of the trail leading to the beach. With careful searching one may find gypsum veins (silky, whited parallel growing crystals), tiny, perfect calcite cubes, and perhaps other specimens. Crossite (which appears as black "needle" inclusions in the glaucophane) is occasionally found.

Equipment needed

Rock pick, chisels, sledge hammer (if you wish to break boulders of glaucophane), paper to wrap crystals.

How to get there

Take San Diego Freeway (405) southbound and exit at the Hawthorne Blvd. offramp. Turn right on Hawthorne Blvd. and go 5.5 miles to Pacific Coast Highway. Turn right and continue 2.1 miles to Palos Verdes Blvd., turn left and proceed 1.5 miles to stop sign at main intersection of Malaga Cove Plaza. Turn right onto Via Almar and continue .4 mile, then right again onto Via Arroyo for .1 mile, then left onto Pasea Del Mar. Head up hill .6 mile to parking area on right. From here there is a trail down to the beach. The "rosette" barite, diatomaceous earth, and miscellaneous crystals are found among the fallen rocks along the left banks of the trail for the first 200 feet. When you reach the bend in the trail, you will see a huge green area in the cliffs in the distance along the beach. This is the glaucophane deposit. Follow the trail down to the beach. Here you can pick up many "pre-tumbled" pieces of glaucophane for tumbling, and some pieces for cutting. There are huge boulders and large pieces eroding from the cliffs that make excellent cutting material. To get to the platelets of barite, after reaching the beach, walk back along the sand toward the parking area, to the rocks almost directly beneath the parking area and here you will find the barite.

Palos Verde Glaucophane

Permission for content use granted by Glenn Olson

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