Fluorescent Minerals of Darwin Ghost Town Inyo County, California 

In June, 2010, two Fluorescent Mineral Society members, Dave Stuck and Corby Waste, discovered interesting fluorescent minerals in a remote part of the Darwin mining district. It was part two of the Fluorescent Safari. This time we went quite some distance up north - all the way to the mining ghost town of Darwin. Fifty people still live there in what's left of downtown Darwin but we drove miles away from the town itself to our collecting area. Dave's research indicated we might find some good fluorescents - and we did! Just being in the Darwin area was an incredible experience, after reading about it for so many years. We were finally about to see it for ourselves.





JFluorescent Safari 2010


South end of Sierra Nevada Range from Owens Lake, Inyo County

Last view of "civilization" before driving on the highway to Darwin

The town of Lone Pine is on the extreme right, below Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. I created this panoramic view from our rendezvous parking spot. The view behind us was equally stunning - the desert mountains where the famous Cerro Gordo mine is located. Owens Lake is the white area in the middle of the image.


 Darwin vista

Almost there . . . this is the view looking south towards Darwin. There are no "services" in Darwin, as this picture suggests, just a few Joshua trees and lots of desert. Located about half-way between the Sierra Nevada mountains and Death Valley, it's definitely "Where the Streets Have No Name", as U2 sang on their Joshua Tree album. That album also has the song "In God's Country". U2 was quite inspired by their visit to Death Valley where they went to shoot the Joshua Tree cover pic and music videos. Listening to either song in this empty but beautiful landscape is highly recommended. You'll be inspired, too!


Our first stop was the "Calcite Hole" , near where I took this scenic pic (more about the "Hole" later)


Our second stop was this small mine in Darwin

Our first actual stop at a mine in Darwin was where we found the fluorescents directly below.


View from a hill in Darwin mining area looking east towards south end of Sierra Nevada mountain range partially covered with snow. It's remote but not as remote as it was during Darwin's mining boom when they had to pipe water all the way from Owens Lake.



I found 3 of the fluorescent red combination pieces seen above at this mine dump on the way from the first to the second mine.


2nd Mine, Darwin


Dave Stuck, Darwin expedition leader, surveying the complex


Corby Waste enjoying the mine view



 Main dump at 2nd mine, Darwin

My 2nd trip here was on my own and it was pitch black. The window frame on the old building would flap open and closed. Fear of the unknown, of other people, living or dead, of snakes and scorpions and slipping and hitting my head or car trouble all kept my adrenaline going. But nothing happened and I made it back to my hotel and TV and the normal world.



Scenic panorama looking east from our mine location, Darwin


Before we left Darwin we visited a Tungsten mine and found Scheelite, Powellite and others




My best Scheelite combination piece from Darwin
    There is some fluorescent yellow Powellite on this one.

These were collected at an out-of-the-way Tungsten mine that is not well-known. It was a fun way to end our first Darwin fluorescent hunt. Dave did a great job picking locations that were off the beaten track.


Fluorescent Safari 2010