Scheelite in Atolia California

union headfram
Head frame of Union mining shaft          There are several locations to hunt for fluorescent minerals but very few as unique as in Atolia California.  In its time it was one of the largest mining districts in the United States.  Mostly gold, silver, and scheelite was mined in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s.  For those who do not know what scheelite is its the ore for tungsten.   The use of tungsten is a major mineral for the world’s economy.  From light bulbs to armor tanks and bullets.  The hardness of tungsten makes it very important.  In todays age most of it is mined from China but before WWII the USA had to mine its own for the war effort.  My trip to Atolia consisted of visiting a quaint little ghost town with a few antique shops.  The entire area is desert with only a few hundred in population in the 3 neighboring towns.  Most locals still mine for gold in the area and have made a living from it.  At night we visited a few mining locations and where able to even go inside one of the old mines.  Most of the scheelite had been long ago removed but there was still tailings of scheelite to be found.  The bright pretty blue color they produce makes them very attractive under shortwave UV.  Looking back walking around in the dark is NOT the smartest thing to do without being very careful.  We did run into a rattlesnake and one bright green scorpion.  Needless to say stepping on one is pretty easy if your not really careful.  We will certainly be giving away samples with our UV lamps buyers so don’t miss out!

tungsten

One last thing to note fluorescent scheelite also runs along with gold.  So for those gold prospectors its always important to carry a shortwave UV light.  For where there is scheelite there is a high probability for gold!