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Pala District, San Diego Co., California, USA
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Summary:
The Pala district in northwestern San Diego County, California, has been a widely known source of gem and lithium minerals. Formal mining operations began in the 1870's, but the most active period was from 1900 to 1922. Several underground gemstone mining operations on Tourmaline Queen Mountain and Chief Mountain persist to this day.

The Pala district has been the subject of many science-and industry-based reports, focusing on gemology, mineralogy, petrology, physics and other facets relating to the 400 or so Rare Earth Element (REE) pegmatite dikes (outcrops, veins, ledges, bodies, deposits, lodes etc.).

The area is also often referred to as the Pala Gem Mining District, or the Pala Pegmatite District. It is a common misnomer that the term "district" is an official designation. The Pala area was never established as an organized mining district, and as such all mining claim documents pertaining to the statutes of the United States and California were filed with the Office of the County Clerk.

The Pala Band of Mission Indians, whose reservation was established for the benefit of the Cupeño and Luiseño Indians in 1891, had encompassed most of the mineral lands often referred to as the Pala District or Pala Mining District by 1903. By the year 2000, several subsequent Acts of Congress had appropriated all of the remaining public lands once open to mineral entry under the general mining laws for the benefit of the Mission Indians, excepting the federal mineral patents issued between 1913 and 1979 from the transfer.

Because of the significance of the Pala district's impact on San Diego's history and economy, the County's regional land use plan recognizes the importance of the gem mines in Pala, and generally encourages the immediate development of the eight federal mineral patents.

United States Mineral Patents granted in the Pala mining district by date issued:
1913 - Tourmaline King lode by F. B. Schuyler
1914 - Ed Fletcher Jr. lode by Ed Fletcher
1949 - Stewart Mine lode by Blanche C. Crane
1949 - Hiriart lode by George A. Ashley
1955 - Tourmaline Queen & Tourmaline Queen No. 3 lodes, Pala Chief lode, Goddess lode by Mildred S. Wear and Margaret S. Moore (Frank A. Salmons heirs)
1979 - Oceanview lode by Roland Reed

Mindat Articles

Bismuth Ochers from San Diego Co., California by W. T. Schaller 1910 by Scott L. Ritchie
Kunzite the Precious by William B. Gross 1905 by Scott L. Ritchie
R. H. Jahns—Pegmatite Geology, Pala, San Diego, California by P. A. Saylor 1947 by Scott L. Ritchie


Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities
Albite
var: Cleavelandite
var: Oligoclase
'Albite-Anorthite Series'
'Allanite'
Almandine
'Almandine-Spessartine Series'
Amblygonite
'Amblygonite-Montebrasite Series'
Andalusite
Andradite
'Apatite'
Arsenopyrite
Bavenite
Bermanite
Bertrandite
Beryl
var: Aquamarine
var: Goshenite
var: Heliodor
var: Morganite
Beyerite
'Biotite'
Bismite
Bismuth
Bismuthinite
Bismutite
Bismutotantalite
Bornite
Cassiterite
Chalcocite
Chrysocolla
'Clay'
Clinobisvanite
Clinozoisite
'Columbite'
Columbite-(Fe)
Columbite-(Mn)
'Columbite-Tantalite'
Cookeite
Digenite
Elbaite
'Elbaite-Schorl Series'
Epidote
Eulytine
Fairfieldite
'Feldspar Group'
Fluorapatite
Foitite
Gahnite
'Garnet'
Goethite
Grossular
var: Hessonite
var: Magnesian Grossular
'Halloysite'
Halloysite-10Å
Helvine
Hematite
Hercynite
Heterosite
'Heulandite'
Hopeite
'Hornblende'
Hureaulite
'Hypersthene'
Iron
'Jahnsite'
Jahnsite-(MnMnMn) (TL)
Kaolinite
Laumontite
Lepidolite
Leucophosphite
Lithiophilite
Löllingite
Ludlamite
Magnetite
Malachite
'Manganese Oxides'
'var: Manganese Dendrites'
Manganite
Marcasite
'Mica Group'
Microcline
Microlite Group
Molybdenite
'Monazite'
Montebrasite
Montmorillonite
Muscovite
var: Sericite
Namibite
'Olivine'
Opal
Orthoclase
'Perthite'
Petalite
Phenakite
Phosphosiderite
Pollucite
Pseudomalachite
'Psilomelane'
Pucherite
Purpurite
Pyrite
'Pyroxene Group'
Quartz
var: Chalcedony
var: Citrine
var: Rock Crystal
var: Rose Quartz
Quartz
var: Smoky Quartz

'Salmonsite'
Schorl
Sicklerite (TL)
Siderite
Spessartine
Spinel
var: Pleonaste
Spodumene
var: Hiddenite
var: Kunzite
Stewartite (TL)
Stibiotantalite
'Stilbite'
Strengite
Strunzite
Swinefordite
'Tantalite'
Tantalite-(Mn)
Todorokite
Topaz
Tosudite
var: Lithium Tosudite

'Tourmalinated Quartz'
'Tourmaline'
'var: Achroite'
'var: Indicolite'
'var: Rubellite'
'var: Verdelite'
'var: Watermelon Tourmaline'
Triphylite
Triplite
Vermiculite
Vivianite
Wardite
'Zinnwaldite'
Zircon


169 entries listed. 93 valid minerals. 3 type localities (valid minerals).

Localities in this Region

USA
USA

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References

Hanks, Henry Garber (1884), Fourth report of the State Mineralogist. California Mining Bureau. Report 4, 410 pp. (includes catalog of minerals of California pp. 63-410), and miscellaneous observations on mineral products): 125.

Kunz, George Frederick (1904), Precious stones. Mineral Resources U.S., 1903: 942.

Schaller, Waldemar Theodore (1904a), The tourmaline localities of southern California. Science, new series: 19: 266-268.

Schaller, Waldemar Theodore (1904b), Notes on some California minerals. American Journal of Science, 4th. Series: 17: 191-194.

Graton, Louis Caryl & Schaller, W. T. (1905), Purpurite, a new mineral. American Journal of Science, 4t. series: 20: 146-151; […eitschr. Kristallographie, Band 41: 433-438 (1905)]: 146.

Kunz, George Frederick (1905a), Gems, jewelers’ materials, and ornamental stones of California: California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 37, 171 pp.

Waring, G. A. (1905), The pegmatyte veins of Pala, San Diego County. American Geologist 35, pages 356-369.

Rogers, Austin Flint (1910a), Notes on some pseudomorphs, petrifactions and alterations. American Philosophical Society Proceedings: 49: 17-23.

Schaller, Waldemar Theodore (1911e), Notes on purpurite and heterosite. USGS Bulletin 490: 79.

Schaller, Waldemar Theodore (1912b), New manganese phosphates from the gem tourmaline field of southern California. Washington Academy of Sciences Journal: 2: 145.

Schaller, Waldemar Theodore & Fairchild, John Gifford (1932), Bavenite, a beryllium mineral, pseudomorphous after beryl, from California. American Mineralogist: 17: 409-422; […American Mineralogist: 17: 114 (1932)]: 409.

Donnelly, Maurice (1936), Notes on the lithium pegmatites of Pala, California. Pacific Mineralogist: 3(1): 8-12.

Stevens, Rollin Elbert & Schaller, W. T. (1942), The rare alkalies in micas. American Mineralogist: 27: 525-537, 528.

Saylor, Pauline A. (1947), The Geology of the Pala Pegmatites, San Diego, California: A lecture by Dr. Richard H. Jahns to the Mineralogical Society of Southern California; April 14th. Rocks and Minerals magazine, Vol. 22, No. 5: page 434.

Jahns, R. H., and Wright, L. A. (1951), Gem and Lithium-Bearing Pegmatites of the Pala District, San Diego County, California. California Division of Mines special report 7A: 72 p.

Weber, F. H. (1963), Mines and mineral resources of San Diego County, California. California Division of Mines and Geology, County Report 3: 309 p., illus., maps.

Murdoch, Joseph & Webb, Robert W. (1966), Minerals of California, Centennial Volume (1866-1966). California Division Mines & Geology Bulletin 189: 79, 100, 105, 107-108, 155-156, 182, 195, 219, 238, 245, 275, 315, 337, 352, 373-374, 381, 391.

Pemberton, H. Earl (1983), Minerals of California; Van Nostrand Reinholt Press: 73, 76, 80.

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Copyright © Jolyon Ralph and Ida Chau 1993-2014. Site Map. Locality, mineral & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. Site hosted & developed by Jolyon Ralph. Mindat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free mineralogical information to all. Mindat relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters. Mindat does not offer minerals for sale. If you would like to add information to improve the quality of our database, then click here to register.
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