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Audrey Lynn Mine (Audrey Lynne mine), Little Cahuilla Mountain, Cahuilla, Cahuilla District, Riverside Co., California, USA

Photo: 2007 SDMC
Latitude: 33°37'3"N
Longitude: 116°48'40"W
Setting:
The Audrey Lynn mine is located approximately 1 mile north of Little Cahuilla Mountain and just east of the prominent 4600 ft. mountain top and adjacent to the roadway. Fine blue to blue-green beryl, quartz crystals, schorl tourmaline, and almandine garnet has been produced from minor underground exploration within the NW striking, SW dipping pegmatite, averaging 15 feet in thickness. Discovery of a large 50 foot long gem-bearing pocket encountered during road maintenance produced several kilos of fine blue-green beryl (aquamarine), and several pounds of large smoky quartz crystals (NE/4 Section 30, T6S, R2E, SBM). Several pegmatite ledges outcrop above and below the primary pegmatite dike exploited near the road cut, most of which have produced minor amounts of gem-quality minerals and show good potential for future discoveries of commercial significance. (Gochenour 1988; Austin 1993; Cordova 1995; San Diego Mining Co. 1998; Osborn 2006)

History:
In 1929, discovery gem-bearing pegmatites producing radio-grade quartz crystals and blue to blue-green beryl (aquamarine), led to the location of the Beryl Crystal and Silica Beryl mining claims known as the Schindler group (Sections 29, 30, T6S, R2E, SBM). (Sampson, R. J. 1945; R. B. Saul et al 1970; Gochenour 1988). The exact location of specific workings is unknown, but many old "pits" and a small adit have been found within the Audrey Lynn mine area, and are generally attributed to Schindler's work, and fit the timeline regarding weathering effects and likely tools utilized or mining methodology (see Schindler group of unpatented lode mining claims). (Osborn 2006)

The first recorded gem discovery on the north side of Little Cahuilla Mountain was made in 1953 during construction of a road connecting to Red Mountain (east). Drilling and rock blasting was necessary to create much of the roadway, and one round of blasting northwest of Little Cahuilla Mountain opened a large pocket of quartz and aquamarine that was eventually called the "Hilton" because of its proportions after excavation. (Gochenour 1988)

During the period of 1954 to 1992, the area was relocated as the Jumping Joe mining claims, with sporadic surface development work and minor road improvements made by the claimants at several locations.

In March of 1992, a new discovery of aquamarine north of the roadway and west of the Hilton pocket was made by Phil Osborn of nearby Hemet, whom subsequently staked a mining claim to the lode, naming it after his daughter Audrey Lynn (Osborn). Osborn excavated a series of several small pockets, assisted by Larry Houg during the summer of 1992. (see Beryl v. Aquamarine (DT); repaired crystal measuring 48x12x10mm)

In 1993 another find was made while digging along the southern edge of the forest development road cut after mechanized grading had exposed a section of pegmatite south of the original Osborn discovery. Minor work with hand tools began to produce several small quartz crystals from a thin iron-stained clay seam exposed in the dike near the footwall. Work continued to expose the pocket zone, the dimensions of which ultimately measured up to 12 feet across by approximately 50 feet in length down dip; primarily characterized by the more common pocket minerals such as schorl, albite (var: cleavelandite), microcline, quartz and muscovite. Additionally, several kilos of bright red spessartine were recovered as single gem nodules and some well formed crystals, including matrix associations with quartz and albite. Work removing the pocket contents was performed by Osborn with the assistance of Otto Komarek and Byron Weege of nearby Pala; involving hand work consisting of minor drilling, blasting, rockbar scaling, hammer, chisel and bucket mucking methods.

This extremely large pocket produced many fine gem-quality bluish green to pale greenish yellow beryl crystals, the largest measuring approximately 3/4 inches wide by 4 inches tall. The largest quartz crystal removed was described as bright grayish to brownish yellow in color (var: citrine), near flawless in clarity (water clear or optical-grade), measuring approximately 14 x 14 inches, having hexagonal form, and weighing approximately 96 lbs. The quartz was sold to a rockshop in Beaumont, CA, and was said to have the potential of being cut into a superior quality 10 inch sphere or crystal ball. Many fine mineral examples were also acquired by William F. Larson, some of which are displayed at the Collector in Fallbrook, CA.

In 1994, Otto Komarek discovered another pocket exposed on the NE side of the claim (bottom of canyon) which produced many fine almandine crystals, the largest being described as approximately "walnut-sized". The dimensions of this pocket upon extraction measured approximately 10 x 10 feet, and was referred to as the "Garnet Pit". In 1996, several light grayish to greenish brown ferro-axinite crystals measuring up to 20mm tall, some with small dark orangey reddish black tourmalines and minor feldspar (albite); were discovered during additional prospecting of the northeast mine area. Hand tool work produced several deep brownish red garnet crystals of equant form and good clarity, measuring up to 20mm. Many black tourmaline crystals with slightly etched cat's eye basal pyramid terminations were discovered, measuring nearly 10cm tall, some combined with several deep orangey red almandine crystals studded across the side.

Analytical studies performed on some of these tourmaline crystals show a series between dravite and schorl: dravite (Cal Graeber of Fallbrook, CA; report to Osborn; laboratory results; hair-like dravite needles on schorl). Additionally, the largest cassiterite discovered weighed approximately 12 lbs (single crystal shattered to pieces), while a whole or fully formed crystal specimen was acquired by Cal Graeber and later sold to Dr. Rob Lavinsky, the specimen weighing approximately 9 lbs and associated with minor albite and overlaying schorl; measuring approximately 12.4x9.1x7cm. This specimen is said to be the largest single cassiterite crystal from California in existence.

In 2001 additional prospecting just northeast of the large road pocket produced several small light grayish greenish blue beryl crystals up to 18mm tall. In Febuary of 2006, a new zone of mineralization was discovered which to date has produced several pounds of schorl, quartz, and feldspar group minerals. One of the largest schorl crystals recovered stands over 8 inches tall, and some tabular quartz crystals have been found measuring up to 12 inches or more in length. (Osborn 2006)

Mineral List

Albite
var: Cleavelandite
Almandine
'Almandine-Spessartine Series'
Axinite-(Fe)
'Axinite Group'
Beryl
Beryl
var: Aquamarine

var: Goshenite
Cassiterite
'Clay'
'Columbite'
Dravite ?
'Dravite-Schorl Series' ?
'Feldspar Group'
Fluorapatite
'Garnet'
'Mica Group'
Microcline
Monazite-(Ce)
Muscovite
Orthoclase
Quartz
var: Smoky Quartz
Schorl
Spessartine
'Tourmaline'
Xenotime-(Y)


28 entries listed. 15 valid minerals.

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References

Sampson, R. J., Tucker, W. B. (1945), Mineral Resources of Riverside County; California Division of Mines & Geology, 41 (3); p. 165.

Saul, R. B. et al. (1970), pp. 242-244, 246-249, 253-255, 263-264.

Gochenour, K. (1988), Black Tourmaline from Little Cahuilla Mountain, Riverside County, California. Rocks and Minerals, 63 (6): pp. 440-444.

Austin, G. T. (1993), Gemstones, 1992; U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines: 29 pp.; Directory of Principal Gem Stone Producers in the United States, Summary Supplement, Mineral Industry Surveys, USDI, Bureau of Mines (Audrey Lynne (sic) as reported by Osborne (sic), P.).

Cordova, E. M. (1995), Audrey Lynn mine field analysis; inspection of the Osborn workings, and valuable mineral discovery (Personal communication to Scott L. Ritchie, SDMC, Nov.)

San Diego Mining Company (1998), Cordova, E. M., Ritchie, S. L., Polk, M. T.; Audrey Lynn mine field analysis, Jan.

Fisher, J. (2002), Gem and rare-element pegmatites of southern California: The Mineralogical Record bi-monthly magazine, Vol. 33: p. 369. Mineralogical Record Inc., Tucson, AZ.

Osborn, P. (2006), Personal communication between Philip Osborn, Hemet CA. (discoverer/owner) and Scott L. Ritchie, SDMC; 07/25.

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