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The Blue Chihuahua Mine (Where art thou?) by Al Ordway 2003

Last Updated: 3rd Mar 2009

By Scott L. Ritchie

See locality: Blue Chihuahua Mine (Blue Dog), Cooper Canyon District, Riverside Co., California, USA

Reprinted from the monthly Bulletin of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California, January 2003.
© 2003 Mineralogical Society of Southern California, Inc.; Pasadena, CA. Used with permission from the author.
A natural black tourmaline crystal pair; from the Blue Chihuahua mine, Cooper Canyon District, Riverside County, California, USA. Specimen measures approximately 41x67x26mm. Courtesy Pala International, Fallbrook, San Diego County, California.

The Blue Chihuahua Mine.
Where art thou?

Al Ordway

The Blue Chihuahua Mine is listed in Mineralogical Record, Vol: 33, #5 (California Pegmatite’s) as being in Chihuahua Valley. The caption, under the herderite photo, places the location in Chihuahua Valley in the County of San Diego. This mine is also listed in MR, Vol: 8, #6, as being in San Diego County. Minerals of California, by Pemberton, has this herderite occurrence so fouled up that I wouldn't buy the book. Essentially, the Blue Chihuahua Mine continues to be erroneously listed as being in Chihuahua Valley and/or San Diego County.

This pegmatite was located by a Mr. Staley in the late 60's. He brought some specimens to Josie Scripps and asked for the identity of one item (hydroxylherderite). She became partners with Staley and named the pegmatite the Blue Chihuahua Mine (aka. Blue Dog). She then incorporated the help of some of her friends to work this deposit. Bob Bartsch and I were amongst the lucky ones to be taken to this pegmatite in order to assist Josie with the work. A week or so, after being introduced to this fabulous, but small pegmatite, Bob and I were clearing off overburden when approached by Staley.

Apparently, there were conditions involving his partnership with Josie that did not include "helpers!" Staley was irate and stated that he had too much business in Arizona to be a watch dog at his claim. To calm him down, and to alleviate his problem, Bob and I bought out his claim and became, unofficially, partners with Josie (not to mention all of the phantom partners that came there during the week!). Legally speaking, it wasn't even Staley's claim since he had filed it as being in San Diego County. Bob rectified this situation by filing it promptly and properly with the County of Riverside.

The Blue Chihuahua "Mine" lies approximately 800 feet north of the Riverside -San Diego County line in Riverside County. This mine is not in Chihuahua Valley, but three miles north of there. I believe the naming of this pegmatite had no relation to Chihuahua Valley, nor do I know why it is "blue." Any reference to this "mine," outside of the location I just described, is wrong!

I also noted, in the Mineralogical Record’s XXV Index, that hydroxylherderite is listed as occurring at the MGM (Marion Godshaw Memorial) "quarry," is also listed in San Diego County. The MGM, and its neighbor, the Li’l Frenzy are slightly over a half mine north of the Blue Chihuahua "Mine" placing them even deeper into Riverside County.

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