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Production has been intermittent in the State since 1893, as shown in the following table:
Reference: State Mineralogist Reports IV, XIII. Bulletins 38, 67. There is no commercial output of native sulphur in California although this mineral has been found to some extent in Colusa, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Lake, Mariposa, San Bernardino, Sonoma, Tehama, and Ventura counties. Production of sulphur is very improbable, in the immediate future, although possibilities of such a condition remain to be proven.
Borax, salt, soda, nitrates and potash are included under this heading. Borax and salt have been produced in California since the sixties, although no official records of output were kept by this Bureau previous to 1887. Soda has had a virtually continuous production since 1894. The nitrates and potash have never been commercially produced in the State, although the future possibilities along these lines are indeed great.
The desert portions of California, located largely in Inyo, Kern, Riverside, Imperial, and San Bernardino counties, are rich in the possession of salines of all descriptions. Ancient lake beds of vast extent are found there, many of which have never yet been exploited to any extent.
The following tabulation shows amount and value of the saline minerals produced in California during the years 1913 and 1914, with increase or decrease in value for 1914 as compared with the previous
Reference: State Mineralogist Reports III, X, XII, XIII. Bulletin 24.
Borax was first discovered in California in the waters of Tuscan Springs in Tehama County, January 8, 1856. Borax Lake, in Lake County, was discovered in September of the same year, by Dr. John A. Veatch. This deposit was worked in 1864-65-66, and during that time produced 1,181,365 pounds of borax. Not till 1873 were the borax deposits of Inyo and San Bernardino counties discovered.
Aside from the above mentioned localities borax is known in Kern, Los Angeles, Imperial, Solano, and Ventura counties.
California is the only state in America producing borax. During 1914 three producers reported an output of 62,500 tons, valued at $1,483,500.
Value of the State's borax output since 1887 is shown in the following table:
Nitrates of sodium, potassium and calcium have been found in various places in the desert regions of the State but no deposit of commercial value has been located as yet. Interest in this class of mineral substance is increasing and closer search may be rewarded by valuable discoveries.
Potash has not previously been commercially produced in California and only during the past few years has this substance created general interest in the State. Considerable money has been spent recently in preliminary work with a view toward developing what are claimed to be immense deposits of potash which lie in the old lake beds of the desert portions of California. The imports of this material from foreign countries have an annual value of many millions of dollars, and a domestic production would be of great value.
During 1914 one producer reported 10 tons reduced from kelp, and valued at $460.
Reference: State Mineralogist Reports II, XII, XIII. Bulletin 24. Most of the salt produced in California is obtained by evaporating the waters of the Pacific Ocean, plants being located on the shores of San Francisco Bay, at Long Beach, and at San Diego. Additional amounts are derived from lakes and lake beds in the desert regions of the State. The salt production of San Bernardino County is derived from deposits of rock salt which are worked by means of quarrying with a steam shovel. A small amount of valuable medicinal salts was produced during the year in Mono and Tehama counties, by evaporation from mineral springs.
Distribution by counties is given herewith:
San Mateo Tehama
Amount and value of annual production of salt in California from 1887 to date is shown in the following tabulation:
Reference: State Mineralogist Reports XII, XIII. Bulletin 24. Soda and soda ash were produced during 1914, amounting to 6,522 tons, valued at $115,396.
The total output, showing amount and value, of this product since the inception of this branch of the mineral industry in California is given in the table which follows: