Borax Mine In California
August 13, 2015
The U.S. Borax Mine in the barren Mojave Desert is California's largest open-pit mine. It's located near the community of Boron, about 100 mi (160 km) northeast of Los Angeles. This mine supplies a major portion of the world's refined boron and borate compounds. Borax has a wide variety of uses including detergents, ceramics, cosmetics, medications, and even as a food additive, although this use is now banned in the United States due to its mild toxicity. Natural borax sources also include the historic deposits in Death Valley, California, (Twenty Mule Team Borax) and remains of alkaline lakes in desert environments all over the world.
The inset photo shows crystals of the borate mineral ulexite, a complex boron mineral compound (hydrated sodium calcium borate hydroxide) common at this mine. It's known as natural “TV stone” for its interesting fiber optic properties.
Photo Details: Top: Camera Maker: Konica Minolta Camera, Inc.; Camera Model: DiMAGE A2; Focal Length: 50.8mm (35mm equivalent: 200mm); Aperture: ƒ/9.0; Exposure Time: 0.0080 s (1/125); ISO equiv: 64; Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.0 Macintosh.