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Kern County

  • Kern County – List of Stone Quarries, Etc.
  • Kern County Limestone (circa 1906) – Excerpt from The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.
  • Kern County Limestone, Marble, & Sandstone Resources circa 1913 – Included in chapter in “California” (pdf), by G. F. Loughlin, in the Mineral Resources of the United States Calendar Year 1913, Part II. Nonmetals, United States Geological Survey, 1914.
  • Kern County Mines and Mineral Resources (circa 1913-1914) - Excerpts from Report XIV of the State Mineralogist - Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report - Biennial Period 1913-1914, Part IV. “The Counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus,” by G. Chester Brown, Field Assistant (field work in September, 1914), San Francisco, California, July, 1915, 1916.
  • Kern County Mineral Industry (circa 1919) - Excerpt from California Mineral Production for 1919, Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, 1920.
  • Kern County Limestone Industry and Deposits (through 1947) - Excerpt from “Limestone in California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California.
  • Kern County Mineral Resources (circa 1949) - Excerpt from “Mineral Resources of Kern County, California,” by W. B. Tucker, R. J. Sampson, and G. B. Oakeshott, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 45, No. 2, April 1949.

  • Kern County Limestone (circa 1906) - Excerpts from The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "The lime industry is a large and important one at Tehachapi, Kern County, on the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads. The industry began a great many years ago by burning the lime for local use, and then for shipment to other points, until now the Tehachapi lime is known all over southern California. The first lime was burned in the rudely constructed 'pot kilns,' built of stone, some of them brick-lined. At present the lime is all burned in modern kilns. Sometimes oil and sometimes wood is used for fuel. The oil is the cheaper fuel, but it is claimed that for certain purposes the lime made with oil is inferior to the wood-burned lime, hence part of it is burned with wood. The wood is obtained on the hills about the quarries, where it grows in considerable quantities.

    "Limestone outcrops at many other points in this area, where it is possible to open quarries in the future. There have been a number of small quarries opened at different points, where the lime has been burned, mostly for local use, but from some of the quarries it has been shipped to different points. None of these were in operation in 1904. From one of these quarries in the vicinity of Tehachapi some marble is said to have been quarried and shipped a few years ago."

  • Kern County Mines and Mineral Resources (circa 1913-1914) - Excerpts from Report XIV of the State Mineralogist - Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report - Biennial Period 1913-1914, Part IV. "The Counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus," by G. Chester Brown, Field Assistant (field work in September, 1914), San Francisco, California, July, 1915, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 173-370.

    Introduction (to Kern County).

    "Kern, the leading mineral producing county of California, consisting of 8100 square miles, was organized in April, 1866. It is the third largest county in the State, and is bounded on the north by Tulare, Kings, and Inyo, on the south by Los Angeles and Ventura, on the east by San Bernardino, and on the west by San Luis Obispo. It is characterized by greater variety and contrasts of topography, geology, climate, and resources than any other California county.

    "This territory embraces the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, thus affording a large area of land for agricultural purposes.

    "The wonderful development of the petroleum industry since 1900 has given Kern County first place as a mineral producer.

    Topography (of Kern County).

    "Kern County takes in the southern portion of the Sierra Nevada Range, includes a portion of the Coast Range in its western end, and to the south and east of the Sierras it encloses a large section of the Mojave Desert. The lowest depressions are in its lagoons, where its rivers sink in the plains, some 300 feet above the sea level. It rises from that to 10,000 feet in the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada, its desert region east of the mountains having an elevation of 2751 feet at Mojave, and the mountains to the southwest over 6000 feet. The sierra Nevada crosses the county from the north; Tehachapi Pass, 3964 feet in height, leading southeasterly; Tejon Pass, 5285 feet, and Cañada de las Uvas, about the same, leading southerly.

    "Along the northwestern border is the Diablo Range rising to a height of from 2000 to 3000 feet. From the junction of the Sierra Nevada and the Coast ranges, the San Emigdio mountains project 20 miles northward into the valley.

    "In the central portion of the southern end of the valley are Kern and Buena Vista lakes, the first covering an area of 13 square miles, and the other 25 square miles, receiving the water of the Kern River through a large number of sloughs, creating an extensive delta of marsh lands. This section has a drainage by Buena Vista Slough to Tulare Lake, 35 miles northwest. By the diversion of the water of Kern River and drainage of the basins, the lakes have become practically dry and much of their former beds are under cultivation.

    There are in the county numerous mountain valleys of considerable extent. Poso Flat, Little Poso, and Linn Valley are beautiful parks on Poso Creek, in Greenhorn Mountains, a spur of the Sierra Nevada, west of Kern River. Havilah, once the county seat, and a famous mining town, is in a deep valley of Clear Creek, a branch of Kern, 35 miles northeast of Bakersfield. Tehachapi Valley extends from the summit of the Sierra Nevada at Tehachapi Pass southeast along the valley of Cameron Creek, into the Mojave Desert, having a length of some 8 miles, and from ¼ to 1 mile in width, containing the town of the same name and numerous thrifty farms. Southwest of these are the similar valleys of the Tejon, Las Uvas, San Emigdio, Zapatero, Palita, Castera, and La Siebra.

    Streams (in Kern County).

    "Kern River and Poso Creek are the principal streams of the county, Kern being the third in magnitude of the rivers flowing from the Sierra Nevada south of the Sacramento (see Photo 1). This river with a catchment area of 2383 square miles, rises among the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada, in the northeastern part of Tulare County, having two large forks flowing southwesterly 125 miles. The stream carries an average flow of 805 cubic feet per second, with a flood flow averaging 2000 second feet. This water flows down a granite channel, dropping 8000 feet before entering the valley, and is one of the important streams of the State for the generating of hydroelectric power. It enters the valley near Bakersfield, then flowing westward divides into many channels, forming an extensive delta known as Kern Island.

    Kern River, above Kernville, during flood period
    Photo No. 1. Kern River, above Kernville, during flood period.

    "Thirty large irrigating canals, comprising a total length of over 300 miles, divert water from this river, and serve some 270,000 acres of fertile and productive land.

    "Poso Creek has its source in many branches high up in the Greenhorn Mountains, the lofty spurs of the Sierra, rising in T. 25 S., R. 30 and 31 E., flowing southerly some 25 miles, then westerly and northwesterly until it sinks in the great valley in T. 25 S., R. 23 E., after a winding course of 75 miles. It has a watershed of 468 square miles.

    "South of Tulare Lake is a region called the 'artesian belt,' which is 35 miles long and from 8 to 12 miles wide, running east and west, for the most part in the heart of the plains. About 150 wells supply water for domestic, stock and irrigation purposes. In the Mountain View Colony there is an artesian well which has thrown 450 gallons a minute for twenty years.

    Climatic conditions (in Kern County).

    "Mining operations can be pursued throughout the entire year, as the snowfall, even in the mountainous regions, is not heavy enough to interfere with work. On the plains the rainfall amounts to about 8 inches per year; the temperature in July or August may reach 110 F., but the absence of humidity makes work not disagreeable.

    Transportation facilities (in Kern County).

    "Two great transcontinental railroads, the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe, pass through the center of the county, in a northerly and southerly direction. From Mojave the Southern Pacific owns and operates the Nevada and California Railroad, reaching Owens River Valley and passing through Nevada to connect with the Southern Pacific, Ogden Route. In the main valley a line of the Southern Pacific runs from Famosa to the east side. The oil fields are reached by branch lines from Bakersfield. Good wagon roads connect the mining districts with the railroads.

    Hydroelectric plants (in Kern County).

    "Pacific Light and Power Corporation maintains a power station at Borel, on the Kern River, which generates 18,000 horsepower, part of which is distributed for mining purposes in the vicinity of Hot Springs Valley, and the balance transmitted to Los Angeles.The company also operates a transmission line at 150,000 volts (the highest in the world circa 1914) through Kern County, from two plants in Fresno, and maintains a substation at Magunden, 4 miles east of Bakersfield.

    "The intake for the Borel power plant is at Kernville, below the mill and powerhouse of the Kern Development Company. The canals and tunnels are lined with concrete and have a capacity of 30,000 miner's inches of water...."

    San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation maintains a generating plant at the mouth of the canyon of the Kern River (1350 kilowatts capacity), and a steam plant in Bakersfield (13,500 kilowatts capacity). This corporation distributes power in the Kern River, Midway, McKittrick, and Sunset oil fields for the purpose of pumping oil.

    "The Bakersfield electric street car system is operated by the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation.

    "Southern California Edison Company maintains a generating plant in the Kern River of 30,000 horsepower capacity, and from this plant current is delivered to Los Angeles, 116 miles distant. In the construction of this plant, the canal, which is 8 2/3 miles long, consists almost entirely of tunnel, with inside measurements of 8 by 9 feet cut through solid rock to a point above where the powerhouse is located. Another plant on the Kern River, now under construction (circa 1914), will exceed 30,000 horsepower capacity. A railroad survey has been completed to connect the Southern Pacific Railroad in order that the power equipment may be delivered at this powerhouse by rail. Two additional power stations are to be constructed at points selected on the Kern River, above Kernville.

    Mineral Resources (in Kern County).

    "Kern County's mineral resources consist of antimony, asphalt, barite, borax, brick, cement, clay, copper, fuller's earth, gems, gold, gypsum, iron, lead, lime, limestone, magnesite, marble, mineral paint, natural gas, petroleum, potash, salt, soapstone, soda, silver, stone industry, sulphur, tungsten and molybdenum."

    Lime and Limestone (in Kern County).

    "The lime industry is a large and important one at Tehachapi, on the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads. The industry began several years ago by burning lime for local use, and then for shipment to other points, until now the Tehachapi lime is known all over southern California.

    "Limestone outcrops at many points in this area, also at Keene, and along Erskine Creek, some 30 miles north of Caliente (see photo No. 11).

    Limestone croppings along Erskine creek
    Photo No. 11. Limestone croppings along Erskine creek.

    Ornamental Stones (in Kern County).

    "Sapphirine chalcedony is found at Kane Springs, in masses of a deep sky-blue color, with the grape-cluster surface characteristic of this material. Undeveloped; extent not determined.

    "This stone was highly valued in ancient times and was a favorite material for the carved Babylonian seals, 3000 to 4000 B.C. That used for this purpose came from Persia.

    "Bibl.: Bull. 37, p. 73.

    Rose quartz and opal reported in Kern County, north of Kernville, by J. W. Stockton, of Wasco."

  • Kern County Mineral Industry (circa 1919) - Excerpt from California Mineral Production for 1919, Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, 1920, pp. 149-150.

    Area: 8,003 square miles.
    Population: 54,843 (1920 census)
    Location: South-central portion of state.

    "Kern County, because of its immensely productive oil fields, stands pre-eminent among all counties of California in the value of its mineral output, the exact figures for 1919 being $67,153,361. This is larger by nearly forty million dollars than the succeeding county on the list. This figure also is approximately four times the value of the total gold output of the entire state for 1919. The 1918 mineral output for Kern County was worth $63,410,685. The increase was due to the enhanced prices for crude oil of all grades.

    "Commercial production for 1919 was as follows:"

    (Headings for the information below are: Substance, Amount, and Value.)

    Brick, 1,709 M., $175,112
    Gold, ---, $230,000 (estimated)
    Lime, 86,952 bbls., $112,724
    Natural gas, 25,363,739 M. cu. ft., $1,618,913
    Petroleum, 47,734,035 bbls., $64,440,947
    Salt, 17,000 tons, $81,000
    Silver, ---, $457,000 (estimated)
    Stone, miscellaneous, ---, $28,320
    Other minerals,* ---, $9,345
    (Total value) $67,153,361

    (* Includes fuller's earth, limestone, and quicksilver.)

    Kern County, 1916 Map, from California Mineral Production for 1919 (with County Maps), Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco: California State Printing Office, 1920, pp. 194. Kern County , 1916 Map, from California Mineral Production for 1919
  • Kern County Limestone & Lime Industry and Deposits (through 1947) - Excerpt from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "For 30 years, from 1894 to 1924, lime production was a substantial item of mineral output from Kern County. Maximum production of 295,613 barrels was reported in 1906, but from that time on, there was a falling off, interrupted by short periods of prosperity, until 1928 when the last activity was reported from the Tehachapi district, where lime-burning had been centered.

    "Meanwhile, a cement plant was erected at Monolith on the railroad a few miles east of the Tehachapi summit, to produce Portland cement for use in building the Owens River-Los Angeles aqueduct. In 1921, this plant was taken over by Monolith Portland Cement Company and has since been operated as a private enterprise. In recent years it has been the only producer of limestone in the county, but all of its product has been used in making cement.

    "The southern termination of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is nearly coincident with the south boundary of Kern County, swinging southwest past Tehachapi to the vicinity of Lebec. The largest part of the eastern half of the county is occupied by granitic rock, mapped as Jurassic acid intrusives. None of the older Cambrian or Archean formations, found farther east in San Bernardino County, have been mapped in Kern County. The limestone deposits are part of the Kernville (Carboniferous ?) series, which includes also quartzite, phyllite, and contact-metamorphic rocks. The geology of the Kernville quadrangle has been mapped by William J. Miller and Robert W. Webb (40),* and it is believed that the extension of such detailed work to the south would show the same formations and relationships. The limestone and associated rocks occur as roof pendants intruded by, or as elongate layers partly enfolded in the later intrusives, with the development of such contact minerals as wollastonite, garnet, and tremolite. The great variety of intrusives, ranging from very basic to highly silicic, ended the coming of the Isabella granodiorite. Subsequent erosion has removed such a great volume of rocks that this once deeply buried Isabella granodiorite is exposed over wide areas, and the limestone remaining represents only a small part of the original beds.

    (* William J. Miller and R. W. Webb, "Descriptive Geology of the Kernville Quadrangle, California," California Division of Mines Report 36, pp. 343-378, 31 figs., pl. 2, 1940.)

    "The larger number of deposits so far mapped are in the two tiers of townships extending south from the northerly county line in R. 33 and 34 E., M.D. past Tehachapi. The most accessible and the only deposits so far developed are those near Tehachapi and Monolith."

  • Kern County Mineral Resources (circa 1949) - Excerpts from "Mineral Resources of Kern County, California," by W. B. Tucker, R. J. Sampson, and G. B. Oakeshott, California Journal of Mines and Geology, pp. Vol. 45, No. 2, April 1949, pp. 203-297. (Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Abstract

    "Kern County, organized in 1866, is in the south-central portion of the state, at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley. Bakersfield, the county seat, is approximately 95 miles north and 35 miles west of Los Angeles. Both of the eastern and western portions of the county are mountainous; the central part lies in the San Joaquin Valley.

    "The western boundary of the county is on the east slope of the Coast Ranges which here are composed of Upper Cretaceous, Upper Eocene, and Lower and Middle Miocene sediments, as shown on the geologic map of California.* Its southern boundary is in the Tehachapi Mountains which are composed largely of Jurassic granodiorite, and lower and Middle Miocene sediments. The eastern portion includes the south end of the Sierra Nevada and part of the Mojave Desert. The Sierra Nevada is predominantly granodiorite. The exposures on the desert consist mainly of the Archean Rand schist, Jurassic acid intrusives, Tertiary volcanics and Miocene nonmarine sediments.

    (* Page 204 footnote: Jenkins, O. P., Geologic map of California, scale 1:500,000, California Div. Mines.)

    "Kern County, as a result of its tremendous production of petroleum and natural gas, was the largest producer of minerals in the state in 1946. Value of its mineral production for that year was $133,082,652.00. Of this total, $126,047,828.00 was the production value for petroleum and natural gas; borates, brick, cement, clay, gold, gypsum, pumice, salt, silver, stone, tungsten ore, and volcanic ash accounted for the rest.

    "The mineral production from the county, including petroleum and natural gas, from 1880 through 1946 has aggregated $2,281,563,642.00. Los Angeles is the only county in the state which has exceeded this production...."

    "Cement is manufactured near Tehachapi by the Monolith Portland Cement Company...."

    Introduction (to Kern County)

    "Kern County, comprising 8,003 square miles, was organized in 1866. It is the third largest county in the state; only San Bernardino and Inyo counties are larger. It is bounded on the north by Tulare, Kings, and Inyo Counties; on the south by Los Angeles and Ventura Counties; on the east by San Bernardino County; and on the west by San Luis Obispo County.

    "Because of its tremendously productive oil fields, it led all counties of the state in mineral production for many years, but from 1924-43, inclusive, it was surpassed by Los Angeles County. This was entirely the result of increased petroleum production in Los Angeles County...."

    Topography (of Kern County)

    "The southern end of the Sierra Nevada is in the southeastern part of the county where it is connected with the Coast Ranges by the Tehachapi Mountains. The western boundary of the county follows the crest of the Coast Ranges.

    "The southern end of the San Joaquin Valley comprises about one-third of the area of the county. The southeastern slope of the Sierra Nevada and a portion of the Mojave Desert are included within its eastern boundaries. Along the northwestern border is the Diablo Range, rising to a height of 3,000 feet. Thus the area contains lofty mountain ranges, a wide and fertile valley, and a desert region.

    Transportation (in Kern County)

    "Two transcontinental railroads, the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe, traverse the central portion of the county in a north-south direction. A branch line of the Southern Pacific skirts the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada from Mojave into Owens Valley. Excellent paved roads traverse the county in all but the more isolated areas, where there are secondary county roads.

    Mineral Resources (in Kern County)

    "Included in the developed and undeveloped mineral resources of the county are antimony, arsenic, asphalt, borax, clay, cement, copper, feldspar, gems, gold, gypsum, iron, lead, limestone, magnesite, marble, mineral paint, natural gas, perlite, petroleum, potash, pumice, salt, silica, silver, soapstone, soda, sulphur, tin, tungsten, volcanic ash, and zinc.

    "This report contains descriptions of mining properties discovered or active since 1933 when the last Division of Mines publication on Kern County was released.* A tabulation of these and older or active properties, together with the bibliography for each, is printed herein...." **

    (* Page 206 footnote: Tucker, W. B., and Sampson, R. J., Gold Resources of Kern County: California Div. Mines Rept. 29, pp. 271-339, 1933.)

    (** Please note: The tabulation will not be presented in this document.)

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