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Mineral Industry, California, 1919

Excerpts from

California Mineral Production for 1919,
Bulletin No. 88

By Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, 1920, pp. 9-14.

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"Bibliography: Report XV. Bulletin 67.

"Previous to the 1915 report dolomite was included under limestone. Limestones are frequently more or less magnesian-bearing, and a chemical analysis is often necessary to definitely decide as to whether they are calcite or dolomite; the latter standing intermediate between magnesite (MgCO3) and calcite (CaCO3). Since dolomite, as such, has been found to have certain distinctive applications, we have deemed it worth of a separate classification.

"The major portion of the tonnage being shipped is utilized as a refractory lining in the bottoms of open-hearth steel furnaces, as a substitute for magnesite. A portion is used for its carbonic acid gas (CO2), and part of its magnesia. We are also informed that some calcined dolomite has been used by the paper mills. As the San Benito and Monterey dolomite has been found to contain the proper proportions of lime and magnesia, it can replace an artificial mixture of calcined limestone and magnesite in the manufacture of paper from wood pulp. Dolomite is also sometimes used as a flux in metal smelting.

"The production of dolomite for the year 1919 amounted to 24,502 tons, valued at $67,953, and came from a total of 6 quarries in 4 counties, distributed as follows:*

The production of dolomite for the year 1919

(* The counties listed in the table are: Monterey, San Benito, Inyo, and San Bernardino.)

"Amount and value of the output of dolomite, annually, have been as follows:"

Amount and value of the output of dolomite


"Bibliography: State Mineralogist Reports IV, XII, XIII, XIV, XV. Bulletin 38. Oregon Agr. College Extension Bulletin 305.

"Limestone was produced in 11 counties during 1919, to the amount of 88,291 tons, valued at $248,145. The very considerable decrease from 208,566 tons, valued at $456,258 in 1918, is due in part to the shutdown of the Shasta County copper smelters, which use large tonnages of limestone as flux. There are also notable decreases in El Dorado and Kern counties. This amount does not include the limestone used in the manufacture of cement nor of lime for building purposes, but accounts for that utilized as a smelter flux, for glass and sugar making, and in other chemical and manufacturing processes (including fertilizers, roofing preparations, whiting for paint, terrazzo, chicken grit, and for CO2).

"In agriculture, the chief reason for the use of lime is now recognized to be that of correcting soil acidity. Lime is stated to be especially necessary for the proper development of the bacteria in the nodules on the rocks of the legumes such as the closers and alfalfa. It will also combine with some of the plant feed materials already in the soil to make them more readily available, and will supply any lack of calcium as a plant food that may exist in the soil. To some extent, certain forms of lime will make heavy soils more friable, thus aiding aeration, cultivation and drainage. It may be applied, ground, in either the burned or unburned form, or as hydrated lime.

"Distribution of the 1919 output is as follows: (The counties listed in the table are: El Dorado, Inyo, Santa Cruz, Tulare, Kern, Plumas, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tuolumne.)

"In the early reports of this Bureau values for lime and limestone were not segregated. the following tabulation shows the total combined value of such material since records for the state were first compiled, in 1887, to date:"

Values for lime and limestone

Mineral Production of California by Counties.


"The State of California includes a total area of 158,360 square miles, of which 155,980 square miles are of land. The maximum width is 235 miles, the minimum, 148 miles; and the length from the northwest corner to the southeast corner is 775 miles. The state is divided into fifty-eight counties. Some minerals of commercial value exists in every county, and during 1919 active production was reported to the State Mining Bureau from fifty-seven counties of the fifty-eight. In the mountainous portions of the state are largely found the vein-forming minerals. In the desert regions of southeastern California ancient lake beds afford supplies of saline deposits. Underlying the interior valleys of the central and southern portion of the state are the large crude-oil reservoirs. Building stones and mineral earths of all descriptions are widely distributed throughout the length and breadth of the state. The 1920 census figures show a total population for California, of 3,437,709.

"Of the first ten counties in point of total output for 1919, six (Kern, Orange, Los Angeles, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Ventura) owe their position mainly to petroleum. Kern, due to its oil, leads all the others by nearly three times the total of Orange, its nearest competitor. Shasta owes its rank to copper, gold, silver, zinc and pyrite, but dropped from sixth place in 1918 to eleventh in 1919 due to the decrease in copper output; San Bernardino, is place on account of potash, tungsten, cement, and copper; Inyo, mainly to borax, lead, tungsten and soda, but dropped from eighth to twelfth place in 1919; and Yuba, Amador, Nevada, mainly to gold. Twenty-two counties have each a total in excess of a million dollars, for 1919. Cement is an important item in six of these counties.

"In point of variety and diversity, Riverside County led all the others in 1919 with a total of 19 different mineral products on its commercial list, followed by San Bernardino with 17, Inyo with 15, Shasta with 14, Los Angeles with 13, Kern and San Diego with 12...."

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