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Book Chapter

The Economic Development of Searles Lake

By
Gail F. Moulton, Jr.
Gail F. Moulton, Jr.
North American Chemical Company, Trona, CA.
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James L. Fairchild
James L. Fairchild
North American Chemical Company, Trona, CA.
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Published:
January 01, 1991

Abstract

The evaporite beds of Searles Lake were formed by desiccation of runoff from the eastern Sierra Nevada range. The resulting series of brine-bearing salt beds supply feed for the chemical plants on its shore. Minerals have been extracted since 1873, beginning with borax and raw trona scraped from the surface. Brine processing began in 1914 with potassium chloride and borax recovery. Expansions have added sodium sulfate and soda ash to the product mix. Current production methods include evaporation and crystallization for potash and borax, carbonation for soda ash, refrigeration for borax and sodium sulfate, solvent extraction for boric acid, and dredging for trona ore.

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Contents

Society of Economic Geologists Guidebook Series

The Diversity of Mineral and Energy Resources of Southern California

Michael A. McKibben
Michael A. McKibben
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
12
ISBN electronic:
9781934969656
Publication date:
January 01, 1991

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