Sightseeing, ghost towns, abandon mines and exquisite rock formations are what tourists see when they travel through the high desert; what people don’t see are the many minerals found out in the area. This story is about one of many minerals found in the high desert: kernite. The following information is according to Wikipedia, Mineralogical Magazine, the Manual of Mineralogy, Kernite Web Mineral, the Handbook of Mineralogy and The Largest Crystals.

  KERNITE - is a hydrated sodium borate hydroxide mineral and is a colorless to white mineral crystallizing in the monoclinic crystal system typically occurring as prismatic to acicular crystals or granular masses. the mineral is relatively soft and light and also exhibit perfect cleavage and a brittle fracture.

  Kernite was discovered in 1926 in Eastern Kern County and later renamed after the county. The location of the discovery was at the U.S. Borax mine in Boron, California in the western Mojave Desert. The discovery material is stored at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. The U.S. Borax mine in Kern County was the only known source of the mineral for a long period of time; most recently, kernite has also been mined in Argentina and Turkey. According to researchers, the largest documented single crystal of kernite measured 2.44 by 0.9 by 0.9 millimeters and weighed approximately 3.8 tons. Kernite is used to produce borax which can be used in a variety of soaps including laundry, dish and hand soap.

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