Trona – This is an old brief article that I wrote about Trona back on March 21, 2018. Trona seems like a rather obscure place only because not many of us, even in California, have heard of it. We are certainly hearing about it now that it happens to be the closest town to the significant earthquakes in the Mojave Desert yesterday and on July 4.

Tony Tomeo


That is what this seemingly disorganized jumble of letters and numbers represents; the chemical formula for the mineral known as trona. It is what a certain small town in the very northwestern corner of San Bernardino County is named for. Trona is one of a few minerals mined and refined there. Apparently, not much else happens there.

Trona the town is about as out of the way as one can get in the contiguous United States of American. Death Valley to the northeast at least gets tourists. Not much flora survives in the hellish summer heat and caustically saline soil. The athletic field at Trona High School is famous for being grassless dirt. Even the now defunct golf course was dirt. Roofs are more important for providing shade than for keeping the four inches of annual rainfall out. A leaky house is more likely to petrify before it rots…

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9 thoughts on “Na2CO3•NaHCO3•2H2O

    1. It might be home. I would still live in town if I could, even though I know there are better places to live, just because it is my home. I know people who enjoy living in Los Angeles; and they don’t understand why everyone else does not want to live there too. I would prefer to be in Trona than Los Angeles, even if gardening would be extremely limited.

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  1. Wow is right! I was looking at the aerial photo and thought, there’s almost no plant life there, but I’d never heard of the mineral, which seems … salt-like.


    1. Yes, it is too caustic for much flora to survive. Trona actually includes two other small towns. Arugus to the south is not quite as old. Pioneer Point to the north has slight better soil, where a few palm trees survive where watered.

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  2. This just reinforces something I’ve learned about California: the variety there is even greater than the tourist brochures advertise. It certainly is more than redwoods and grapevines — thanks for the information about this hard-hit area.

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    1. The diversity is why the entertainment industry was established in Niles before relocating to Hollywood. There is such a variety of scenery available within driving distance. There are more climate zones just between here and the Santa Clara Valley fifteen miles away than the entire state of Oklahoma, and probably a few states around it as well.

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