Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Blue Cloud Chinchilla Dust Mine
Bouquet Canyon

Located just out of view from Bouquet Canyon Road at Hayfork Road is the Blue Cloud Mineral Co., a world-leading source of high-grade chinchilla dust.

We would like to give credit where it's due, but we don't know who shot these photographs, which were posted to a photo sharing site. They show mine owner Norman Harris (1941-2013), a professional ceramics engineer, and wife Cynthia Neal-Harris with a customer, Linda Parks, president and CEO of Lixit Corp., a manufacturer of pet supplies.

Born in Newhall, Norman Harris was the second-generation owner of the Blue Cloud mine. His father, Walter C. Harris, was company president at least as early as 1953. It was a chinchilla dust mine then, too[1].

Chinchilla dust is a powder used in dry bathing. To stay clean and heathy, chinchillas must roll in special dust that penetrates their coat and absorbs oil and dirt from their fur. Manufactured for this express purpose (and for hamsters and gerbils), Blue Cloud chilchilla dust — a variety marketed under different brand names — mimics the dust found in chinchillas' natural South American habitat.

The condensed volcanic ash, or tuff, found in this part of Bouquet Canyon is processed at the Blue Cloud Mineral Co.'s mill on Bouquet Canyon Road and then packaged, in this instance, by Lixit at its facility in Napa, Calif. Lixit advertises that its Blue Cloud chinchilla dust is a "very fine powder (which) contains no glass or sand."

The final two photos in this sequence show a domesticated chinchilla rolling in dust and the Lixit product.

As of 2016, the mine is closed; the property is gated and no trespassing is allowed.

1. "California Journal of Mines and Geology," Vol. 50, Nos. 3-4, July-October 1954 (pg. 688).

Detail from first photo. Click image to enlarge.

LW2981: Download original images here.

Blue Cloud Mine

Tuff, Bouquet Cyn.

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