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Archive for April, 2009

Albite is a sodium plagioclase, chemical formula Na(AlSi3O8). It is appropriately named after albus which means “white” in latin. Indeed, albite’s color is typically white, but can be colorless, red, blue, grey, and green. It has a hardness of 6-6.5, about the same as quartz, but can be distinguished from quartz because albite is biaxial and has cleavage, and exhibits a bladed or platy habit. Albite is also mainly found in igneous rocks.

albm110

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Gold, Gold, Gold!!

I decided to post about gold, considering we don’t have any specimens at UPJ, and you never know when you might come across a seam and hit it rich. Gold is not only a mineral, it is a rare earth element, and a metal. This means that a sample of entirely pure gold contains ONLY atoms of gold, no atoms of any other element, whereas a mineral is a mixture of many various elements. Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals. A single ounce, just over 28 grams, can be beaten into a sheet nearly 5 meters on each side! This gold sheet is only a few atoms thick. Gold has been praised for millenia for its beauty and malleability, making it useful for jewelry and decorations. It’s atomic number is 79, and it’s atomic mass (the number of protons and neutrons) is 196.966

gold

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Serpentine

Serpentine is commonly mistaken for one mineral; in fact, serpentine represents an entire group of polymorphic minerals, known as serpentine-kaolinite group. These polymorphic minerals have basically the same chemical formula, but exhibit minor differences in structure. Serpentine minerals are found in the silicate group, and in the subgroup phyllosilicates, due to the structural formation of silicate tetrahedra plates with an Mg(OH)2 group between the tetrahedra plates. This stacking is common in the mineral brucite, and these sheets are called brucite layers. Disparities in the stacking of these layers accounts for the polymorphs associated with the serpentine group. Like many members of the phyllosilicate group, serpentine crystals are translucent, while masses are opaque, and have a low specific density and low hardness. These minerals also exhibit colors such as olive green, yellow/gold, brown, and black with a waxy luster. This mineral group is associated with asbestos growth, the fibers of which can cause cancer, so be careful when examining these minerals.

serpentine3

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Norris hite

For my last post I figured I would make it the best one yet…Norris hite!! Yes they named a mineral after Chuck himself(not really actually it was named after Keith Norrish from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia.)  Norrishite[K(Mn2Li)Si4O10(O)2] is a manganiferous schist, formed through metamorphism of a manganese deposit.  It’s found mostly in Australia and has perfect cleavage.  It is brownish black to black, is translucent, and has a hardness of 2.5.  It’s biaxial and is radioactive, but it is barely detectable.

Norrishite

Norrishite

Norrishite

Norrishite

The real reason...

The real reason...

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Iowaite

I picked Iowaite[Mg4Fe(OH)8Clx2-4(H2O)] because it has the name of a state in it and I think thats pretty cool.  It’s found mostly in Sioux county, Iowa and has perfect cleavage(thatswatshesaid).  It is bluish green, greenish white, or honey yellow.  Its platy and forms in sheets.  It is relatively soft, with a hardness of 1.5.  It leaves a white streak and has a greasy luster.  It is also transparent and is not radioactive.

Iowaite

Iowaite

chucknorris

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Pabstite

I picked Pabstite [Ba(Sn.77Ti.23)Si3O9] because it reminded me PBR…yaaa baby.  It is a barium tin titanium silicate that is usually found in limestone.  It is only mined in Santa Cruz, California and it is also uniaxial.  It occurs in rocks that contain calcite, quartz, phlogopite, tremolite, diopside, and forsterite.  It is very rare to find in the field and when you put it under a shortwave ultraviolet light, a bluish fluorescence can be seen.  It was named after Adolph Pabst, who was a mineralogist and taught at the University of California at Berkeley.  Its color is colorless to white, has a hardness of 6, is transparent to translucent and has a white streak.

Pabstite

Pabstite

Chucks beard lays a smack down

Chucks beard lays a smack down

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Uranopilite

Uranopilite [(UO2)6SO4(OH)6O2x12H2O]  is a pretty cool mineral because it is fluorescent and radioactive.  It is a minor ore of uranium and is straw yellow in color.  It has perfect cleavage, is fluorescent under and ultraviolet light, is nonmagnetic, and has a silky luster.  There isn’t that much information on it but it looked pretty cool and had a weird chemical composition.

Uranopilite

Uranopilite

Hey dogg don't mess with the Norris

Hey dogg don't mess with the Norris

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