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Pyrite?
  
  Index -> FOR BEGINNERS: What is it? Where is it from?
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2018 19:04    Post subject: Pyrite?  

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 16:14
Subject: Possibly pyrite, or something else?
As I was driving down a dirt road last summer, I came upon a small hilltop and a shimmering rock caught my eye. It sat on my dash for a long time and everyone who saw it asked what it was.
So almost a year ago I joined this forum hoping to see something identical but without any luck actually. So I guess I've been patient but it's time to know what it is. Or what "they" are.
I've studied every which way from Sunday and I can't pinpoint it exactly. But I've learned a great deal about minerals along the way.
I've taken some to Colorado School of Mines and they said Pyrite. That's it, pyrite.
Maybe it is but that doesn't explain why there are so many different species in the same zone. Literally, everything I'm posting is from the same 50' x 50' locale.
Here's what happened. I found this on a dirt road but when I went back a few moths later I started finding more and more in the ditches and on the shoulders. So I asked around and a guy who worked for the county road department told me that particular road base was brought in from a nearby quarry. So I went there, and what I found was an immense amount of this material. The county stopped mining the pit because of this.....pyrite.
They considered it a contaminant due to its sharp texture and being hard on tires.
Anyway, I'm posting a series of images hoping some of you can put the clues together to see exactly what this is.

I'm finding it in between the Niobrara limestone and a type of blue shale. Carlyle or Pierre possibly. And it appears this may be remnants of a black smoker / hydrothermal vent / Cretaceous period or thereabout.

(I'm having some trouble finding link to upload images)



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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2018 19:43    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Couple more.


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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2018 19:43    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

You have pyrite and probably one or several additional minerals. Even to you have posted multiple photos, identifying the other minerals just from the photos, without either testing or knowing specifically the mineralogy of the specific locality is not possible for me.

My best advice to you would be to take it to the upcoming Denver show (which you said you would be attending!) and show your specimen around, in person, for identification. BOB
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2018 19:54    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Thanks Bob. I will do that.
I'll try to explain more here about them and what I've done, test wise.
The shiny metallic samples have no reaction to muriatic acid. But do clean up in 5% vinegar. Actually the surface they're on do but the crystals do not.
They're all non magnetic nor metal-dectorable for lack of a better description, excuse my slang).
They're very heavy, like lead.
The first images are of the shiny matrix minerals and the base they're on is quite mysterious under magnification because it's made up of stacked, white tubular minerals forming a plate that is as tough as nails. Nearly unbreakable.

As for the rusty looking round flourette type, they're a concreting (or cacooning) a metallic globular mineral or metal, not sure which but they're heavy as well.

I'll post an image of this formation. The pit of you will.



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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2018 20:38    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Im thinking its a combination of pyrite, limonite, marcasite, possibly even enargite, hopefully not arsenic, maybe orpiment.
Arsenopyrite. Magnetite. Pyrrhotite.

I just don't know.😕
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Mathias




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PostPosted: Aug 16, 2018 00:30    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Hi Justin,

To me it looks like pyrite and a number or other (hydrated) iron oxides.
Is it possible to find the details of the quarry where it supposedly came from, according to the road worker you've mentioned? Because then you (most probably) can find the quarry on mindat (or elsewhere) and look which minerals have been found in this quarry.

Best regards,
Mathias
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Bob Morgan




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PostPosted: Aug 16, 2018 07:20    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

It's pyrite, Even those pieces that have near aligned stacking are pyrite,

The various colors are a product of various stages of weathering. It's that process that makes pyrite a contaminant. Mine dumps around the world have problems with the products of pyrite weathering and polluting streams. That's probably why the county isn't spreading it around on roads.

As a pyrite collector, I'm impressed with your specimens. They come from a deposit that is likely to have other sulphides. These do not look like what is to be expected from just a rock quarry - more like from a hydrothermal deposit that was mined.


Keep curious and let us know more of what you find.


Bob
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 16, 2018 16:43    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Bob, I can't find any information on Mindat but that's really no suprise considering this quarry is on private land and I'm actually the first to discover this, excluding the county man, but he's the type who could care less about it.

So I think I just answered your question about the location. Ive been digging around in it a few times and get this, im now finding what I think to be smoky quartz. Nice ones in fact. Very gemmy. And one a possible phantom with a little twin. I'll post a pic of one only them but it's not the phantom. My wife stole it and took it to work.
I will also post a pic of the quarry. Its a satellite image but it shows the area of about 15' in diameter that I really believe is a black smoker remnant.
Thanks.

Mathias, here the image of the actual quarry. What's very intriguing to me is how the county decided to pull out and abandon the site just when they hot the pyrite layer. So the excavation down to the interesting minerals have already been done.
Lucky me!
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 16, 2018 18:09    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

That's Bob. It seems I can't post any more images but I'll keep trying to post the quarry pics.
I'll tell you where it is about. Look up the "sand creek massacre" site on google and you'll be within a few miles of it. From there you could probably zero in on the formation / quarry.
Believe me, there's nothing out there but sand and scrub oaks. Its the most inhospitable terrain in the state. No water. Dry creeks. Its through what was the starvation trail back in the mid 1800's. The gold miners and settlers would take that route to the gold fields (Denver) of what was then western Kansas, prior to Colorado becoming a state.

And I think you're right, it's most definitely a hydrothermal vein. You can literally stand on the vent, like a kimberlite pipe so to speak.
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 16, 2018 19:19    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

And Bob, I'd love to see some of your pyrite collection. If you have a link.
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SteveB




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PostPosted: Aug 17, 2018 05:22    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Aside from surface rusting are the “metallic” crystals ALL gold/brass in colour? Its hard to tell from the photos but it seems some are a mix of gold and silver coloured metallic crystals, So you may have Galena in there too. Do any samples show irridescent rainbow sheen on the surface (like petrol on water?) if so you may also have chalcopyrite as well. Some good photos with accurate white balance and lighting would help.

As an aside it may be a good exercise to find or make amap of the location with a 1-5m grid showing where there different minerals are found in relation to each other. This may help others determine the geology of the spot and possibly recommend other minerals to look out for in the location that may result in better specimens. If this is a safe and legal location for you to fossick its always best to try to read the specimens to decide where to look rather than random damaging of the area and if theres a strong chance of related fragile mineral specimens its best to keep in mind to avoid damaging. Also its often good to return to such locations after heavy rains so natural erosion and soil shifts can reveal new specimens and veins but of course be careful of soft ground and “cliff edges” that might give way under foot.
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 17, 2018 17:16    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Steve, thanks for the tips and advice.
As far as whether they're all brassy, no. Some of them are chrome-like. Some are very copperish, but most are almost gold plate like.
And those are the heaviest. Like lead.

But this particular quarry has layers from top to bottom of the excavated cliff wall (around 50') that have different specimens in different zones, from a pearlite layer at the top, transitioning to what looks like an iron layer with the concretions of what looks to be iron pyrite, all in a niobrara limestone, and then it shifts to a blue whale layer where I'm finding these very shiny, I guess a form of pyrite, with framboidial clusters.

But at the very bottom of the cliff I'm now pulling out unbelievably clear and gemmy smoky quartz. And sharks teeth (Maco).
I'd love to take anyone local out there from here and get thier take. Hint hint! (Pete M from Denver)
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Kevin Schofield




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PostPosted: Aug 18, 2018 12:40    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Justin Hickok wrote:
Steve, thanks for the tips and advice.
As far as whether they're all brassy, no. Some of them are chrome-like. Some are very copperish, but most are almost gold plate like.
And those are the heaviest. Like lead.

But this particular quarry has layers from top to bottom of the excavated cliff wall (around 50') that have different specimens in different zones, from a pearlite layer at the top, transitioning to what looks like an iron layer with the concretions of what looks to be iron pyrite, all in a niobrara limestone, and then it shifts to a blue whale layer where I'm finding these very shiny, I guess a form of pyrite, with framboidial clusters.

But at the very bottom of the cliff I'm now pulling out unbelievably clear and gemmy smoky quartz. And sharks teeth (Maco).
I'd love to take anyone local out there from here and get thier take. Hint hint! (Pete M from Denver)


Hi Justin,
always good to have a true enthusiast on these pages! I just wanted to make a comment about your "black smoker" idea. As you are in the shallow marine rocks of the Cretaceous interior seaway, which formed as the foreland basin to the rising mountain chain to the west, it is highly unlikely that you have a black smoker, which is a phenomenon associated with oceanic spreading ridges and some convergent margins or hotspots where superheated mineralized fluids escape from seafloor vents. The Western Interior Seaway was way sleepier than that! Your mineralization must relate to a much later phase of fluids being expelled from deeper in the basin.

_________________
Veni, Vidi, Emi
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 18, 2018 15:19    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

Kevin, thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate being able to learn from you folks here at FMF. And your knowledge and wisdom astounds all of us newbies.

I agree with your assessment of the black smoker theory. More like a hydrothermal vent.
I should've added the photo of the quarry first to let all you see the formation. Although I'm finding these peculiar specimens within a 150' radious, the source of the minerals comes from one obvious source. A vent tube like a small kimberlite pipe.

And walking across the flat excavated ground around the source the ground is hollow underneath about a foot from the surface. And that's how I'm able to find quartz crystals. By tapping the ground with the handle of a spade.
Its really cool. Extraordinary to me anyway.
Thanks Kevin.
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Justin Hickok




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PostPosted: Aug 18, 2018 15:40    Post subject: Re: Pyrite?  

I was gonna ask this the other day, but what's the chance these could've been flourites at one point, prior to pseudo morph into pyrite?
I see so many fluorites with this same crystal habit.
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