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Mississippi Valley Type deposits

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 05:00 PM

Most mineral collections contain one, two or more specimens from the mining regions of Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma and even Wisconsin. The deposits are large and hosted within the giant limestone formations. This Special Edition will showcase the fabulous Galena, Fluorite and Sphalerite etc found at the these classic US mining districts.

Calcite

phantom - #PD37852
Locality
Shullsburg, Lafayette Co., Wisconsin, United States 
Formula
CaCO3 
Availability
Sold
Size
5.5 x 4 x 5 cm - Sm Cabinet 
Tagged
carbonate  

A large second generation 4cm rhombic Calcite crystal on a previous Calcite growths. The specimen features a good phantom crystal (last photo) can be easily seen in person as a large scalenahedral crystal shooting up through the center of the larger rhombic crystal cap.

The area of Shullsburg, Lafayette County in the southwestern corner of Wisconsin contains numerous old mines and are a major part of Upper Mississippi Valley zinc-lead district. This district covers areas in the neighboring states of Iowa and Illinois. Crystals such as these, common at one time, are very hard to obtain these days. Very minor scuffying on this specimen.


Calcite

Formula
CaCO3 
Crystal System
Trigonal 
Crystal Habit
Crystalline - Coarse, Stalactitic, Massive 
Cleavage
Perfect, Perfect, Perfect 
Luster
Vitreous (Glassy) 
Color
colorless, white, pink, yellow, brown 
Streak
white 
Class
Trigonal - Hexagonal Scalenohedral 
Fracture
Brittle - Conchoidal 
Hardness
Collection
Phillips Collection
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Chalcopyrite

with Dolomite & Galena - #PD37857
Locality
Sweetwater mine, Viburnum Trend, Reynolds Co., Missouri, United States 
Formula
Cu1+Fe3+S2 
Availability
Sold
Size
10 x 5.5 x 3.5 cm - Cabinet 
Tagged
sulfide  

White Dolomite rhombs to 5mm with scattered goldn crystals of Chalcopyrite to 1mm or so. Also on the specimen are the ubiquitous Galena crystals (6mm).


Chalcopyrite

Formula
Cu1+Fe3+S2 
Crystal System
Tetragonal 
Crystal Habit
Euhedral Crystals, Striated, Druse 
Cleavage
Indistinct, None, None 
Luster
Metallic 
Color
brass yellow, honey yellow 
Streak
greenish black 
Class
Tetragonal - Scalenohedral 
Fracture
Brittle 
Hardness
3.5 
Collection
Phillips Collection

Fluorite

on Calcite - #37848
Locality
Elmwood mine, Smith Co., Tennessee, United States 
Formula
CaF2 
Availability
Sold
Size
19 x 10 x 7 cm - Cabinet 

This is a large beautiful specien of mostly Calcite but scatterd on the Calcite are light purple etched Fluorite crystals. The Calcite is lustrous with amber tips on all the crystals and white cores. There is virtually no damage except for a tiny ding on one of the crystals.

The lead-zinc deposits of Tennessee fit the classic definition of MVT deposits - a host of dolomitic beds, simple mineralogy, low-temperature of formation. These deposits lie within dolomitized Mascot Dolomit of early Ordivician age. The deposits were discovered by the New Jersey Zinc Company in the mid 1960's.


Fluorite

Formula
CaF2 
Crystal System
Isometric 
Crystal Habit
Crystalline - Coarse, Massive - Granular, Disseminated 
Cleavage
Three perfect, octahedral cleavages. 
Luster
Vitreous (Glassy) 
Color
purple, clear, yellow, green, red, blue 
Streak
white 
Geological Setting
Occurs in a wide range of geologic environments including low temperature Missississippi Valley lead-zinc deposits, hydrothermal gold deposits, Alpine cleft metamorphic environments  
Class
Isometric - Hexoctahedral 
Fracture
Uneven 
Hardness
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Fluorite

with Galena - #GJ37978
Locality
Royal Flush mine, Bingham, Hansonburg dist., Socorro Co., New Mexico, United States 
Formula
CaF2 
Availability
Sold
Size
9 x 8 x 6 cm - Sm Cabinet 

The specimen is a bit beat-up, but I wanted a good example of this western MVT deposit. The crystals of Fluorite are 8mm with 1cm Galena crystals. The Hansonburg district is located on the west flank of the Oscura Mountains. Like all MVT deposits, the mineralization in this district is hosted within a dolomitized limestone of the Pennsylvanian Madera Limestone Formation.


Fluorite

Formula
CaF2 
Crystal System
Isometric 
Crystal Habit
Crystalline - Coarse, Massive - Granular, Disseminated 
Cleavage
Three perfect, octahedral cleavages. 
Luster
Vitreous (Glassy) 
Color
purple, clear, yellow, green, red, blue 
Streak
white 
Geological Setting
Occurs in a wide range of geologic environments including low temperature Missississippi Valley lead-zinc deposits, hydrothermal gold deposits, Alpine cleft metamorphic environments  
Class
Isometric - Hexoctahedral 
Fracture
Uneven 
Hardness
Collection
Jungles Collection
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Fluorite

with Galena - #GJ37977
Locality
Royal Flush mine, Bingham, Hansonburg dist., Socorro Co., New Mexico, United States 
Formula
CaF2 
Availability
Sold
Size
12 x 6.5 x 3 cm - Cabinet 

Rich purple Fluorite to 8mm with smaller 3-4mm Galena cubes.


Fluorite

Formula
CaF2 
Crystal System
Isometric 
Crystal Habit
Crystalline - Coarse, Massive - Granular, Disseminated 
Cleavage
Three perfect, octahedral cleavages. 
Luster
Vitreous (Glassy) 
Color
purple, clear, yellow, green, red, blue 
Streak
white 
Geological Setting
Occurs in a wide range of geologic environments including low temperature Missississippi Valley lead-zinc deposits, hydrothermal gold deposits, Alpine cleft metamorphic environments  
Class
Isometric - Hexoctahedral 
Fracture
Uneven 
Hardness
Collection
Jungles Collection
Mineralpedia
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Galena

on Sphalerite - #PD37855
Locality
Black Jack mine, Galena, Jo Daviess Co., Illinois, United States 
Formula
PbS 
Availability
Sold
Size
11 x 10 x 5.5 cm - Cabinet 
Tagged
sulfide  

This is a cool specimen. You probably won't see a good one like this from Galena, Illinois again. The crystals, though with a dull luster, are smooth, sharp and well defined. It is a spectacular ore example from this old American deposit. The only problem with it is a gash in the crystals off to the right in the photos. The matrix is solid Sphalerite. The backside is a plate composed of tiny white Dolomite crystals, Pyrite, and 3-5mm yellow Sphalerite crystals (photos). The DuFoe label states that Smithsonite and Wurtzite can also be found on this specimen. I don't see it, and I belive they mistook the nice yellow Sphalerite for Wurtzite. The label states circa 1969.

The history of this large district, which extends into Wisconsin and Iowa, dates back to 1845. Mining in this district peaked in 1916 during World War I and is said to have had the longest recorded production history in the United States. A good article on MVT deposits can be found in Rocks & Minerals, v64 n1 1989 by Rayond Lasmanis. Much of the information in this Special Edition was found in this excellent article.


Galena

Formula
PbS 
Crystal System
Isometric 
Crystal Habit
Euhedral Crystals, Massive - Granular, Massive 
Cleavage
Perfect, Perfect, Perfect 
Luster
Metallic 
Color
light lead gray, dark lead gray 
Streak
grayish black 
Class
Isometric - Hexoctahedral 
Fracture
Brittle 
Hardness
2.5 
Collection
Phillips Collection
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