i think my classmates would find it totally weird if they knew i was creepin' around taking pics of our labs.. oh well! hope you guys like catching a little glimpse of where i spend my days
around the moment i made the discovery of a lifetime.... you can take photos through the ocular lens of a microscope! whaaaa
the colorful blobs are teeny tiny olivine crystals
notice how the colors change as the stage is rotated. those are the same crystals
Lore: According to Greek legend, an angered god was seeking revenge and unleashed tigers upon the first person he saw, a girl named Amethyst. Amethyst was on her way to worship Diana (or Artemis depending on version), who quickly turned Amethyst to a clear stone for protection. The angry god repented, pouring wine over Amethyst the stone, giving it it's purple color. Ever since, amethyst has been used to overcome drunkenness and calm excessive passion.
Chemical Formula: SiO2 (quartz)
Group Classification: tectosilicate
General Info: Currently not agreed upon within the scientific community what causes the purple color in amethyst. Some believe it is due to iron impurities, but you will find just as much literature owing the color to optical strain within the crystal which changes the wavelength of light that reaches your eye. I personally think that explanation is cooler! Quartz variety. Named after the greek word "amethystos," which means not drunken.
Name: clear quartz // silicon dioxide
Chemical Formula: SiO2
Group Classification: tectosilicate (complex structure)
General Info: Highly resistant to weathering, can be found in all three rock types. There are minerals considered quartz varieties and quartz polymorphs. All have the same composition (SiO2) but can look very different. Varieties (amethyst, citrine, chert, flint, agate, jasper, milky quartz, smoky quartz, rose quartz, opal, and chalcedony) are quartz minerals that contain impurities. Polymorphs (stishovite, coesite, tridymite, and cristobalite) differ due to irregularities in formation. For example, stishovite and coesite are found in craters of impact sites due to intense pressure. Cristobalite and tridymite are high temperature, low pressure minerals and are often found with volcanic rocks. Cristobalite is the 'snowflake' in snowflake obsidian.
Occurrence: second most abundant mineral on the planet, locations vary
Typical Uses: optics, abrasives, glass, cement, used for its piezoelectric properties (piezoelectricity means electric charge due to mechanical stress or pressure), circuit boards, computers, radios, clocks, and much more.
This past Wednesday, I traveled to north Jersey, right below the NY border to the Sterling Hill Mine.
I was nervously anticipating the trip, not sure what to expect since this was my first visit to a mine ever. It was eye opening to say the least. Though this mine has been inactive since 1986, safety was the focus of the tour. Did you know women were considered bad luck and not even allowed into mines until into the 70s?? When my professor was a grad student, she had to wait outside until the boys were done. Now that's some bullshit.
Miners had it rough. In some areas, life expectancy was only 36 year old. Something to think about. Everything that isn't biological that you own is made of things that needed to be mined from the earth. All of the minerals and crystals that you covet are mined and used commercially for things you wouldn't ever guess. It all comes from somewhere.
This mine in particular was after franklinite, mined mainly for its zinc, but also its manganese. Thanks to its abundance in this area, Franklin, NJ deemed themselves "The Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World." And that's really the coolest part about franklinite, its fluorescence.
Chemical Formula: (Zn,Mn2+,Fe2+)(Fe3+,Mn3+)2O4
Group Classification: oxide
General Info: Franklinite (black/fluoresces green) is often found with zincite (reddish/brown), willemite (green), and calcite (white/fluoresces red). bound by regional metamorphism.
Typical Uses: Zinc ore for: brass, bronze, galvanizing metals, agricultural use, chemical industry, paint, rubber. Manganese ore for: steel, golf clubs, glazes, batteries, added to metals to resist corrosion, railroad tracks, rifles, cannons.
Name: moonstone (oligoclase)
Chemical Formula: (Na,Ca)(Si,Al)4O8
Group Classification: plagioclase feldspar (tectosilicate)
General Info: Plagioclase feldspars are solid solution minerals, meaning there is complete mixing between the two end members (albite and anorthite), resulting in different, but closely related minerals. Sister to labradorite, moonstone is also a member of this series.
Occurrence: Australia, Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, US
Chemical Formula: SiO2 (quartz)
Group Classification: tectosilicate
General Info: Quartz variety. Color produced from radioactivity, possible impurities of aluminum and lithium. There is still debate over what exactly causes the colors we see in quartz varieties. The mineral itself is not radioactive, it has just basically been burnt by radioactive elements present during its formation. Artificially heat treated amethyst can produce a yellow quartz (heat treated amethyst usually produces a citrine with intense yellow tips). Both natural and artificial varieties can be used in healing. Named after French word for lemon, "citron"
Occurrence: Same environments in which smoky quartz forms (intrusive igneous rocks with traces of radioactive elements that cause yellow coloration). Brazil, Madagascar, Spain, Russia, Congo, Kazakhstan, Namibia, US (California, Nevada, Colorado, Georgia)
*from Love is in the Earth by Melody
Lore: An Inuit legend tells of the Aurora Borealis being trapped in stone until a lone warrior freed the light with a blow from his spear. Much of the light was able to escape, but some remained trapped, leaving us the labradorite we have today. Other legends describe the mineral falling down from the Northern Lights themselves. In both instances, labradorite held mystical meaning from a realm not fully understood.
Classification: tectosilicate (plagioclase feldspar)
General Info: The plagioclase feldspars are solid solution minerals, meaning there is complete mixing between the two end members (albite and anorthite), resulting in different, but closely related minerals. Labradorite and moonstone are both members of this series. Because feldspars are stable in such a wide range of environments, they are the most abundant mineral on the planet. Labradorite in particular forms significant plutonic (underground) formations in magma chambers (igneous).
Occurrence: Discovered in Labrador, Canada. Also found in Madagascar, Japan, Finland, Mexico, US, etc.