Tag Archives: Crystal mining

The Crystal Mountain

The Crystal Mountain in Egypt (Photos)

The Crystal Mountain (28° 26′ E and 27° 39′ N) between the oasis Bahariya and Farafra, northern of the White Desert, Egypt.

The Crystals are probably Barite (Schwerspat, BaSO4) and/or Calcite crystals (CaCO3). The hill was opened during works at the road from Farafra to Bahariya by accident and destroyed in part.

The hill is not a paleokarst cave with columnar-shaped stalagmites. It is a subvolcanic vault, which was emerged probably during the Oligocene age. The visible layers are e.g. White Desert limestone of the Khoman Fm.* (Late Cretaceous age), as well as a younger coal seam and hydrothermal impregnated reddish to brownish ferruginous layers. The strata are broken or brecciated and intensely with each other folded.

It is to be ascertained intense heat. The coal seam e.g. was transformed to anthracite. The crystals have increased out of climbed hydrovolcanic solutions. The hot solutions were high concentrated with BaSO and/or CaCao, which had been solved from the sediments. The solutions have penetrated into all cavities. After cooling of the solutions the crystals could increase. It were formed columns or round domes with crystals within.

The Barite veins are widely distributed to the south of Gebel El Hafhuf which is composed of a rock sequence including sandstone, shale, limestone, phosphatic limestone and phosphatic calcareous sandstone. This succession is capped by the Oligo-Miocene basaltic sheet which takes the form of open circle of about 20 m thickness.

The Crystal Mountain in Egypt (Photos)
The Crystal Mountain in Egypt (Photos)
The Crystal Mountain in Egypt (Photos)
The Crystal Mountain in Egypt (Photos)
The Crystal Mountain in Egypt (Photos)Read more at Geologyin

The 9 Deadliest Minerals

Cinnabar(HgS)

Mercury sulphide, more commonly known as Cinnabar, has been our primary source for elemental mercury since the earliest days of human civilization. Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.19.19 PMMercury has traditionally been used as a pigment for ceramics and tattoos, though in the modern age, it’s been employed in a wide variety of scientific equipment like thermometers and barometers, as well as a number of heavy industrial applications like precious metal reclamation and chlorine production, not to mention the mercury switches that help modern electronics work. However, when oxidized, this element will produce methyl mercury and dimethyl mercury, two toxic compounds that cause irreparable harm to the nervous systems of children. It is deadly in small concentrations and can be absorbed through the respiratory tract, intestines, or skin.

Pyrite (FeS2)

Both sulphur and sulphuric acid are both used extensively throughout industry. Sulphur can be found in everything from matches and tires to fungicides and fumigants while sulphuric acid is a vital component of many industrial processes from pigments to explosives. And at one time, Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.19.35 PMPyrite, a compound mineral formed from iron and sulphur, was the only place to get them.

This lead to extensive pyrite mining efforts, which in turn lead to devastating environmental damage as the sulphide mine tailings acidified groundwater and nearby streams. Plus, pyrite has a nasty habit of spontaneously combusting when it’s mixed into coal seams and exposed to air, releasing highly toxic metals like Arsenic into the atmosphere as it oxidizes. This is why many coal mines will spray limestone powder onto newly excavated coal seams—it slows the ore’s exothermic oxidation reaction enough to prevent it from exploding.

Fluorite (CaF2)

This gorgeous green gemstone is called Fluorite. Composed of calcium fluoride, it’s commonly found in veins of other ores like iron, coal, and copper. The stone can be used as a smelting flux, though it’s more often seen in jewelry and the lenses of telescopes. And when mixed with sulphuric acid, fluorite produces hydrogen fluoride, an important industrial chemical precursor.

However, fluorite can be quite dangerous to both those who handle it regularly and those who simply happen to live near a flourite mine. Fluorite contains fluorine, Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.19.45 PMa soluble mineral that readily leaches into groundwater supplies and can be absorbed by the lungs if ground into dust or burned in a coal-fired stove.

Once fluorine is in the body, it causes skeletal fluorosis—a painful disease that weakens bones and damages joints. Many rural communities throughout India, China and the rest of Southeast Asia have been beset by outbreaks of the disease due to people drinking contaminated water, as is the case in India, or inhaling the mineral as a fine particulate, as is the case in China. An estimated 10 million people are thought to be afflicted by it in China’s Guizhou province alone.

Read the Full list of potentially dangerous minerals check out Gizmodo