Chalcopyrite (January 4th, 2016)
Happy New Year! After a break, Mineral Monday is back!
Starting the year with a relatively common mineral, chalcopyrite. This is a sulphide mineral that is a source of copper ore, and is found in a variety of geological settings, often associated with gold and other metals.
This beautiful specimen was collected in the Gillies Bay area of Texada Island in British Columbia, although its exact source is unknown.
This area of Texada has an interesting geological past, mainly consisting of limestones deposited in a warm, shallow sea that are layered with volcanic ash from ancient volcanoes. These layers were deeply buried and compressed as the island chains smashed against the western edge of the North American continent, heating them up and being intruded by magma.
The heat, pressure and fluids in the rocks kickstarted the alteration of the subterranean environment, and new elements were introduced (such as copper) that mixed with others already present. As the system matured and cooled, new minerals were deposited, including this specimen which would have formed in a void / fracture in the rock. The limestone itself became injected with copper and gold minerals, and turned into a rock we call a ‘skarn’. These skarns, and the minerals within, have been mined since the late 1800’s on Texada Island, and continue to provide ore today.
Collection: UBC Geological and Mineral Collection
Accession #: 6845
Primary Mineral: Chalcopyrite
Secondary Mineral: Quartz
Site Locality: Gillies Bay
Location: Texada Island, British Columbia
Special Features: n/a