Sphalerite (November 30th, 2015)

Sphalerite is the main ore mineral for Zinc, and although relatively common, finding it in commercial amounts is somewhat rarer. The zinc will give the mineral a yellow or red hue, but iron can replace the zinc in the atomic structure, making the crystals black. Rarely, cobalt finds its way into the structure, and produces green crystals.

Although Sphalerite is a relatively soft mineral, it can be cut (faceted) into attractive gems which are used for mineral displays.

This particular specimen comes from the Lucky Jim Mine on Quadra Island in BC.

Quadra Island was one of the few Gulf Islands where mining and logging were profitable, and an intense phase of discovery started in 1880.

The Lucky Jim Mine started up in 1903, producing gold and copper ore which peaked in 1911. There were two main shafts which were serviced by huge steam engines with 12ft diameter fly wheels, which provided air for the miners and pumped out water from the mine. The steam engines, fly wheels and shafts (now covered) are still visible at the site.

Alas in 1925, a forest fire ripped through the mine site, and it was never re-opened as the veins were thinner and the gold less profitable.

The story of Lucky Jim was written into a ballad by Gregory Ross in 2009, which tells the story of the mine and describes the lives of the miners working on the site:

Into Quadra Island granite, they sank deep shafts, bold men;
To build the Lucky Jim Mine; the year was 1910.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; life was different then.

Lucky Jim was mined by Finns, in British Columbia’s rain;
Immigrant Canadians, they mined Lucky Jim’s ore vein.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gold, silver, copper; theirs to gain.

In Lucky Jim’s wet darkness, the miners mined each day;
Left forest, lakes, and birds; went deep to earn their pay.

Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; Canada’s people from far away.
“Old Curley” locomotive, met miners at mineshaft;
Emerging into sunlight, those miners smiled and laughed.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; precious metal from deep shaft.

They shipped their ore to Ladysmith, for final preparation;
Crushed the rock then smelted it; three metals separation.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; helped build Canadian nation.

The Union Steamship steamed, to Granite Bay each week;
Steamed Lucky Jim supplies, past Ripple Rock’s dire peak.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; good fortune they did seek.

Fire the pump’s boiler! Pump water from the mine!
Mine that hard rock hard! We need rich ore to refine.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; they climbed mine’s steep incline.

They hammered into granite, they hammered into quartz;
They made the boiler boil, give hot hisses, and short snorts.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; that steam sent sharp reports.

They drilled into white quartz; they drilled into gray granite;
They tended the pump boiler closely; to stoke it and fan it.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; small gold mine on large planet.

They fed the boiler’s firebox, till steam was hissing well;
Then piston pushed, flywheel spun; and push rod rose and fell.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; smell that wood smoke smell.

In log cabin’s cast-iron cook stove, the mine cook baked good bread;
With salmon, and fresh venison; to keep them all well fed.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; their woodstoves glowed orange-red.

They sawed fir for their fires; while jays and squirrels would scold;
Spent nights in warm log cabins, away from wet and cold.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; at nights their tales they told.

Gold mining costs were high…year 1911 proved too thin…
Lucky Jim shut down…and cold water flooded in.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gone was miner’s grin.

Quadra’s 1925 forest fire, burned the Lucky Jim;
Any chance for revival, became rather slim.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gone was gold mine vim.

Year 2006, brought bright end to damp decline;
When fresh Canadian life, woke this mossy forest mine.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; recovery just in time.

Dull for almost a century; now free from any mystery;
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gleam on Canadian history.

Specimen Information

Store: Pacific Museum of the Earth, University of British Columbia
Collection: UBC Geological and Mineral Collection
Accession #: 6846
Primary Mineral: Barite
Secondary Mineral: Fluorite
Site Locality: Rock Candy Mine
Location: Grand Forks, British Columbia
Special Features: n/a

The BC Minerals Projects

Massive Sulphide (MoM-008)

Massive Sulphide (MoM-008)

Scoria (MoM-009)

Scoria (MoM-009)

Rhyolite Expansion Breccia (MoM-007)

Rhyolite Expansion Breccia (MoM-007)

Cinnibar (MoM-006)

Cinnibar (MoM-006)

Hanging Wall Andesite (MoM-005)

Hanging Wall Andesite (MoM-005)

Core (MoM-004)

Core (MoM-004)

Veined Sulphide (MoM-003)

Veined Sulphide (MoM-003)

Bedded Sulphide (MoM-002)

Bedded Sulphide (MoM-002)

Clastic Sulphide (MoM-001)

Clastic Sulphide (MoM-001)

Iniskinites (SEG)

Iniskinites (SEG)

Altered Volcanic Sandstone / Mudstone (A2-03)

Altered Volcanic Sandstone / Mudstone (A2-03)

Coal (B1-04)

Coal (B1-04)

Semi-Massive Sulphide (D2-05)

Semi-Massive Sulphide (D2-05)

Bladed Feldspar Porphyry (V6-05)

Bladed Feldspar Porphyry (V6-05)

Volcanic Sandstone (V5-01)

Volcanic Sandstone (V5-01)

Quartz-Kaolin Sandstone (V2-18a)

Quartz-Kaolin Sandstone (V2-18a)

Rhyolite Breccia (V2-16a)

Rhyolite Breccia (V2-16a)

Ash Flow – Lahar (V2-14a)

Ash Flow – Lahar (V2-14a)

Tuffaceous Mudstone (V2-10a)

Tuffaceous Mudstone (V2-10a)

Rhyolite Lapilli Tuff (V2-8a)

Rhyolite Lapilli Tuff (V2-8a)

Rhyolite Lapilli Tuff (V2-06a)

Rhyolite Lapilli Tuff (V2-06a)

Flow Banded Rhyolite Tuff (V1-08f)

Flow Banded Rhyolite Tuff (V1-08f)

Sandstone (S21-18)

Sandstone (S21-18)

Conglomerate (S21-11)

Conglomerate (S21-11)

Sandstone (S21-01)

Sandstone (S21-01)

Tuffaceous Argillite (S5-10)

Tuffaceous Argillite (S5-10)

Amygdaloidal Basalt Flow (S5-04)

Amygdaloidal Basalt Flow (S5-04)

Sanidine Porphyry Trachyte (S4-03)

Sanidine Porphyry Trachyte (S4-03)

Monotis (SEG)

Monotis (SEG)

Garnet-Staurolite-Muscovite Schist (M1-14)

Garnet-Staurolite-Muscovite Schist (M1-14)

Pyrite-Galena-Calcite Vein(D34-13)

Pyrite-Galena-Calcite Vein(D34-13)

Pyrite-Chalcopyrite-Quartz Vein (D34-19)

Pyrite-Chalcopyrite-Quartz Vein (D34-19)

Siltstone breccia veined by sulphides (D32-04)

Siltstone breccia veined by sulphides (D32-04)

Massive Sulphide ore breccia (D17-07)

Massive Sulphide ore breccia (D17-07)

Siderite cemented breccia (D17-01)

Siderite cemented breccia (D17-01)

Weather Massive Chalcopyrite (D14-13)

Weather Massive Chalcopyrite (D14-13)

Felsic instrusion, brecciated and altered (D4-02)

Felsic instrusion, brecciated and altered (D4-02)

Quartz Sulphide Vein (D2-08)

Quartz Sulphide Vein (D2-08)

Massive Galena (D9-09)

Massive Galena (D9-09)

Chalcopyrite Vein (D14-06)

Chalcopyrite Vein (D14-06)

Andesite/Mercury(Hg) Ore (D1-01)

Andesite/Mercury(Hg) Ore (D1-01)

Quartz Sulphide Vein (D9-05)

Quartz Sulphide Vein (D9-05)

Chloritized Andesite (D5-13)

Chloritized Andesite (D5-13)

Dacite Breccia Sulphide Matrix (D2-06)

Dacite Breccia Sulphide Matrix (D2-06)

Andesite with Gypsum Vein (D1-07)

Andesite with Gypsum Vein (D1-07)

Granodiorite (SEG D1-04)

Granodiorite (SEG D1-04)

Andesite/Mercury(Hg) Ore (SEG D1-02)

Andesite/Mercury(Hg) Ore (SEG D1-02)

Conglomerate (SEG B1-01)

Conglomerate (SEG B1-01)

Fern Fossil (SEG 17LF037)

Fern Fossil (SEG 17LF037)

AME 133 Argentite, Galena, Quartz & Sphalerite

AME 133 Argentite, Galena, Quartz & Sphalerite

AME 93 Scheelite

AME 93 Scheelite

AME 641 Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Quartz Crystals

AME 641 Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Quartz Crystals

AME 582 Gypsum

AME 582 Gypsum

AME 580 Barite

AME 580 Barite

AME 546 Galena, Polybasite, Pyrite & Quartz

AME 546 Galena, Polybasite, Pyrite & Quartz

AME 509 Galena, Quartz, Tetrahedrite

AME 509 Galena, Quartz, Tetrahedrite

AME 483 Malachite (stain), Quartz, Tetrahedrite, Gold

AME 483 Malachite (stain), Quartz, Tetrahedrite, Gold

AME 452 Barite & Tetrahedrite

AME 452 Barite & Tetrahedrite

AME 298 Argentiferous Galena, Chalcopyrite, Gold, Pyrite, Pyrrhotite, Quartz

AME 298 Argentiferous Galena, Chalcopyrite, Gold, Pyrite, Pyrrhotite, Quartz

AME 199 Kyanite

AME 199 Kyanite

AME 106 Arsenopyrite, Gold & Quartz

AME 106 Arsenopyrite, Gold & Quartz

AME 439 Galena, Quartz, Sphalerite, Tetrahedrite

AME 439 Galena, Quartz, Sphalerite, Tetrahedrite

AME 435 Chalcopyrite & Quartz

AME 435 Chalcopyrite & Quartz

AME 194 Helvite

AME 194 Helvite

AME 250 Chalcopyrite, Galena, Pyrite, Quartz & Tetrahedrite

AME 250 Chalcopyrite, Galena, Pyrite, Quartz & Tetrahedrite

AME 158 Chalcopyrite, Pyrrhotite, Sphalerite

AME 158 Chalcopyrite, Pyrrhotite, Sphalerite

AME 148 Galena, Pyrite, Quartz, Scheelite & Sphalerite

AME 148 Galena, Pyrite, Quartz, Scheelite & Sphalerite

AME 143 Cinnabar & Quartz

AME 143 Cinnabar & Quartz

AME 118 Chromite

AME 118 Chromite

AME 87 Galena, Sphalerite, Chalcopyrite, & Pyrite

AME 87 Galena, Sphalerite, Chalcopyrite, & Pyrite

AME 66 Chalcopyrite

AME 66 Chalcopyrite

AME 42 Allemontite

AME 42 Allemontite

AME 21b Bornite

AME 21b Bornite

AME 21 Bornite

AME 21 Bornite

AME 8 Calcite

AME 8 Calcite

PME/IC 106 Gneiss

PME/IC 106 Gneiss

PME 22551 Kyanite

PME 22551 Kyanite

PME 6700 Molybdenite

PME 6700 Molybdenite

PME 6832 Gold

PME 6832 Gold

PME 215 Sphalerite

PME 215 Sphalerite

AME 997 Chalcopyrite & Pyrite

AME 997 Chalcopyrite & Pyrite

AME 994 Bornite & Stromeyerite

AME 994 Bornite & Stromeyerite

AME 991 Chalcopyrite, Molybdenite, Pyrite & Quartz

AME 991 Chalcopyrite, Molybdenite, Pyrite & Quartz

AME 980 Dolomite

AME 980 Dolomite

AME 961 Pyrite, Quartz & Sphalerite

AME 961 Pyrite, Quartz & Sphalerite

AME 941 Iron, Silver, Zinc & Lead

AME 941 Iron, Silver, Zinc & Lead

AME 930 Marble

AME 930 Marble

AME 918s Fossil Sequoia Leaf

AME 918s Fossil Sequoia Leaf

AME 656 Quartz & Pyrite

AME 656 Quartz & Pyrite

AME 555 Gold (Native) & Quartz

AME 555 Gold (Native) & Quartz

AME 506 Barite, Galena, Pyrite, Quartz, Rhodochrosite & Sphalerite

AME 506 Barite, Galena, Pyrite, Quartz, Rhodochrosite & Sphalerite

AME 502 Arsenopyrite, Dolomite, Gold & Quartz

AME 502 Arsenopyrite, Dolomite, Gold & Quartz

AME 486 Argentiferous Galena, Quartz, Sheelite & Sphalerite

AME 486 Argentiferous Galena, Quartz, Sheelite & Sphalerite

AME 482 Calcite, Chalcopyrite & Sphalerite

AME 482 Calcite, Chalcopyrite & Sphalerite

AME 446 Apatite, Orthoclase and Quartz

AME 446 Apatite, Orthoclase and Quartz

AME 417 Fossil Fern

AME 417 Fossil Fern

AME 161 Arsenopyrite, Gold & Pyrite

AME 161 Arsenopyrite, Gold & Pyrite

AME 918f Mayflies

AME 918f Mayflies

PME S74-1068 Galena

PME S74-1068 Galena

PME 1038 Galena

PME 1038 Galena

PME 983 Bornite & Chalcopyrite

PME 983 Bornite & Chalcopyrite

Tetrahedrite

Tetrahedrite

Stibnite

Stibnite

Sphalerite

Sphalerite

Sodalite

Sodalite

Silver

Silver

Pyromorphite

Pyromorphite

Molybdenite

Molybdenite

Gold

Gold

Galena

Galena

Barite

Barite

Antimony

Antimony

Chalcopyrite

Chalcopyrite

Aragonite

Aragonite

Contact Us

The Below BC Geological Association
Suite 415 - 1035 Pacific Street,
Vancouver, British Coumbia, V6E 1S9

Phone: +1 (604) 349 2090
Email: info@belowbc.com

 

Interested in Volunteering?

Fill out the fields below and we will contact you to see what exciting volunteer opportunities might be available to you!

AIRPRESS LOADED

DELAYED QUERY : /VirtualCollections : 0a545f18f3da73a84c6baf6636b1244f VirtualCollections?filterByFormula=OR({VM_ID} = "Sphalerite")