Galena Sphalerite

Virtual Museum ID: 19-KUR19

Specimen Summary

The Estella mine is about 30 kilometres east-northeast of Sullivan, and 10 kilometres north of Kootenay King. The Estella, like Kootenay King, is much higher within the host stratigraphy than Sullivan. It is a vein deposit that dips 55 degrees SW in a panel of very steeply west-dipping strata. There is a streaky layering texture developed between the silver grey galena and the black sphalerite and black non-sulphide rock fragments. Compared to the non-sulphide rock and sphalerite, galena is very ductile at depth and where temperature is very high during mountain building and faulting. This accounts for the layering that might be confused with and called “sedimentary” if the observer were not aware of the other possibility. Sphalerite can vary from white to black and be yellow, brown or red, however at any one mine or location the variation, though extreme, is confined to a limited palette eg. yellow to brown. Colour is also affected by grain size; for example coarse sphalerite at Sullivan is black but very fine is red.

Specimen Data


The information listed below relates to the current holding location or collection that the sample is from, and whether the item is viewable at that location or is part of a private collection. Coordinates are given as guides, and we remind you that collecting specimens from these locations is not allowed. Caution is advised visiting such sites and Below BC assumes no responsibility for any injuries or trespassing charges that may occur as a result of the viewer entering these sites.

Collection Details

Original Collection:

Kimberley Underground Mining Railway (KUR)

Sub Collection:


Collection ID:


Virtual Museum ID:



Date Added to VM:


Location Information

Sample Origin:

Wasa, British Columbia

Specific Site:

Estella Mine

UTM Easting:


UTM Northing:



11 (NAD 83)

Coordinate Accuracy:

Specimen Details

VM Category:


Primary Features:

Galena Sphalerite

Primary Mineral Formula:

PbS · (Zn,Fe)S

Primary Category:


Secondary Features:

Advanced Geological Information


The following section provides geological data relating to the specimen or the site it was collected from, when available. Information has been obtained from various sources including private and government datasets but may not be up to date. Any geological time periods or ages listed often relate to the primary geology of the area, and may not be the actual date of an event such as mineral formation.

Geological Formation:

Helikian Aldridge Formation (Purcell Supergroup)

Geological Period:

Proterozic/Mesozoic (fracture zone)

Stratigraphic Age:

66 to 2500 Million Years Ago

Geological Belt:


Geological Terrane:

Ancestral North America

Minfile ID:


Site Details:

The Estella deposit is a vein-type consisting of massive galena, sphalerite, and pyrite in a zone of fracturing and shearing within Helikian Aldridge Formation (Purcell Supergroup) quartzites and argillites. The fracture zone with the sulphide mineralization is spatially related to the contact of a Mesozoic syenite stock. Quartz is not abundant within the sulphide ore but exists in crosscutting veinlets which carry little or no sulphide. The lode ranges from a single fracture of several centimetres to a zone 4 to 6 metres wide. Locally the ore zone and/or the host stratigraphy is strongly silicified. Although there were sulphides remaining when production ceased, these were for the most part contained in the narrower portions of the fracture systems and hence would not constitute economically recoverable reserves.

Additional Images