Serpentine long fibre asbestos

Virtual Museum ID: 19-StM18

Specimen Summary

Once hailed as a “wonder mineral” for its fire, sound and heatproof properties, asbestos has become notorious for the terrible effects it can have on those who are exposed to it. Its long, flexible fibres can be woven into matting, mixed in with cement to make insulating boards, or teased into soft fluffy insulation. It was widely used throughout the late 19th century and most of the 20th century.

Even today, asbestos still poses a threat to health because it was used in many homes and public buildings. Fortunately, people are now aware of the risks and can use personal protective equipment when doing work like renovating and removing asbestos to avoid breathing in and touching the fibres.

Asbestos refers to a group of fibrous minerals, including “white asbestos” (chrysotile), “blue asbestos” (crocidolite) and “brown asbestos” (amosite). This sample is chrysolite, which forms in environments were ancient oceanic crust is metamorphosed and deformed. Although often much shorter, asbestos fibres can easily grow up to 3 cm long, like the ones in this specimen.

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:

Stewart Museum (StM)

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09 (NAD 83)

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Specimen Details

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Serpentine long fibre asbestos

Primary Mineral Formula:

(Mg,Fe,Ni,Al,Zn,Mn)₂₋₃ (Si,Al,Fe)₂O₅(OH)₄

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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.

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