Aragonite (december 14th, 2015)

Todays Mineral Monday is one of two forms of calcium carbonate – Aragonite (the other being calcite). Aragonite forms either through chemical or biological processes, being the form that is found in the shells of marine animals.

This specimen was recovered from the Sullivan Mine in Kimberley, British Columbia. The Sullivan Mine was one of the most productive mines in the Province, and contributed to the wealth, infrastructure and history of the area.

The complex ore body contains lead, zinc and silver, and was first discovered in 1892. It was later acquired by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada in 1909, who then developed a new milling process to separate lead and zinc from the ore, which came into effect in 1916 and was largely responsible for the mines economic success. In the early days, mining was ‘conventional’, i.e. by hand using tools in narrow vein, with tunnels being 8ft by 8ft wide and serviced by an extensive underground rail network. In the 1970’s, mechanical mining was introduced by digging 10ft x 10ft tunnels to bring in heavy equipment and the operations expanded.

Ore was partially processed on site, but was shipped to the smelter in Trail for final processing. Had it not been for the mine, the town of Trail would likely never have existed.

The mine officially closed on December 21st, 2001 after 92 years in operation. In that time, it produced over $20billion worth of lead, zinc and silver.

Since closure, the owners (Teck) have been working on remediation of the site, including managing the water draining from the mine (Acid Rock Drainage), as well as rehabilitation of the surface.

Alas the mine was to claim its final four victims on May 17th, 2006. Douglas Erickson was a contractor who had entered the mine to take water samples for routine environmental monitoring. The tunnel had poor oxygen flow and he suffocated. His body was found two days later by Teck employee Robert Newcombe, who was able to dial 9-1-1 before succumbing to the lack of oxygen himself. Two first responders arrived on site, Kim Weitzel and Shawn Currier, alas they also perished whilst trying to get to the other victims. Eventually, all four bodies were recovered by firefighters with specialized breathing apparatus. This accident highlights the dangers of old mines and enclosed spaces, and is one of many reasons you should never enter a mine without the proper equipment or training.

Specimen Information

Store: Pacific Museum of the Earth, University of British Columbia
Collection: Sutton-Thompson Collection
Accession #: S-74-43
Primary Mineral: Antimony
Secondary Mineral: n/a
Site Locality: Engineer Mine
Location: Atlin, British Columbia
Special Features: Botryoidal

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

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