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Chambersite

Posted by Alfredo Petrov  
Chambersite
March 07, 2009 01:18PM
Click here to view Best Minerals C and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.


Can you help make this a better article? What good localities have we missed? Can you supply pictures of better specimens than those we show here? Can you give us more and better information about the specimens from these localities? Can you supply better geological or historical information on these localities?


Chambersite
Mn3B7O13Cl

Chambersite, Barbers Hill, Chambers Co, Texas, USA, crystal, 12mm©


Here will go general comments about chambersite specimens and the localities that they come from.


Chambersite
Canada
Nova Scotia, Cumberland Co., Pugwash, Windsor Salt Mine

Chambersite 1cm© R. Van Dommelen


The Pugwash Salt Mine in Nova Scotia produced a one time find many years ago (1990s?) of fine chambersite crystals. My understanding is that the find was mde by the mine engineer during a mapping exercise. I don't know how many crystals were found; I remember seeing a tray with about 10 or so tiny crystals. We have tried tracking them down since then without luck. However one amazing crystal, pictured above, is in the Fundy Geological Museum (not on display). It is a full 1cm on an edge with smooth faces and simple form.
[Ronnie Van Dommelen 2013]



Chambersite
USA
Texas, Chambers Co., Mont Belvieu, Barbers Hill Salt Dome (Barbers Hill)

Chambersite, Barbers Hill, Chambers Co, Texas, USA, crystal, 12mm©


The diameter of the well that was drilled into the salt dome was probably not much more than six inches. Possibly members others here on min dat could pin than down much closer than I could. (But obviously, stories about divers going down into the salt dome to hunt for chambersite crystals are total fiction.) I don't know if they were taking cores of the rock formations out of the well as they drilled or if they simply drilled and flushed out the broken and crushed rock. These "returns" were run into a little pond and it was in the sediment at the bottom of the pond (one that it would hard to drown in) in which the chambersite crystals were found. The first collector to find them made a great hit. They were probably the largest crystals of the mineral that have been found to date. In those days I am sure the little pond where the well returns were run must have been wide open and all you had to do to get them was to wade out into the muck and scoop it up and go through the mud for the crystals. Pretty easy collecting. The largest chambersite crystal in my collection is one I got when I bought Are Eadies rare species collection (Rock Currier). It measures about 12 mm in diameter and he got it from a fellow named Mitchel in 1965. The original descriptive paper for chambersite gives 12mm as the maximum size, so Rock Currier's might be the biggest one, or close to it. The largest one pictured here on Mindat (Kelly Nash collection) is 11mm, obtained from a G K Ebanks in 1957, the year they were first found. I don't know whether Ebanks field collected some himself, or got it from B F Dyer Jr, whom the paper mentions as the original finder. Even in those relatively liberal days I don't think the site was wide open to collecting, as the authors state they got permission to collect from Texas Natural Gasoline Corp, so the number of field collectors of this stuff might have been quite limited. Fred Pough and his wife collected many crystals in the swamp at a later date - Anyone happen to know which year? ...or whether Pough found any that were larger than the published 12mm size? Pough told me (Alfredo Petrov) once that he thought there had been larger ones, but they tended to explode after reaching the surface, because of high pressure inclusions (presumably gaseous?).
[Alfredo Petrov]

I lived for 30 years about 25 miles from the Barbers Hill Locale. Barbers Hill is located near Mont Belvieu, Texas. A 1985 explosion at one of the plants threatened the entire salt dome (on which the city was built), which had in recent years been used to store liquid propane gas, and led to a series of efforts by townspeople to force the petrochemical industries to buy out the homes in the immediate vicinity of their plants. By 1990 some 200 families had been bought out by a dozen petrochemical corporations. With the aid of these local industries the community was rebuilt on I-10 two miles east of its 1985 location. A 12 mm xl from Barbers Hill is a keeper. Abundant below 5 mm, common up to 8 mm, uncommon over 10 mm. I've had several in 10+ range. About 20 years ago I sold my largest which I believe was 12 possibly 13 for $50. At that time I didn't consider it as the largest, only that I could get $50. Have heard reports of 15 mm, however, nothing over 12 confirmed. No divers in the salt dome! I've heard reports of divers collecting at bottom of a 70 foot deep brine pit, also fiction. Collecting 5-10 mm xls., in diving gear at bottom of 70 foot pit? Dr. Pough collected many at Venice Dome in 1969 (confirmed by U. of New Orleans) from a swamp that was later destroyed by a hurricane, don’t believe he was ever at Barbers Hill. There are no swamps at Barbers Hill. Standard collecting technique used by Art Smith (personal communication) and others. There was a large flat area of solidified brine material (anhydrite?). Art indicated that the brine had been pumped across this large area and evaporated/solidified. Collectors crawled on hands and knees on the surface. You would feel the presence of a crystal due to the sharp points on your hands or knees. Some of the dry material was also used to surface some local driveways, some Chambersite xls. were found embedded in vehicle tires. I was only able to view the collecting area through a high chain link fence with large “Keep Out” signs. I over the years I was able to acquire several small lots from collectors.
[Harold (Hal) Prior 2013]


Click here to view Best Minerals C and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 04/11/2013 07:53PM by Rock Currier.
avatar Re: Chambersite
March 07, 2009 10:44PM
Alfredo,
Would you like to take a crack at creating the content for a chambersite article incorporating the relevant portions of the above and pictures like has been done for some of the A minerals and Rhodochrosite? There is no way that I am going to be able to generate even a tiny fraction of it along with trying to guide the efforts of others. But what you have done is better than doing nothing which has happened in the past.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 12:57AM
ca    
Chambersite, 1 cm, Nova Scotia © R. Van Dommelen


The Pugwash Salt Mine in Nova Scotia produced a one time find many years ago (1990s?) of fine chambersite crystals. My understanding is that the find was mde by the mine engineer during a mapping exercise. I don't know how many crystals were found; I remember seeing a tray with about 10 or so tiny crystals. We have tried tracking them down since then without luck. However one amazing crystal, pictured above, is in the Fundy Geological Museum (not on display). It is a full 1cm on an edge with smooth faces and simple form.
Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 02:25AM
Alfredo,
I lived for 30 years about 25 miles from the Barbers Hill Locale. Will provide some additional info for the Barbers Hill Chambersite in a few days (need to locate some more info). Barbers Hill is located near Mont Belvieu, Texas. A 1985 explosion at one of the plants threatened the entire salt dome (on which the city was built), which had in recent years been used to store liquid propane gas, and led to a series of efforts by townspeople to force the petrochemical industries to buy out the homes in the immediate vicinity of their plants. By 1990 some 200 families had been bought out by a dozen petrochemical corporations. With the aid of these local industries the community was rebuilt on I-10 two miles east of its 1985 location. The entire area is now fenced (since 1990) off with armed guards as of my last visit to the locale. First found in 1957 in brine returns from a gas storage well in the Barber's Hill salt dome, Chambers County, Texas. Many interesting collecting stories were related to me by my friend Art Smith. .....Hal Prior
avatar Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 12:32PM
us    
I will see if I can get a good shot in standard crystallographic orientation.

Best Wishes, Van King
Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 02:48PM
Some Chambersite tidbits from my mineral files:

A 12 mm xl from Barbers Hill is a keeper. Abundant below 5 mm, common up to 8 mm, uncommon over 10 mm. I’ve had several in 10+ range. About 20 years ago I sold my largest which I believe was 12 possibly 13 for $50. At that time didn’t consider as the largest, only that I could get $50. Have heard reports of 15 mm, however, nothing over 12 confirmed.

No divers in the salt dome! I’ve heard reports of divers collecting at bottom of a 70 foot deep brine pit, also fiction. Collecting 5-10 mm xls., in diving gear at bottom of 70 foot pit?

Dr. Pough collected many at Venice Dome in 1969 (confirmed by U. of New Orleans) from a swamp that was later destroyed by a hurricane, don’t believe he was ever at Barbers Hill. There are no swamps at Barbers Hill.

Standard collecting technique used by Art Smith (personal communication) and others. There was a large flat area of solidified brine material (anhydrite?). Art indicated that the brine had been pumped across this large area and evaporated/solidified. Collectors crawled on hands and knees on the surface. You would feel the presence of a crystal due to the sharp points on your hands or knees. Some of the dry material was also used to surface some local driveways, some Chambersite xls. were found imbedded in vehicle tires. I was only able to view the collecting area through a high chain link fence with large “Keep Out” signs. I over the years I was able to acquire several small lots from collectors.
Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 02:56PM
THE AMERICAN MINERALOGIST, VOL. 47, MAY JUNE, 1962

“The only observed occurrence of chambersite is from Storage W ell No.1 of the Texas Natural Gasoline Corporation on the northwest flank ofBarber's Hill salt dome, Mont Belvieu, Chambers County, Texas. The mineral is present in brine returns from the well, and although accurate
information as to the depth of the occurrence is not available, driller's logs indicate an origin in the main salt mass at a depth between 2,32O and 2,72O level below sea level.”


avatar Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 03:08PM
ca    
Does a photo exist of a twinned crystal? I have never seen one. That would be very cool.
Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 03:57PM
More Barbers Hill Chambersite Info: Art Smith writing in HGMS BBG, October 1976
Attachments:
open | download - Barbers Hill Chambersite P1.jpg (380.5 KB)
open | download - Barbers Hill Chambersite P2.jpg (212.4 KB)
avatar Re: Chambersite
April 11, 2013 07:31PM
Yes, one does exist. Ill try and get a picture of it.
Rock

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
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