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Posted by Rock Currier  
Rock Currier December 31, 2008 08:47AM
Click here to view Best Minerals S 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?

SzenicsiteCu32+(MoO4)(OH)4ChileInca de Oro, Mina Jardinera, 69° 51.14' W & 26° 4.44' S.
Szenicsite 4.6cm tall
Szenicsite 3.5cm wide

Szenicsite ~4cm wide
Szenicsite 5cm wide

The Jardinera mine is located about 5 km east of Inca De Oro which is a small mining community located about 80 km north of Copiapo. Szenicsite occurs as dark green bladed crystals in vugs and as fracture fills to about 5mm in thickness. The largest crystals are about 1x3 cm in length and width. Some are intergrown jackstraw fashion or in fans radiating like the pages of a partially opened book, often showing lustrous curved{010} cleavage faces. Terminated crystals are extremely rare. The total estimated weight of recovered szenicsite is in the two to three kilogram range. Several of the best specimens from the find are in the mineral collection of Harvard Mineralogical Museum. They are cataloged under numbers 133734-133773. Scenics specimens 133734-133735 and 133738-133739 are designated cotypes. A few specimens are associated with tiny mm size pointed powellite crystals. Most of the minerals discovered in the last 20 years are nondescript looking and usually found only in very small crystals. The discovery of szenicsite was almost shocking to the mineral community. Almost like biologists finding large communities of new animals around the volcanic vents in the deep ocean and even new phila of critters.

The mineral was discovered by Terry Szenics in January of 1993 and the story is worth recording here. Terry Szenics was visiting a mine north of Inca de Oro to gather specimens of drusy quartz on chrysocolla for the up coming Tucson Gem and Mineral show. Finishing his work early he returned to Inca de Oro to see if there were any specimens there that he might be able to get for the up coming Tucson show. His first night in town he drifted off to sleep listening to the surf like sounds of little water filled ball malls milling down gold ore in the back yards of subsistence miners and the smell of raw sewage. In the morning he visited a general service mechanic and junk yard. The operator of this establishment often collected specimens from the local miners which he would sell to interested parties. He had a box full of specimens which included molybdenite and a heavy massive piece of mostly massive yellow material that Terry recognized as being powellite which he thought was from the Mina Jardinera. He promptly visited the mine and found a primitive five man mining operation which had produced an ore pile of several cubic yards. He chatted up El Lobo, the mine operator and was soon checking for specimens on the ore pile. Because of the considerable amount of molybdenite at the mine he knew most of the heavy yellow massive ore almost had to be powellite. On the back of the first piece of powellite he picked up from the small ore pile he found some crystals of a tabular green mineral that looked like torbernite, but knew it almost certainly could not be. He went through the entire ore pile almost piece by piece and collected about ten flats?, of specimens. On other trips to the mine he collected a few more specimens and also visited the underground portion of the mine which was not very productive of specimens. Specimens were sent to the Aurora Mineral Company of Long Island, New York and then to Harvard where the mineral was identified and described as a new copper molybdate mineral which was named after him. Some of the best specimens are in the collection of Harvard University.

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

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 20 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2012 06:31PM by Rock Currier.
Rob Woodside December 31, 2008 08:06PM
I would add:

It is highly unusual to find a new mineral in such spectacular centimeter sized crystals.
Rock Currier December 31, 2008 09:31PM
You have a strange and embarrassing way of stating the obvious things I should include. I guess I just thought that everyone would realize how unusual a new mineral like that in big crystals is, but of course many people reading the entry would not know. Thanks again for a good suggestion. I have edited the article to reflect your suggestion.

I have been thinking I might shift the format a little for the Best Minerals threads. An article would start with a selected image before the text and the rest of the images as links were presented. What do you think about the above format for szenicsite? The first additional linked picture would lead to the page of the image in the article and the user could read the caption there.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2008 09:36PM by Rock Currier.
Rob Woodside December 31, 2008 11:34PM
I like it!!! My first thought was maybe not for SEMs of rarities, but on second thought, the image first tells you inmmediately what you are dealing with. Even scrolling through several fine photos of commoner minerals to get to the text would be a pleasure.

I don't think you overstated the incredible nature of this find. I certainly understated it.
Rock Currier January 01, 2009 11:54AM
Perhaps we could arrange for a smaller image to be placed at the top of articles where the specimens are really nondescript or and SEM photograph. A big picture of an sem photo wold, I think, be of interest to very few people.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Rob Woodside January 02, 2009 04:12AM
I agree, I think Dissautels said there were only a couple of hundred displayable minerals. The odd bleb in a blank background is not impressive, but occasionally there might be impressive ore textures.
Rock Currier January 02, 2009 10:54AM
I will leave the selection of images that are displayed or linked to the articles to those who create the articles or edit them extensively. One of the little perks these hard workers will have.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Peter Haas January 14, 2009 11:25AM
Does not need to be dark green, can also be grass green !
Maurizio Dini March 16, 2009 12:51AM
....Szenicsite may also occur recovering or compenatrating Powellite xls (pseudomorphosis?), and Brochanite masses or tiy xls.
I have a piece with all the most attractive minerals represented in the Jardinera mine; Szenicsite, Powellite dog theeth xls, Brochantite and Molydenite leaves xls on limonite.

Maurizio Dini
Stuart Mills March 16, 2009 01:59AM
"Most of the new minerals that are discovered are very nondescript looking and usually found only in very small crystals." That's a fairly harsh statement. You might also want to change "new mineral" as it was discovered in 1993, as "new" is arbitary. You might want to think up a different term.
Rock Currier March 16, 2009 10:35AM
Mario, Stuart,
Have tweaked the szenicsite article. It should be better now.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
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