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Zunyite

Posted by Rock Currier  
avatar Zunyite
November 04, 2008 10:29AM
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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?


Zunyite
Al13Si5O20(OH)14F4Cl cubic
Several localities produce sharp mm size tetrahedrons in matrix. There appear to be no free standing crystals and those that appear to be have been worked out of their enclosing matrix.


Zunyite
United States
Arizona, La Paz County, Veta Grande Claim-Big Bertha Claim, The Electric Meatball boulder.
Zunyite, a 1.1 cm crystal© Rob Lavinsky


In the early 1980s these claims were worked by Dick Jones and Mike Springer who found a few wonderful hematite specimens there. The locality is also well known for its zunyite which occurred as sharp little one to two mm tan to cream colored crystals in an aluminous schist. Mike Sprunger said that when he and Dick Jones were working the hematite and quartz veins they kept finding zunyite when they were digging on the south side of the mountain-hill rather than on the north west side where most of the collectors went to look for hematite. In 1985 Gary Moss with Jim Walker were working on the south side of the mountain looking for hematite and quartz. Gary had to take a crap and wondered off to find a place to do the needful. The first place he found he was run off by a car full of Montana folks that had a pair of longhorn steer horns as a hood ornament and he finally located a nice big boulder with some shade. While doing the needful he noticed that the boulder had some hematite and small zunyite crystals. The boulder looked a better prospect than anything they had yet encountered so they drilled some holes in it with the portable gasoline powered rock drill they had with them and filled the holes with explosives. They then wired them all up together with electrical detonators and decided while looking boulder looked like a giant electric meatball. The activation of the meatball broke the boulder into a number of more manageable smaller boulders and it was from these fragments that the best specimens of zunyite were collected. They had to be careful collecting because the explosion of the boulder had disturbed a number of the small very poisonous scorpions that live in the area. The zunyite crystals were mostly translucent but some where a charcoal gray color caused by included specular hematite. About 500 lbs of specimens were collected that day. Some dozens of crystals in excess of 10 mm were collected. Jim Walker collected perhaps a comparable amount on subsequent trips. Jim collected a crystal on a subsequent trip of about 2cm. It was not easy to prepare the specimens for sale because the matrix was difficult to remove from around the zunyite to make them stand out from the matrix. The removal of the matrix was done with an air abrasive tool and glass beads. Also the zunyite crystals were somewhat prone to having the corners of the crystals pop off during preparation. Saturating the zunyite crystals with super glue helped keep them intact during the matrix removal process which was very time consuming. The specimen with the best large crystal was traded to the Sorbonne and another fine specimen went to the Smithsonian Institute. The Picture one shown here is not one of the better specimens produced at this locality.
[Rock Currier with most of the information provide as a personal communication from Gary Moss]

Here is the other side of the story, directly from Jim Walker. The Differences are illuminating:
I appreciate the P.R. but there are a few discrepancies between your posted account and my recollections. To wit: Sorry, no herds of deadly scorpions. What were encountered at close range were an alarming number of rattlesnakes. The reason for this is that the E.M. Zunyites are fluorescent - (red/short wave) and the best way to find the smaller ones turned out to be at night, during the Summer, which is the same time that the local buzz-worms are out foraging. I nearly stepped on some; twice. The largest crystals (20mm / 3/4" were found during the first hour after blasting.
The tag - "Electric Meatball" wasn't applied until after photos showing the erratic boulder were: processed, viewed and the similarity noted. It wasn't Montana wack-jobs but the illiterate claim holder whose placer claim hosted the "meatball". He was hostile, suspicious, and until he saw what we WERE taking off of his "gold property", none too cooperative. Once he saw the kind of stuff that we were collecting, he was OK. He even implied that we were a bit "thick", if you get my drift. The funny part is, I think the Zunyite produced more income than his dry-washing ever did. The largest xtls will be on display next Tucson (2012).
[Jim Walker 2011]


Zunyite
USA
Arizona, La Paz Co., Dome Rock Mts., Middle Camp-Oro Fino District, Big Bertha Mine (Veta Grande Mine; Veta Grande claim; Crystal Caverns claim; Big Bertha Extension Mine)
Zunyite 3 cm wide© Rob Lavinsky
Zunyite xl 1mm wide© Michael C. Roarke

This locality has been more or less open to collectors for years. The main attraction has always been the beautiful sharp shiny bladed hematites that are very occasionally been found growing on quartz crystals at this locality. It was a small mine at one time, probably more of a prospect really than anything else. Probably not more than one or two hundred feet of workings and most of that not accessable. Most of the specimens of hematite and zunyite were found near the entrance to the tunnel or on the dump of float material from the ledge scattered down the slope of the low hill. Because the locality is almost within shouting distance of the little town of quartzite and not all that far from Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tucson, collectors have collected this area heavily for many years. Picture one is a real champ for the locality but even so, to make the zunyite crystals as prominent as they are, a lot of hand work had to be done to expose them better. The much larger crystals from the Electric Meatball locality is really not far away and almost certainly part of the same geological formation that formed this locality. For years, when you went there to try and collect hematite crystals, and in recent years, hardly any are ever found, you could always bang out a flat or two of zunyite specimens.
[Rock Currier 24 December 08]


Zunyite
USA
Colorado, San Juan Co., Silverton District, Silverton, Anvil Mountain, Zuni Mine
Zunyite specimen, FOV 0.6 cm© Elmar Lackner


Occurres in small micro crystals. This is the type locality. "It is intimately mixed with the sulphide of arsenic and lead, guitermanite...and pyrite; also embedded in a whit earthy material consisting in part of lead sulphate , and derived from the alteration of the associated ores".1 This "old time" description would certainly be described somewhat differently by a modern mineralogist about 100 years later, but it gives you a good flavorful description.
1. A System of Mineralogy, Edward Salisbury Dana, 6 edition 1915, p 436
[Rock Currier 24 December 08]


Zunyite
USA
Utah, Juab Co. East Tintic Mts., Tintic District, Silver City
Zunyite 8.3 cm wide© Rob Lavinsky


We need someone to tell us of the zunyites from this locality.
[Rock Currier 24 December 08]




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Edited 31 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2013 08:07PM by Rock Currier.
Re: Zunyite
April 02, 2009 06:03PM
Mr.Rock Currier

The follow species of zunyites are confirmed by analysis:

1-[rruff.info] =very similar to the Rob Lavinsky specimen (second specimen).

2-[rruff.info] to the Elmar Lackner 2007 specimen are noted.

Thanks.
avatar Re: Zunyite
April 03, 2009 01:35AM
Armand,
For some reason I can't open the second of your attached images. The first image of the zunyite from Quartzite is strikingly similar to hundreds if not thousands of similar specimens that have been collected at that locality for generations by California and Arizona collectors.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Re: Zunyite
December 24, 2010 09:16AM
Rock,
While Jim's story of the zunyite find is colorful and may be true the source of the material is a small cut to the east of the old Veta Grande. I also found it independently and collected there a couple years after Jim. My material is the same although not as good as his. My largest crystals were only about 7mm. He has been to my home and seen my specimens and confirms that we found the same spot. The seam trend still continues but the large crystals seem to be played out. Maybe not with work.
John Lindell
avatar Re: Zunyite
December 24, 2010 09:28AM
John, Thanks for the information, I have included it in the article.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Re: Zunyite
July 19, 2011 08:06AM
Rock et al:
I appreciate the P.R. but there are a few discrepancies between your posted account and my recollections.
To wit: Sorry, no herds of deadly scorpions. What were encountered at close range were an alarming number of rattlesnakes. The reason for this is that the E.M. Zunyites are fluorescent - (red/short wave) and the best way to find the smaller ones turned out to be at night, during the Summer, which is the same time that the local buzz-worms are out foraging. I nearly stepped on some; twice.
The largest crystals (20mm / 3/4") were found during the first hour after blasting.
The tag - "Electric Meatball" wasn't applied until after photos showing the erratic boulder were: processed, viewed and the similarity noted.
It wasn't Montana wack-jobs but the illiterate claim holder whose placer claim hosted the "meatball". He was hostile, suspicious, and until he saw what we WERE taking off of his "gold property", none too cooperative. Once he saw the kind of stuff that we were collecting, he was OK. He even implied that we were a bit "thick", if you get my drift.
The funny part is, I think the Zunyite produced more income than his dry-washing ever did. The largest xtls will be on display next Tucson (2012).
J.W.
avatar Re: Zunyite
July 19, 2011 08:57AM
Jim,
It was good of you to post your comments, which are now in the article. It should provide good entertainment for everyone. I wish we could have more people step up and help make these articles more interesting.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
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