Mindat Adventure tour. Science and minerals of Switzerland. August 2019. Part 2.Last Updated: 15th Mar 2019
Please note, the first part of the Adventure is described in the separate article.
The second part of our Adventure will be held closer to the Alps in the countryside of Switzerland. We will live in a small hotel in Canton Valais (type locality for 65 minerals), not far from Binn Valley - the mineralogical paradise of Switzerland located near the border with Italy. The main feature of this part of the journey is the possibility to use a helicopter except routine hiking for mineral collecting at high altitude in case of good weather conditions. We are going to examine the minerals, hosted in various rock types and explore the diversity of the mineralogical paragenesis of a small part of Switzerland.
28th of August
1st option: Visiting the localities of Feldbach Valley (Fäldbach Valley).
The Fäldbachtal (Feldbachtal) is a high valley running parallel to the valley of the Binn river, following the general bedding of the rocks. The underlying rocks are mostly made of relatively soft calcite-rich mica schists (Bündnerschiefer) and glaciation led to rounded surface morphology. There are several zones with alpine-type fissures.
For mineral collectors, this valley is well-known for unusual shaped Quartz together with beautiful Rutile-xx in single xls, twins and radial/wheel formed aggregates. Some quartz formed a characteristic shape called "Tessin Quartz Habitus". The valley is also famous for twinned rutile specimens, so-called "Knierutil" in German("knee rutile" in English) as well as circular rutile twins.
You can also find white Albite-xx and Siderit-xx together with the Quartz. The Quarz-xx are usually growing on Calcite-xx. Less likely is the possibility to find tourmalines of Schorl-Dravite series, Emerald and Spessartine. There is also a Dolomite outcrop which contains a lot of Magnetite, Pyrite and Tourmaline not far from the main pits.
More photos of the recent finds are available here.
The second option is more physically demanding and involves climbing Gorb Mountain, famous for anatase crystals and also for some rare minerals including cafarsite, fetiasite, graeserite, xenotime, etc.
29th of August
Next day will be devoted to absolutely different type of mineralogy.
The thing is that Ritterpass and Wannigletcher are the localities of the same type, however, it is much easier to get to the first one and the zone of mineralogical interest is much smaller. They are now both famous for the recently discovered REE-paragenesis, which is bound to quartz-feldspar nodules and not to Alpine-type fissures as the localities of Feldbach Valley visited earlier.
30th of August
Next day will be devoted to ultramafic mineral assemblages.
Geisspfad area is a famous region for several mineralogical spots. First of all, it is the type locality of mineral preiswerskite which is relatively easy to find here. The host rock for Geisspfad Pass serpentinite with
The Lötschen valley (Lötschental) is a northeastern side valley of the Rhône valley. Its rock formations belong to the Aar Massif, of which it more or less represents the western end. Granite only occurs at higher elevations in the southeastern part of the valley, whereas its northern and western parts are dominated by overlying schists. These rocks are surrounded by amphibolites, in which most of the minerals are found.
31st of August
On the last day of the Adventure, we will have a slide show in "Bergkristall" restaurant, prepared by Mischa Grumbach - well-known mineral collector and photographer in Switzerland. The subject of the slide show will be devoted to the mineralogy of REE of the region. It will be possible to identify some self-collected minerals and buy some rare samples of local minerals from an expert in the mineralogy of the region.
The return ride to Zurich takes ~3.5 hours from this region.
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