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Steve Stuart April 20, 2011 02:46AM
I obtained a micromount at the 2011 Rochester Mineralogical Symposium labeled as bastnaesite from Blanchi Quarry, Cuasso al Monte, Varese Province, Lombardy, Italy. The Blanchi Quarry is not listed in MinDat as a sub-
locality of Cuasso al Monte. Are any of our Italian micromounters familiar with the Blanchi Quarry?


Steve Stuart

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2011 03:06AM by Steve Stuart.
Mickey Marks April 20, 2011 05:17AM
Correct spelling is Bianchi with an i, not Blanchi with an l. It's listed in Mindat.
Uwe Kolitsch April 20, 2011 12:03PM
"It's listed in Mindat."
No, not yet (there is ony a Bianchi quarry in California).

Another photo also shows a specimen from this quarry:
Uwe Kolitsch April 20, 2011 12:17PM
According to
"... Cava Bianchi (in seguito Mantegazza)" Bianchi quarry is a former name of the Mantegazza quarry.
Mickey Marks April 20, 2011 09:07PM
I stand corrected, but I knew there was some connection to the quarry in Lombardy. I didn't realize that the name was outdated.
Steve Stuart April 21, 2011 01:45AM
I'll correct the spelling to Bianchi on my label and catalog. Here is the Mindat link for the Mantegazza Quarry:

Apparently, it's known by a different name now! Perhaps Domenic Preite or some else familiar with the quarries can add Bianchi to the locality string and also add bastnaesite to the minerals list if it can be supported by a reference.

I'm having trouble with dirt in my camera that leaves ugly tracks in my stacked images, so I cannot post an image of the bastnaesite. It shows brick red hexagonal prisms, very much like: and .


Luca Baralis April 21, 2011 08:59AM
Steve Stuart Scritto:
> Apparently, it's known by a different name now!

Yes, it is now Gebel quarry. However I think the most know it as Mantegazza quarry, or with the older name Bianchi quarry.
In the time, just after 1st WW, it (probably) was Sioli quarry.
Usually, names are taken from the owner or the operator of the quarry, so often they may change in the time... then many quarries get also a name from the site of exploitation, and that is reported on official papers. It can be quite messy.


Luca Baralis
Uwe Kolitsch April 21, 2011 10:19AM
Steve Stuart May 18, 2012 01:40AM
Another Cuasso al Monte question- while breaking up and exploring some rough material from this locality, I found two interesting yellow unknowns. See images below:

The first one shows very small sprays of acicular crystals. My first guess is mimetite, but would like to hear from other collectors of specimens from these quarries. Are there other possible IDs?

I'm not sure that the second image shows mimetite. The habits seems to be different than the first image. Any opinions?

Thanks and regards,

open | download - Yellow unknown 1b.JPG (68.4 KB)
open | download - Yellow unknown 2b.JPG (60.7 KB)
Antonio Gamboni May 18, 2012 08:42AM
From the color and appearance seems "uranophane".
If it was a uranium ore the doubt remains among "uranophane" and weeksite.
If he were not a uranium ore could then be vanadinite.
Is still very difficult to give definite answers only for a photo, even knowing all the minerals hitherto found in Cuasso
Best Regards.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2012 09:15AM by Antonio Gamboni.
Steve Stuart May 18, 2012 05:19PM
I'll check for radioactivity.
Uwe Kolitsch May 18, 2012 08:11PM
Is it fluorescent?
Steve Stuart May 18, 2012 11:36PM
No observable fluorescence under LW, MW or SW UV light. My 15-year old Russian digital Geiger counter won't turn on now, so I cannot test for radioactivity. The battery is good, but I did notice that the on-off switch balked a few times recently; now, "no mas"!
Domenico Preite May 22, 2012 07:46AM
Anycase Steve this xx's are unusual for Cuasso al Monte, I hope that is possible to analyze!!!
Steve Stuart June 16, 2012 02:45PM
I've been exploring Cuasso al Monte via Google Earth and found these quarries near the town. Can anyone match these up with the quarries listed on Mindat: Bonomi quarry, Val Cavallizza mine, Gebel Quarry (Mantegazza Quarry; Bianchi Quarry), Laghetto Quarry, and Puricelli quarry. I also have a specimen from Cuasso al Monte attributed to "Cava Tourmaline". I have seen references to it in the literature on Cuasso al Monte, but Mindat does not list it unless it's under another name.


Steve Stuart
open | download - Cuasso al Monte 2.jpg (208.2 KB)
Luca Baralis June 16, 2012 06:30PM
Bonomi is the active quarry S-E in the picture. I think (not sure) the Gebel Quarry is the active one north of the Bonomi.
Laghetto (=little lake) quarry is at est of the village - that's Cavagnano. You can see the lake. I think it's not an official name, but it is normally used by collectors.
Cava tormaline alias Tourmaline quarry (also a non official name) is S-W outside of the picture. I think It cannot be seen on Google Earth as nowadays it is only a stony landfill covered by bushes.
Puricelli quarry is otside of the picture too, N of the laghetto quarry.

Luca Baralis

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2012 09:30PM by Luca Baralis.
Steve Stuart June 16, 2012 07:18PM
Found the web site for Cuasso al Monte:

The SE quarry is Bonomi. The center quarry is Puricelli. The abandoned quarry NE of Puricelli is Laghetto. This information is provided by Domenico Preite. Still cannot place the Gebel quarry, not Cava Toumaline on Google Earth yet.

Note that this image locates the Gebel on the same site as Puricelli. Still needs more clarity!


open | download - Cuasso al Monte 3.jpg (209.7 KB)
Luca Baralis June 16, 2012 09:16PM
I'm quite sure that the Puricelli sign on the picture should be wrong.
That is the Gebel quarry (references: S. Mercadante, I minerali di cava Bonomi. Gr. Ed. L'Espresso, 2011. map on page 14).
Some times ago there where problems 'cause collectors made rocks fall down on the houses downside the Puricelli quarry. It surely cannot happen in that site!
I know as Puricelli quarry an old abandoned quarry north of Laghetto quarry, upstream (north of the road Cuasso - Cavagnano, see on google Earth).

Luca Baralis

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2012 09:34PM by Luca Baralis.
Steve Stuart June 16, 2012 11:17PM
Mr. Mercadante posted an article on Mindat, accessible from the Bonomi quarry page that agrees with your point, Luca. So, I will modify the Google Earth image to move the Puricelli icon somewhere else. I'll follow your directions to see if I can spot it on Google Earth. Would it be possible to scan the map and send it to me, or attach it here (without violating copyright laws)?


Steve Stuart June 16, 2012 11:23PM

I have put the Puricelli icon in an area of rocky outcrops north of the Laghetto quarry, as Luca describes. Is one of these outcrops the old quarry?

open | download - Cuasso al Monte 4.jpg (203.5 KB)
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