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Modris Baum March 24, 2012 05:32PM
Need some help with this one!

Click on topic header for photo and details.
Don Saathoff March 24, 2012 06:43PM
Hi Modris,
The angles of the modified faces on Schaiffli"s Iranian wulfenite appear, to my eye, to be 45deg whereas the angles on your tabular XL appear closer to 60deg which would indicate hexagonal symmetry as opposed to tetragonal symmetry.

waddya think....

Modris Baum March 24, 2012 07:09PM
Hi Don,

Well - wulfenite would be a real long shot for the Passaic Pit. So you may well be right.

But I still don't think it's zincite - it would be just to weird for this environment.

The only other thing I can think of that's plausible for the Passaic Pit is greenockite. But I have trouble believing that too.

Anyway - thanks for the input.

Jeff Weissman March 24, 2012 07:46PM
Looks orthorhombic/tetragonal to me, consistent with wulfenite, there is even a suggestion of hemihedal development on the prism faces, which would also suggest wulfenite. The issue is the locality - what are the associates on the specimen?
Modris Baum March 24, 2012 08:13PM
Hi Jeff,

It was found in highly weathered material with galena, malachite, aurichalcite and a few other mystery micros.
The matrix looks like lean franklinite ore. But the calcite barely fluoresces and (if I recall) the "franklinite is magnetic. There is also some very intensely fluorescent fluorite - tiny but beautiful golden yellow. (None of these is on this particular little fragment.)

One thing for sure; It's NOT the wulfenite matrix described by Dunn.

I found it near the entrance to the Pit (to the right as you walked in - but that was many years ago and they may have changed the entrance by now). My recollection is either a very large boulder or an outcrop. But who knows if it's really "native" to the Pit.

Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. March 24, 2012 09:37PM
It certainly appears to be wulfenite and the crystals are standing up in high relief in the cavity. Wulfenite is very likely in the highly weathered, iron-rich, zinc-depleted ores from near the surface since the original mineral in the lead-bearing areas was galena. All you need is a bit of Mo to make the mix and molybdenite can occur in the dark, scapolite-rich rocks of the breccia zone in the main fold of the Sterling ore body, around the pits. The other minerals which occur in that environment are typical of secondary minerals occuring with wulfenite in many western ore zones.

Not definitive, just an opinion. I recall back in the 1960's when the mine was active. Stuff would come out and someone would examine it and present an opinion of what it was. Several such "finds" were greeted with the statement that it couldn't be since that was never found here. At that time there were 190 some species on the list, and some of those would prove to be invalid. Now there are some 360+ validated species, including some very unlikely and bizarre minerals. Many things are possible.
Modris Baum March 24, 2012 09:43PM
Thanks Chet!

I had another look at the specimen and - to my surprise (since it is so tiny) I found some more stuff on it: galena, probable cerussite and - most interestingly - two really tiny xls that are square (more or less) and thicker (relative to width at any rate.

I don't know if I can photograph either of them but I'll give it a shot. They sure look like wulfenites to me.

Modris Baum March 24, 2012 10:06PM
Hi all!

I managed to grab a quick and dirty single focus shot of one of two the tiny rectangular xls on the specimen.

I pposted it as a child of the original but here is a direct link: rectangular example

Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. March 24, 2012 10:45PM

Great - wulfenite! I would submit it as a tidbit for The Picking Table.
Don Saathoff March 24, 2012 11:13PM
Modris, that last one is clearly wulfenite which lends much credence to the first also being wulfenite.....maybe it is the angle that makes me see 60deg......

Modris Baum March 24, 2012 11:40PM
Hi Don,

OK. Thanks. That makes me feel even more confident that it's wulfenite.

As for the angle. I'll be darned if I can tell looking through the scope. Just too smal and I can't orient the xl to get a better view of the angle.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/2012 11:42PM by Modris Baum.
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