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Cleaning wavellite from Arkansas

Posted by Stephen C. Blyskal  
Stephen C. Blyskal April 28, 2010 10:08PM
I have acquired a number of specimens of wavellite from the Mauldin Mountain area north of Mt Ida, Arkansas over the last year or so. Some of them display areas of iron staining while the rest of the specimen has no coating. I have never collected at the state or county quarries, and heard that specimens from there were cleaned with a light oxalic acid solution. If the specimens were cleaned, and iron stains remained, can they be cleaned again in oxalic acid or Iron Out? I don't want to try my water gun on these specimens, because the phosphate is quite soft. Thanks for any and all comments.

Yes, I know about the difference between the Montgomery Co. wavellites and those collected near Avant in Garland County. I have samples from all the wavellite localities in Arkansas.
Steve Hardinger April 28, 2010 11:12PM
If you have multiple specimens, try iron out on a lesser quality piece. I suspect it will work well. I also urge you to try an ultrasonic cleaner to remove red clay, etc
onesickfreak July 08, 2012 08:45AM
i used a weak oxilic acid solution once... dissolved my sample. so be warned
Reiner Mielke July 08, 2012 08:41PM
Wavellite is soluble in acids including oxalic. You could try iron out as it is not acidic but like Steve said test it first.
Rock Currier July 09, 2012 02:19AM
We have had some success in cleaning Arkansas Wavellite with iron out.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Earl Verbeek July 09, 2012 10:38AM
We've tried two specimens of Arkansas wavellite with mixed results. Both were first treated with oxalic acid, and both came through the treatment with most of the iron stain removed and the wavellite still lustrous. One specimen, however, had some remaining iron stain, so we put it in Iron Out solution. The only effect from that solution is that the wavellite emerged from it with a pronounced dull luster. I am still not sure if the wavellite was partially dissoved by the Iron Out (in which case the specimen is ruined) or if a precipitate formed on it, but from this experience I would advise against using both treatments, and be careful with Iron Out. Incidentally, if any of you have had a similar experience and believe the dull luster is due to a precipitate, advice on how to remove it would be very much appreciated.
Donald Lapham July 09, 2012 11:12AM
I recently cleaned wavellite from the National Limestone Quarry in Mount Pleasant Mills, PA and had excellent results. The wavellite is from a deep layer where it forms a thick, lustrous coating. It had a mild orange rust coat and after a few days in Oxalic Acid, the wavellite remained lustrous and came out a very deep green color with no signs of etching.
Reiner Mielke July 09, 2012 05:48PM
Strange how different people get different results? I guess you just have to test a piece before you try it, you can't argue with success. I am wondering if the oxalic acid isn't dissolving some of the wavellite ( as well as the iron) but leaving it shiny something like you get with calcite when you give it a quick dip in HCl ? Earl, with that in mind you might try putting it back in Oxalic acid for a while.
Chris Wright July 09, 2012 09:15PM
I have cleaned hundreds of specimens with iron out with very few problems. I have had the best luck with the Mona Lisa mine, Mauldin Mt, and the Avant area. It does much better than oxalic acid.
jerry grindrod (2) September 08, 2014 02:44PM
Hi all, I'm from PA and collected several times at MPM (Mt.Pleasant Mills). I would never brush over crystals, this will certainly take the luster off. The material from MPM has a couple of different coatings. I've seen Black - it's the most difficult to remove - but the Wavellite under this black coating is usually the best. In this case I pressure wash, then soak in Iron out, then soak in water for a while. Sometimes this may have to be repeated, just make sure you change your water out and soak for 24 hrs. Some other specimens do not have a luster at all underneath the stain - unfortunately they are just dull.

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