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Posted by Rob Woodside  
Rob Woodside October 04, 2009 08:07AM
Click here to view Best Minerals T and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

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?

Below are some preliminary notes I have made about Tungsten. This entry and thread has been made as a place holder for information that you will hopefully contribute about Tungsten. It should be in no way be thought of as a claim I have staked out to write about this mineral, and in fact is an invitation for someone to step forward and create the article about this mineral. If you are so inclined and have questions about the format that such an article should have, go the The welcome topic at the top of the Best Minerals forum and read what has been posted there. Also take a look at some of the more mature articles that have already been written like Rhodochrosite, Adamite, Millerite etc. You will need also to pick out other images of Tungsten that will go into the article.

TungstenW Cubic
Bright grain of native Tungsten in back scattered electron image

Tungsten Native Element and Rare Species Collections

Known only as a few specimens from the earth and the moon. Synthetic material is often sold as Native Tungsten by fraud artists. I met Victor Ivanovich Stepanov in 1987 and asked him about W in wolframite from Transbaikalia and he replied with a good thick Russian accent "Product of American technology!" It sticks out like a sore thumb under the elelectron microprobe.To complicate matters it shows up in heavy mineral alluvial concentrates. These sample a widespread geology and often pick up anthropogenic material. These days one often finds metallic titanium in them from fallen space junk. So many of the earlier reported occurences of Native Tungsten were highly suspect. Certainly two honest occurences are from the moon where it was observed as a micron sized grain and in the Subarctic Urals where it was first found in an alluvial concentrate and later in a quartz vein occurence that drained into the concentrates.

MoonMare Crisium, Luna 24 landing site

Scanning electron microscope image of the fragment of lunar silicate glass particle from coarse fraction of regolith. The bright grain is a native tungsten aggregate overgrown with a carboniferous film covering the glass. Associated minerals located near this grain (within about 30 μm circle) are native molybdenum, copper, nickel and chromium. Depth of sampling is about 86 cm from Moon surface. The specimen is in the collection of Lunar regolith belonging to IGEM RAS and Andrei V. Mokhov took the photo.

Pavel Kartashov writes:

What about the Moon, impact events are the great refinery - they evaporate cubic kms of rock dividing elements of rock each from other in plasma. So some of them hadn't enough time to oxidize back.

EarthRussiaUrals Region, Subarctic Urals, Bol'shaya Pol'ya River

Pavel Kartashov writes:

"On Bol'shaya Pol'ya river was found large cm size nugget of native wolfram. It was found in borehole of gold placier from ~30 m depth. This layer of gravels was deposited 50000-100000 years ago. May it be product of Hiperborean culture? Or may be Atlanteans had visited this region?

This native W contained <<1 micrometer grains of cubic Y2O3. It was observed in TEM preparates and was investigated on ancient (70th issued) KEVEX attachment. It didn't allow to obtain complete REE spectrum from the particles. And on KEVEX spectra other than Y peaks were invisible. BUT yesterday I analysed Alpine "gadolinite" and on its ED spectra also minor REE were invisible. But quantitative analysis on modern equipment show composition (Y1.58REE.30)1.88 where REE were Nd,Sm,Gd,Tb,Dy,Er,Yb. So may be this Y oxide isn't too pure. But it is too small for to be investigated by our microprobe. I had made some microprobe preparates from material of this nugget, but was unable to detect Y oxide inclusions in it because they are to small.

My the second find of native W in the region confirming natural source of W nugget into placier of B. Pol'ya river. I had identify it in quartz wein #60 of Puiva Mt. It is remarcable, that Puiva Mt is located in headstream of Bol'shaya Pol'ya river So apparently exactly this region supply native W gold placiers of the river. Very important is the fact, that on Puiva Mt. was apparently exist big nugget of native W. Unfortunately it was crushed up to 0.3 mm fraction with small semiindustrial probe of quartz of 2 ton weight. I observe fragments of this individual in heavy concentrayes from this probe. In whole pan of this concentrate (mainly apatite) was presented about 30-50 g of W particles as I am suppose. Unfortunately I am not Victor Ivanovich and recognize these grey metallic grains as some arsenide or sulphoarsenide. I was EXTREMELY foolish and selected for microprobe identification only 3 grains. How I was surprised, when all 3 turned out metallic W. Unfortunately all pan of this heavy concentrate was already thrown out, when I'd return to lab to take it... "

Click here to view Best Minerals T and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2010 12:45PM by Rock Currier.
Rock Currier October 05, 2009 09:32AM
Good start. Now we have the framework to build on.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Rob Woodside October 05, 2009 10:24AM
Thanks Rock. I hope others will descibe any other real occurences, Also I hope that Stuart and Pavel might get together and get it accepted as a valid species. I wonder what they would name it???X(.
jacques jedwab July 16, 2010 02:32PM
I was and still am suspicious about natural native tungsten. The atmosphere of mineralogy labs (and mechanic shops) is heavily contaminated (with WIDIA hard metal and all kinds of metallic dust, Cu-Sn in particular). An effective genuineness test would be if any claim of W detected under SEM/EDS would at the same time guaranty the absence of Co (used as binding metal of compressed W-powder in WIDIA) and Cu-Sn-containing dust. I wonder why dealers don't raise that aspect.
Uwe Kolitsch July 17, 2010 12:08PM
This relates also to the problem of qusongite, supposedly "natural" WC. However, it was not found in situ (in a rock matrix) and the SEM photo in the original description clearly shows characteristically shaped, synthetic WC crystals, according to a specialist on W metallurgy I know personally.
jacques jedwab July 17, 2010 04:31PM
It happens that I used to do some work on natural carbides, and met with some disappointments when buying labelled "native W", which turned out to be plain wolframite. This is why I overreacted. I am keen of re-habilitation of natural refractory metals and their carbides (like khamrabaevite), but felt compelled to express a caveat. In my former message, I should have made it clearer that the most plausible contaminant is WC, considering that the carbon in WC (WIDIA) is extremely difficult to catch, and remains undetected if not chased around purposedly.

(BTW, a mineralogist/geochemist who worked on the East African Tungsten Belt cannot have a W-free day: So much problems still remaining !...)

Cheers! J.J.

Jedwab, J. and J. Boulègue: A vanadium-titanium carbide inclusion in graphite from hydrothermal ejecta at 13°N, East Pacific Rise. Canadian Mineralogist, 1989, 27: 617-623. (

Jedwab, J. : Native ruthenium in tantalum carbide concentrates from the Ural Mountains, USSR. Mineralogy and Petrology, 1990, 43, 137-146.
Pavel Kartashov July 21, 2010 12:00AM
Dear Jacques,
you can be absolutely sure, that native tungsten from Bol'shaya Pl'ya river is metallic W - malleable white-grey metal, not WC or wolframite. :) ;) Lunar material also is plastic native metal embedded into impact glasses of regolith in association with native Mo, Fe, Ni, Cu, Sn, Zn, Cr.
Kind regards,
Stuart Mills July 21, 2010 02:03AM
You guys wont have to wait long to see it as a new mineral :)
Rob Woodside October 26, 2010 01:18AM
Thanks Stuart. When can we get together?
Darrell Lane July 18, 2014 04:35PM
Tungsten Nuggets, I found 2 of them on my mining claim, thought they were platinum but took them to a Jeweller that has a XRF Spectrometer and he said that they were 97 Percent Tungsten, he had no knowledge that such things existed, nor if they were valuable. One weighs 8.0 grams and the other weighs 2.7 grams, found in a lava bed formation that overlaps a greenstone bed formation, no doubt there's more there. Also found a 1 Carat Gemstone, unidentified so far.
Rock Currier July 19, 2014 12:20AM
That sounds unlikely.

Could we see a picture of the nugget and the data from the XRF spectrometer and the make and model of the Spectrometer? That must be one remarkable jeweler. I have never known one who had his own XRF spectrometer.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Darrell Lane July 19, 2014 03:14PM
FOR SURE, I'll need a little time to get some pic's made and to get a Established Report from the Jeweler, I'll share this site with him so it will justify the need. The mining claim is part of a association claim, I and 7 others, for Placer Gold, well my attention shifted from Gold to Platinum several months ago when I ran into a strata of Greenstone Shale that was loaded with Platinum Flakes, so much so that I even through my crude methods could retrieve over 1 ounce of the Platinum flaky, platy grains out of a hole 18 inches long, 12 inches wide and about 12 inches deep. Pick and Shovel, Hammer & Chisel into buckets, crushed with my little 10 inch flail chain crusher to 100 to 200 mesh, sluiced through a 2 sluice set-up and panned. I took the concentrates that remained that were infinitately small scattered with some very peculiar looking green crystals (which I think is either Sperrylite or Peridotite) and sent them off to a Assayer in Pahrump, Nevada that Specializes in the Noble Metals. His report came back that confirmed what I had suspected. All 8 Noble Metals were on the Report, Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium, Osmium, Iridium, Ruthenium & Rhodium. The percentage numbers were low, but that's okay cause I already know that to get a Good Average of Ore would take between 5 to 10 Assays, all I wanted to find out was what he confirmed. So my focus now was Platinum. Well, I started investigating the immediate area within a 100 yards or so and ran into another form of ancient lava type formation that clearly covered the top of the greenstone, I think it's called a Stratiform or Podiform. Detecting the solid rock (not alluvial sediments, SOLID ROCK), I found these 2 Nuggets Encased in Rock, on 2 separate distances of only 30 to 50 feet apart. I took Rock Samples as well, took my Dewalt Portable Battery-Operated Vaccum and cleaned out the holes. Using my 1/8 inch bucket screen with water to check for other discoveries (maybe), I did find a beautiful crystal of some sort that weighs 0.2 grams. Excited over the Nugget Find, sure that they were Platinum, what a Shocker when the Jeweler declared that they were Tungsten, 97 percent. I exclaimed to him quizely "Tungsten comes in Nuggets?"...Darrell
Reiner Mielke July 19, 2014 04:41PM
Could be Tungsten Carbide which is 94% Tungsten by weight. 97% +- the uncertainty is well within this possibility. Do you have a picture of the solid rock. Gravel can easily be turned to solid rock by carbonate precipitation. Were I live there are huge slabs of what look like concrete along the river which are actually gravel cemented by calcite from calcium rich ground water having percolating through them.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2014 06:15PM by Reiner Mielke.
Alfredo Petrov July 19, 2014 08:30PM
I'm always very suspicious of the natural origin of heavy metal grains from placer deposits. The finders often say, "It must be natural because it came from 25 meters depth in the placer!", or something to that effect, but horseshoes and nails have been found buried very deeply in alluvium in California, and during floods heavy grains can sink through unconsolidated alluvium all the way down to bedrock. Nature herself engages in "panning" on a much larger scale than human beings.

There are several "minerals" currently accepted as true species that I myself can not accept as real species without more evidence of natural origin. Unfortunately the approval system works backwards now. The burden of proof is counterintuitively not on the person submitting the species for approval but on the person writing the discreditation, who must prove a negative. So it won't happen. Meanwhile, systematik collectors are happy to shell out money for these species, as long as they are on the IMA approved list. God bless them ;-)
Darrell Lane July 20, 2014 12:32AM
I will have pic's posted by Sunday nite, I'm not computer literate enough to understand how to get my pic's from the camera to my Document Files, I used to be able to do this but something changed on my computer and I can't figure out what went wrong, so tomorrow I'll visit either my Sister or Nephews (locally) and get it done. I went back to the Jeweler and he analyzed the rocks again, but he did not have a Print Out for them, but took pictures with my Camera of the readout of which I'll post too. He has a Olympus Innov-X Delta DC 2000 XRF analyzer with a Flex Stand as far as I can figure out. It's a handheld portable that fits upside down and has the Sample Space on top. I looked on-line for the images of it and figured out that his is a older version, probably 5 years old or so. is what looks to be the closes to what he has. On the 2.7 gram nugget it read, Element % MN .044, +- 0.66, FE 1.66, +- 0.08, CO 5.04, +- 0.11, W 92.85, +- 0.15....8.0 gram nugget read, MN 0.26, +- 0.05, FE 0.70, +- 0.06, CO 2.81, +- 0.08, W 96.23, +- 0.11....I thankyou All for the commentaries, skeptical criticism so far. I will checkout the IMA and see if there is a Member or Authority in the area. I'm playing Catch-Up on this, so please be Patient with me. It would of been alot easier on me if I had found these to be Platinum, as it is from everything I've read so far, these Nuggets must be 1,000 times rarer in either Platinum or Diamonds and I'm Old School and couldn't figure out how much of value these things are, if they are valuable, but I think I know where there is more of them. I will return within 24 hours to post pic's. Thanks Again, Darrell
Reiner Mielke July 20, 2014 01:18AM
That's about what I would expect for tungsten carbide, cobalt is commonly used as a binder
Ralph Bottrill July 20, 2014 02:37AM
It looks like the numbers were rounded to 100%, so yes, the analysis would then fit tungsten carbide.
Alfredo is right, with few exceptions most purported occurrences of native metals need to be treated with very great suspicion as they require very strange geological conditions.

Darrrell Lane July 20, 2014 06:45PM
Bear with me my good nephew is helping me. Darrell
open | download - 100_6760 (2).jpg (832.8 KB)
Darrell Lane July 20, 2014 06:46PM
another one
open | download - 100_6762.jpg (756.1 KB)
Darrell Lane July 20, 2014 06:47PM
another one
open | download - 100_6769.jpg (780.8 KB)
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