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Harts Range (Harts Ranges; Hartz Range; Hartz Ranges), Central Desert Region, Northern Territory, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 22° 59' 12'' South , 134° 55' 14'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -22.98667,134.92083
Köppen climate type:BWh : Hot deserts climate


Harts Range is about 190 kilometres by dirt road (Stuart and Plenty Hwys) north-east of Alice Springs. Areas most accessible and interesting tend to be along the northern limits of the ranges. The eastern and southern sections can be accessed by a track heading south of the Plenty Highway at the range's eastern limits. Its generally very rugged going, mines are small and difficult to find, with many areas not accessible at all by vehicle. Walking anywhere is possible of course, but hampered by lack of defined tracks and water. The highest point is Mount Brassey at 1203 metres, with several peaks only marginally lower.

Camping with some relative luxury (toilets, showers, and a shop) can be found at the Gemtree caravan park, along the Plenty Highway, about 140 kilometres by road north-east of Alice Springs. Basic camping is found at the Spotted Tiger camp ground (drop-toilets, otherwise be self sufficient), 8 kilometres south of the Atitjere indigenous community, about 200 kilometres by road north-east of Alice Springs, again off the Plenty Highway. This provides access to some nearby mica mines. A 4-wheel drive is essential for exploring beyond the campground, and be prepared to walk up steep hills.

Harts Range is of specific interest to mineral collectors due to the minerals and gemstones the region contains; many are of high quality. Twenty-three gemstone species are officially recorded from the area, Mindat showing probably the best collection of photographs on the internet, representative of this, in one website. Species include garnets (almandine, hessonite), zircon, feldspars (sunstone, moonstone, microcline, albite), kyanite, titanite, beryl (common, heliodor, aquamarine), quartz (common, sceptre, amethyst, smoky), corundum (ruby), sapphirine, tourmaline (schorl, elbaite), chrysoberyl, kornerupine, epidote, apatite, cordierite. Gemstones may be labelled from the mica mine they originate from, however some are labelled simply 'Harts Range', and could be isolated finds from unnamed pegmatites. These often come from members of the Atitjere community, or fossickers who have trekked cross-country (or the name of the mine has been lost or never provided). Fossickers discovering new sites are often not willing to divulge location details. The Harts Range is largely remote, waterless, and rugged, and wandering around in remote parts of it is not recommended. The range contains some minor base metal deposits, and nearby regions contain the Winnecke and Arltunga goldfields, and the Jervois copper deposits.

Mica mining started at Harts Range in the late 1880s, after Billy Benstead (Benstead Mine) noted high mica prices in London. Most miners came from the nearby Arltunga Goldfield which had not lived up to expectations. The first shipment to London (via camel and horse, firstly to Adelaide), saw only 5% of the mica survive the experience in a saleable condition. As a result miners drifted away to other areas. Mining continued sporadically until the 1960s, all small mines, no more than 100 metres down, and with little historic information. Italian immigrants were heavily involved with mica mining after World War One, and the most extensive mining took place during World War Two. Virtually all the mines contain mica (muscovite and lesser biotite) with some good examples showing transparency and patterning. Gemstones were thrown onto the dumps by the mica miners.

The central Mount Palmer area of the Harts Range are part of the Harts Range Group with a complicated structural and metamorphic history typical of the Arunta Block. The Harts Range Group forms a cover basement with the Irindina Gneiss forming the lowest part of the sequence. Above this is a volcano-sedimentary suite formed during continental rifting, with volcanism following the initial rifting with sandstones, mudstone, and some limestone deposited in the resulting basin. The Strangways Orogeny caused heating and deformation from the compression of the crust. Then folding and faulting. The numerous cross-cutting pegmatites are much younger, in the Cambrian period. The interactions of the pegmatites, and surrounding meta-sediments, and meta-igneous rocks provided the right conditions for the formation of high-quality mineral specimens. The Alice Springs Orogeny (Devonian) caused a major uplift in the area, bringing the older rocks near to the surface, subsequently exposed by erosion.
1:250 000 sheet: ILLOGWA CREEK SF53-15
1:100 000 sheet: Quartz
Universal grid reference: NQ 094 465
References: Clarke 1978 (MBR 780/026); Katz 1981 (J. Geol. Soc. Australia); McColl and Warren 1979 (Aust. Mineralogist).

Hillrise prospect was owned by Hillrise Properties NL and is one and the same as the Minstral Mine.
A location where some aventurine-style beryl has been found; sometimes marketed incorrectly as "Rainbow lattice sunstone".


Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded from this region.


Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

Actinolite

Albite

var: Andesine

'Albite-Anorthite Series'

'Allanite Group'

Almandine

Amphibole Supergroup

Anorthite

var: Bytownite

Anthophyllite

Antigorite

'Apatite'

Atacamite

Augite

Autunite

'Axinite Group'

Azurite

Baryte

Beryl

var: Aquamarine

var: Heliodor

'Biotite'

Bismuth

Bismuthinite

Brannerite

Calcite

Carnotite

Cassiterite

Chalcanthite

Chalcocite

Chalcopyrite

'Chlorite Group'

Chrysoberyl

Chrysocolla

Chrysotile

'Clinopyroxene Subgroup'

'Columbite-(Fe)-Columbite-(Mn) Series'

Cordierite

var: Iolite

Corundum

var: Ruby

var: Sapphire

Cubanite

Cummingtonite

Diaspore

Diopside

Dolomite

Elbaite

Enstatite

Epidote

Euxenite-(Y)

'Fayalite-Forsterite Series'

'Feldspar Group'

'var: Perthite'

Fluorite

Gahnite

Galena

'Garnet'

Gedrite

Goethite

Gold

Grossular

var: Hessonite

Hematite

Hercynite

'Hornblende'

Ilmenite

Kaolinite

'K Feldspar'

Kornerupine

Kyanite

Laumontite

Leucoxene

'Limonite'

Magnesite

Magnetite

Malachite

'Manganese Oxides'

'var: Manganese Dendrites'

Matildite

Melanterite

'Mica Group'

Microcline

var: Amazonite

Molybdenite

'Monazite'

'Moonstone'

Muscovite

var: Fuchsite

var: Sericite

'Olivine'

Opal

Orthoclase

'Orthopyroxene Subgroup'

Phlogopite

Prehnite

Pyrite

'Pyrochlore'

Pyrolusite

'Pyroxene Group'

Pyrrhotite

Quartz

var: Amethyst

var: Citrine

var: Milky Quartz

var: Rose Quartz

var: Rutilated Quartz

var: Sceptre Quartz

var: Smoky Quartz

Rutile

Samarskite-(Y)

Sapphirine

'Scapolite'

Scheelite

Schorl

'Serpentine Subgroup'

Sillimanite

'Smectite Group'

Smithsonite

Spessartine

Sphalerite

Spinel

'Stilbite'

'Sunstone'

Talc

'Tantalite'

Thorianite

var: Uranothorianite

Thorite

var: Uranothorite

Titanite

'Tourmaline'

Turquoise

Uraninite

Uranophane

'Uvite Series'

'Verdelite'

Vermiculite

Zircon


86 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

Note: this is a very new system on mindat.org and data is currently VERY limited. Please bear with us while we work towards adding this information!

Rock list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

Select Rock List Type

Alphabetical List Tree Diagram

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org

Cenozoic
0 - 66 Ma



ID: 693721
sand plain 38499

Age: Cenozoic (0 - 66 Ma)

Description: Sand or gravel plains; may include some residual alluvium; quartz sand sheets commonly with ferruginous pisoliths or pebbles; local clay, calcrete, laterite, silcrete, silt, colluvium

Comments: regolith; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Regolith

Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia). [5]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License


Localities in this Region


This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.

References

Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Daly, J., Dyson, D.F. (1956) Geophysical Investigations for Radioactivity in the Harts Range Area, Northern Territory, Department of National development/Bureau of Mineral Resources Geology and Geophysics, Commonwealth of Australia, Report No.32.
Mineralogical Record 11: 271
Mineralogical Record 21: 571
The Australian Mineralogist No. 26 September 1979, p.121-125 (The First Discovery of Ruby in Australia)

Mineral and/or Locality  
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