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Agate Creek, Etheridge Shire, Queensland, Australiai
Regional Level Types
Agate CreekCreek
Etheridge ShireShire

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 18° 49' 59'' South , 143° 25' 0'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -18.83333,143.41667
GeoHash:G#: rhtuze2zf
Locality type:Creek
Köppen climate type:BSh : Hot semi-arid (steppe) climate

Approximately 70km South of Forsayth. A creek which is a tributary of the Robertson River.
General co-ordinates shown below.
Australia's premier agate locality. The first report of the locality in the literature was in the 1892 book Opals and Agates by Nehemiah Bartley. Bartley had visited the very remote location and gave the following account: “And how shall I describe this Sinbad's Valley, where agates are, the only real actual treasury of this kind on the face of the earth? …here we have the central valley itself, walled with cliffs, and grass-grown in places, and, in the centre, filled with agates of every size, shape, and colour, with more and more of them if you only choose to dig under the grass and soil at the sides, and unearth the buried treasures; while in the middle of the dry channel, where water runs in wet seasons, you may wade in tons of agates, sardonyx, onyx, and carnelian; and such ones, too!”
In 1900, W.E. Cameron of the Queensland Geological Survey reported the exact location of Agates Creek as a tributary of the Robertson River in the map accompanying his report on the Etheridge and Gilbert Goldfields. The map was marked “porcellainised shales underlying basalt with agates and carnelian stones.”
The locality seems to have been neglected in the first half of the 20th century owing to its remoteness and the abundance of agate on the world market from other sources such as Brazil and Idar Oberstein. Howard (2005) noted that in 1945 a Mr. G. Price mined a seam of blue-grey chalcedony varying in thickness from 50-300 mm and sold several hundredweight of the material for an average price of two shillings and sixpence a pound.

With the rise in interest in lapidary and rock hounding in the 1950's both hobbyists and commercial small-scale miners took an interest in the early reports of Bartley's Sinbad's Valley. According to Buchester (1972) a small group of enthusiastic Brisbane collectors set out to make the journey to Agate Creek. There were no guides and they practically had to make their own roads, however the agates collected and their accounts led to renewed interest in the locality. During the 1960's and 70's thousands of collectors visited the locality and eventually a designated fossicking areas was established, which is still present today.

Regions containing this locality

Australia Plate

Plate - 0 mineral species & varietal names listed

North Australian Element, Australia

Craton - 769 mineral species & varietal names listed

Eromanga Basin, Australia

Basin - 213 mineral species & varietal names listed

Etheridge Province, Queensland, Australia

Geologic Province - 103 mineral species & varietal names listed

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Mineral List

4 valid minerals.

Detailed Mineral List:

Formula: CaCO3
Reference: Steve Sorrell Collection
Formula: CaF2
Reference: Dieter Mylius collection
Formula: α-Fe3+O(OH)
Reference: Steve Sorrell Collection
Formula: SiO2
Reference: Van King
Quartz var: Agate
Reference: Mineralogical Magazine, October 2006, Vol. 70(5), pp. 485–498
Quartz var: Amethyst
Formula: SiO2
Reference: Steve Sorrell Collection
Quartz var: Chalcedony
Formula: SiO2
Quartz var: Rock Crystal
Formula: SiO2
'Thunder Egg'
Reference: Van King

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 3 - Halides
Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
var: Agate4.DA.05SiO2
var: Amethyst4.DA.05SiO2
var: Chalcedony4.DA.05SiO2
var: Rock Crystal4.DA.05SiO2
Group 5 - Nitrates and Carbonates
Unclassified Minerals, Rocks, etc.
Thunder Egg-

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 75 - TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with [4] coordinated Si
Unclassified Minerals, Rocks, etc.
var: Agate-SiO2
var: Amethyst-SiO2
var: Chalcedony-SiO2
var: Rock Crystal-SiO2
'Thunder Egg'-

List of minerals for each chemical element

H Goethiteα-Fe3+O(OH)
C CalciteCaCO3
O Quartz (var: Amethyst)SiO2
O CalciteCaCO3
O Quartz (var: Chalcedony)SiO2
O Goethiteα-Fe3+O(OH)
O QuartzSiO2
O Quartz (var: Rock Crystal)SiO2
F FluoriteCaF2
Si Quartz (var: Amethyst)SiO2
Si Quartz (var: Chalcedony)SiO2
Si QuartzSiO2
Si Quartz (var: Rock Crystal)SiO2
Ca CalciteCaCO3
Ca FluoriteCaF2
Fe Goethiteα-Fe3+O(OH)

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

145 - 201.3 Ma

ID: 802690
Hampstead Sandstone

Age: Jurassic (145 - 201.3 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Hampstead Sandstone

Description: Clayey, commonly pebbly, quartzose sandstone and conglomerate

Comments: feldspar- or lithic-rich arenite to rudite; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Feldspar- or lithic-rich arenite to rudite

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]

Mesoproterozoic - Statherian
1000 - 1800 Ma

ID: 3184796
Paleoproterozoic-Mesoproterozoic crystalline metamorphic rocks

Age: Proterozoic (1000 - 1800 Ma)

Comments: Georgetown-Coen Block

Lithology: Paragneiss/metavolcanic gneiss

Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. [154]

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


Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
Bartley, Nehemiah (1892) Opals and agates; or, Scenes under the Southern Cross and the Magelhans: being memories of fifty years of Australia and Polynesia. Gordan and Gotch, Brisbane, 310 pp.
Buchester, K.J. (1972) A Treasury of Australian Gemstones. Ure Smith, Sydney, 192 pp.
Howard, Sir P. (2005) Fossicking for Queensland Agate. Self published, 132 pp.

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