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Sugar Loaf Islands, New Plymouth, New Plymouth District, Taranaki Region, North Island, New Zealand

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 39° 2' 57'' South , 174° 1' 39'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -39.04943,174.02777
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate
Name(s) in local language(s):Ngā Motu
Other/historical region names associated with this locality:Sugar Loaf Islands (modern name), Sugarloaf Islands

Also Sugarloaf Islands. Cox, S.H. (1882)also refers to the islands as the Sugar Loaves, but it would appear that this term is incorrect.

The GPS coordinates are for the five Sugar Loaf Islands in general.

The islands are the type locality for taranakite, the first new mineral species discovered in New Zealand. Taranakite is a hydrated iron aluminium phosphate mineral, formed from the interaction of clays and alumino rocks with enriched phosphate from bird guano on the islands.

The exact position of the type locality for taranakite is not detailed by Hector & Skey (1865) or Cox (1882).

Taranakite was first identified by James Hector (government geologist) and William Skey in 1866, from material collected by H. Richmond, as thin yellowish-white amorphous seams in fissures in hornblende andesite.

Within this is dark yellow-brown seams initially identified as wavellite, however a chemical study of the material in 1946 (Bannister et. al., 1946), identified the material as vashegyite. Wavellite is now doubtful for the location.

Taranakite is also found at Chrystalls Beach (Cooks Head Rock), Clutha District, Otago Region, South Island, New Zealand.

Mineral List

3 valid minerals. 1 (TL) - type locality of valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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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

Holocene - Calabrian
0 - 1.806 Ma

ID: 1319264
Sugar Loaf Andesite of Egmont Volcanic Centre

Age: Pleistocene (0 - 1.806 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Sugar Loaf Andesite

Description: Hornblende andesite lava and breccia.

Comments: Early Pleistocene igneous rocks. Age based on K-Ar

Lithology: Major:: {andesite lava}

Reference: Heron, D.W. . Geology Map of New Zealand 1:250 000. GNS Science Geological Map 1. [13]

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

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.


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Hector, J., Skey, W. (1865) Taranakite, a new phosphatic mineral, Taranaki, presented by H. Richmond, Esq. in Appendix A. Supplementary Report on Class 1. Reports of the Jurors, New Zealand Expedition, pg. 423. (https://archive.org/stream/reportsandaward00zgoog#page/n436/mode/2up Checked 2017)
Bannister, F.A., Hutchinson, G.E. (1946) The Identity of Minervite and Palmerite with Taranakite, Mineralogical Magazine, 28, 31-35, March 1947.
Palache, C., Berman, H., Frondel, C. (1951) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II: 1000.
Fiore, S., Laviano, R. (1991) Brushite, hydroxylapatite, and taranakite from Apulian caves (southern Italy): New mineralogical data. American Mineralogist: 76: 1722-1727.
Cox, S.H. (1882) "Notes on the Mineralogy of New Zealand" (PDF). Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 15: 385.

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