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Skipton Caves (Skipton lava caves; Mt Widderin Caves), Mt. Widderin (Anderson's Hill), Skipton, Corangamite Shire, Victoria, Australiai
Regional Level Types
Skipton Caves (Skipton lava caves; Mt Widderin Caves)Group of Caves
Mt. Widderin (Anderson's Hill)Mountain
Skipton- not defined -
Corangamite ShireShire
VictoriaState
AustraliaCountry

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Key
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):
37° 44' 13'' South , 143° 20' 52'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal):
Locality type:
Group of Caves
Köppen climate type:
Nearest Settlements:
PlacePopulationDistance
Cardigan647 (2015)42.0km
Delacombe3,356 (2015)44.2km
Sebastopol8,045 (2015)46.4km
Newington1,888 (2015)46.4km
Lake Wendouree1,471 (2015)48.6km


The Skipton Lava Caves are located on private property on the western flank of Mount Widderin, approximately 6 km south of Skipton in western Victoria. The caves are volcanic in origin, and are comprised of three large chambers, the largest being 58 by 19 metres with a maximum 9 m ceiling height. These chambers are connected by narrow passages.
It is believed that locals were told about the existence of the cave by Aboriginal people in 1839. The earliest written report (1843) stated the caves were a favoured roosting and breeding site for bats, and "there are large mounds of dark kind of excrescence, rising in five columns, 10 or 12 feet high which is said to be bat dung. It contained shiny particles."
The large bat population is said to have disappeared in 1866 and never returned.
These thick guano beds soon attracted the attention of the early settlers because of the value as agricultural fertilizer, and the deposit was all but exhausted by 1895.
In modern times very few traces remain of any guano or mineralisation, and collecting or removal of any remaining material is prohibited.

Skipton Lava Caves is the type locality for 4 minerals-
DITTMARITE 1887
HANNAYITE 1878
NEWBERYITE 1879
SCHERTELITE 1902

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Mineral List


12 valid minerals. 4 (TL) - type locality of valid minerals.

Detailed Mineral List:

Brushite
Formula: Ca(HPO4) · 2H2O
Description: Brushite at Skipton Caves occurs in two forms: 1. as small pale brown needles and blades up to 3 mm in length usually associated with struvite as either random or inwardly radial orientations. 2. as pale yellow powder in seams and pockets on basalt.
Reference: 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: 700.; Webb, J. A., Joyce, E. B., & Stevens, N. C. (1982). Lava caves of Australia. In Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Vulcanospeleology. International Speleological Foundation, Seattle. p74-85.
Dittmarite (TL)
Formula: (NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
Type Locality:
Description: Occurs in bat guano. Was originally found "in the form of small rhombic transparent crystals". The original material is lost and no other specimens appear to have been collected.
Reference: 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: 699; Birch, W.D. & D.A. Henry, eds. (1993): Phosphate Minerals of Victoria. The Mineralogical Society of Victoria - Special publication No.3 (192p): 123-144.
Gypsum
Formula: CaSO4 · 2H2O
Description: Occurs mainly as a damp off-white to pale yellow powder, also rarely as microscopic, equant water-clear crystals.
Reference: MacIvor R W E (1887) On Australian bat guano and some minerals occurring therein. The Chemical News 55, 215-216
Hannayite (TL)
Formula: (NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
Type Locality:
Description: Occurs in bat guano. Hannayite occurs as slender, translucent, near-colourless to pale yellow prisms reaching a maximum size of 12mm long, 2mm wide and approximately 1mm thick.
Reference: 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: 699, 700, 710.
Magnesite
Formula: MgCO3
Reference: No reference listed
Newberyite (TL)
Formula: Mg(HPO4) · 3H2O
Type Locality:
Description: Newberyite crystals from Skipton Caves show 3 different habits 1- the crystals are tabular, translucent to opaque and grey-brown, with faces of the dominant form being uneven and dull. Complex twinning on these faces produces irregular rosettes of intergrown plates or roughly spheroidal shape which may reach 5 cm across. 2- these crystals are glassy, internally fractured, have lustrous faces and range from pale yellow to a dirty brown colour. Inclusions of guano particles are common. These crystals are usually 0.1-10 mm. 3- less common habit shows features with characteristics of the tabular form and equant habits. These form "skeleton" crystals, in reference to the set of partly separated plates developed parallel to the brachy-pinacoids.
Reference: 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: 699, 710.; Webb, J. A., Joyce, E. B., & Stevens, N. C. (1982). Lava caves of Australia. In Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Vulcanospeleology. International Speleological Foundation, Seattle. p74-85.
Opal
Formula: SiO2 · nH2O
Description: Parts of the walls in the chambers are covered with small brown stalactites of opaline silica which are no more than 25 mm long and 6 mm diameter.
Reference: Webb, J. A., Joyce, E. B., & Stevens, N. C. (1982). Lava caves of Australia. In Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Vulcanospeleology. International Speleological Foundation, Seattle. p74-85.
Sasaite
Formula: (Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
Description: Sasaite has been found at Skipton Caves as a white clay-like deposit on the surface and in cracks in dark consolidated floor material. It ranges in texture from soft white powdery to compact pale pinkish yellow. It was not found associated with the other phosphate minerals.
Reference: Birch, W.D. & D.A. Henry, eds. (1993): Phosphate Minerals of Victoria. The Mineralogical Society of Victoria - Special publication No.3 (192p): 123-144.
Schertelite (TL)
Formula: (NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
Type Locality:
Description: Occurs in small colourless flat crystals of somewhat indistinct character. The original material has been lost.
Reference: 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: 699; Clark, 1993 - "Hey's Mineral Index"; Mineralogical Magazine (1903): 376, 699.
Stercorite ?
Formula: Na(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
Description: MacIvor (1902) reported sodium ammonium monohydrogen orthophosphate in the aqueous extract separated from guano by repeated crystallisations. This may indicate transient existence of the mineral stercorite in the caves.
Struvite
Formula: (NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
Description: Occurs in bat guano. Skipton struvite occurs as glassy colourless to very pale yellow triangular prism-shaped crystals, which are usually less than 12 mm across, but may reach 15 mm. The larger crystals are usually etched. Crystals of struvite alter to white opaque newberyite and become fragile upon exposure to air over a period of months to years. Has been found associated with brushite.
Reference: 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: 699, 716.; Webb, J. A., Joyce, E. B., & Stevens, N. C. (1982). Lava caves of Australia. In Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Vulcanospeleology. International Speleological Foundation, Seattle. p74-85.
Taranakite
Formula: (K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O
Description: Reported as a white powdery coating on the exposed surfaces of basalt, and as 0.5 mm sub-spherical growths in basalt boulders.
Reference: Webb, J. A., Joyce, E. B., & Stevens, N. C. (1982). Lava caves of Australia. In Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Vulcanospeleology. International Speleological Foundation, Seattle. p74-85.

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
Opal4.DA.10SiO2 · nH2O
Group 5 - Nitrates and Carbonates
Magnesite5.AB.05MgCO3
Group 7 - Sulphates, Chromates, Molybdates and Tungstates
Gypsum7.CD.40CaSO4 · 2H2O
Group 8 - Phosphates, Arsenates and Vanadates
Brushite8.CJ.50Ca(HPO4) · 2H2O
Dittmarite (TL)8.CH.20(NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
Hannayite (TL)8.CH.35(NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
Newberyite (TL)8.CE.10Mg(HPO4) · 3H2O
Sasaite8.DB.55(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
Schertelite (TL)8.CH.30(NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
Stercorite ?8.CJ.05Na(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
Struvite8.CH.40(NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
Taranakite8.CH.25(K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 14 - ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
A(XO3)
Magnesite14.1.1.2MgCO3
Group 29 - HYDRATED ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
AXO4·xH2O
Gypsum29.6.3.1CaSO4 · 2H2O
Group 39 - HYDRATED ACID PHOSPHATES,ARSENATES AND VANADATES
A[HXO4]·xH2O
Brushite39.1.1.1Ca(HPO4) · 2H2O
Newberyite (TL)39.1.6.1Mg(HPO4) · 3H2O
Miscellaneous
Hannayite (TL)39.3.5.1(NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
Schertelite (TL)39.3.2.1(NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
Stercorite ?39.3.1.1Na(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
Taranakite39.3.6.1(K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O
Group 40 - HYDRATED NORMAL PHOSPHATES,ARSENATES AND VANADATES
AB(XO4)·xH2O
Dittmarite (TL)40.1.2.1(NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
Struvite40.1.1.1(NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
Group 43 - COMPOUND PHOSPHATES, ETC.
Hydrated Compound Phosphates, etc·, Containing Hydroxyl or Halogen
Sasaite43.5.4.1(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
Group 75 - TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with H2O and organics
Opal75.2.1.1SiO2 · nH2O

List of minerals for each chemical element

HHydrogen
H Hannayite(NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
H NewberyiteMg(HPO4) · 3H2O
H Schertelite(NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
H Dittmarite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
H Struvite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
H Sasaite(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
H BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
H GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
H Taranakite(K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O
H OpalSiO2 · nH2O
H StercoriteNa(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
CCarbon
C MagnesiteMgCO3
NNitrogen
N Hannayite(NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
N Schertelite(NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
N Dittmarite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
N Struvite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
N StercoriteNa(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
OOxygen
O Hannayite(NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
O NewberyiteMg(HPO4) · 3H2O
O Schertelite(NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
O Dittmarite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
O Struvite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
O Sasaite(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
O BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
O GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
O MagnesiteMgCO3
O Taranakite(K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O
O OpalSiO2 · nH2O
O StercoriteNa(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
NaSodium
Na StercoriteNa(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
MgMagnesium
Mg Hannayite(NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
Mg NewberyiteMg(HPO4) · 3H2O
Mg Schertelite(NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
Mg Dittmarite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
Mg Struvite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
Mg MagnesiteMgCO3
AlAluminium
Al Sasaite(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
Al Taranakite(K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O
SiSilicon
Si OpalSiO2 · nH2O
PPhosphorus
P Hannayite(NH4)2Mg3H4(PO4)4 · 8H2O
P NewberyiteMg(HPO4) · 3H2O
P Schertelite(NH4)2MgH2(PO4)2 · 4H2O
P Dittmarite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · H2O
P Struvite(NH4)Mg(PO4) · 6H2O
P Sasaite(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
P BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
P Taranakite(K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O
P StercoriteNa(NH4)HPO4 · 4H2O
SSulfur
S Sasaite(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O
S GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
KPotassium
K Taranakite(K,NH4)Al3(PO4)3(OH) · 9H2O
CaCalcium
Ca BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
Ca GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
FeIron
Fe Sasaite(Al,Fe3+)14(PO4)11(SO4)(OH)7 · 83H2O

References

Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
- 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: 699, 700.
- Birch, W.D. & D.A. Henry, eds. (1993): Phosphate Minerals of Victoria. The Mineralogical Society of Victoria - Special publication No.3 (192p): 123-144.
-Pilkington E.S., Segnit E.R. (1980): Australian Mineralogist No.30 pg.141-143 - Taranakite from the Skipton Caves, Victoria, Australia
Webb J.A., Joyce E.B., Stevens N.C. - The commission on Volcanic Caves pg. 74-85. - Lava Caves of Australia.

Other Regions, Features and Areas containg this locality

Australia
Australian PlateTectonic Plate

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