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St John's Island (Zagbargad; Zabargad; Zebirget; Seberged; Topazios), Red Sea, Egypt

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 23° 36' 15'' North , 36° 11' 41'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 23.60444,36.19500

Quaternary volcanic island, 3 x 2 km in size, which is an ancient (3rd century) locality of gem peridot. The gem peridot is found in olivenite dikes with widths in the dm to m scale. These dykes consist of large platy olivine crystals (up to 20 cm) of brown color, with some serpentine in the interstices. They have abundant open cavities which occasionally contain transparent crystals of green peridot. The large brown olivine crystals tend to become inclusion-poor and green in color at the margins, ending in these cavities.

The Greco-Roman name of the island, Topazios, is believed to have given the name to topaz.
Largest of a group of islands in Foul Bay; located 46 km south-east of Ras Banas.

Note: The island is part of the Elba National Park.

Presence of spinel-lherzolites with anhydrous Al-diopside pyroxenites and hydrous Cr-diopside pyroxenites layers.
In the 19th century, geologists re-explored old mines and found interesting nickel deposits, which were later mined in the Nasser era around 1960.

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Peridot from St. John's / Zabargad Island by Olav Revheim

Mineral List

19 valid minerals.

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on 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 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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Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD77–79) Naturalis Historiae
James Raymond Wellsted (1838) Travels in Arabia. Published by Murray in London, 508 pages.
Wilson, W. (1976) Famous Mineral Localities: Saint John's Island, Egypt. Mineralogical Record: 7(6): 310-314.
Gübelin, E. (1980) Seberged, die Peridot-Insel im Roten Meer. Lapis: 5(11): 19-26.
Kurat, G., Niedermayr, G., Prinz, M. (1982) Peridot von Zabargad. Rotes Meer. Aufschluss: 33(5): 169-182.
Bosch, D. (1991) Introduction d’eau de mer dans le diaper mantellique de Zabargad (Mer Rouge) d’après les isotopes du Sr et du Nd. C.R. Acad, Sci- Paris: t.313: Sèrie II: 49-56.
Kurat, G., Palme, H., Eembey-Isztin, A., Touret, J., Ntaflos, T., Spettel, B., Brandstatter, F., Dreibus, G., Prinz, M. (1993) Petrology and geochemistry of peridotites and associated vein rocks of Zabargad Island, Red Sea, Egypt. Mineral. Petrol.: 48: 309-341.
Boullier, A.M., Firdaous, K., Boudier, F. (1997) Fluid circulation related to deformation in the Zabargad gneisses (Red Sea rift). Tectonophysics: 279: 281-302.
Harrell, J., Bloxam, E. (2010) Egypt’s evening emeralds-Peridot mining on Zabargad Island. Minerva: 21(6): 18-22.
Gjerazi, I., Ntaflos, T. (2014) Petrology of pyroxenitic vein in spinel-plagioclas lherzolites from Zabargad island, Red Sea, Egypt. Geophysical Research Abstracts: 16: EGU2014-13367.

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