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Servette-Chuc mining complex, Saint-Marcel, Aosta Valley, Italy

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Location is approximate, estimate based on other nearby localities.
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 45° 43' 56'' North , 7° 23' 37'' East (est.)
Margin of Error:~0km
Other regions containing this locality:The Alps, Europe
Locality type:Complex
Köppen climate type:ET : Tundra
Name(s) in local language(s):Complesso minerario di Servette-Chuc, Saint-Marcel, Valle d'Aosta, Italia

An ancient Fe-Cu mining complex located in the lower Saint-Marcel valley inside the meta-ophiolites of the Zermatt-Saas Unit. It consists of the Servette and Chuc deposits, on the right and left side of the valley, respectively.

The Servette deposit is situated between 1717 and 1890 m in altitude. The Fe-Cu ore, consisting mainly of pyrite and chalcopyrite, is included in meta-ophiolite rocks (interlayered chloriteschists, talcschists, glaucophanite, quartzite, slices of eclogite-facies metagabbro and serpentinite). It is concentrated in two main ENE-dipping layers of 3-4 m in thickness, and some minor levels (less than 1 m) located at the boundary between chloriteschists and glaucophanite, but it is also disseminated throughout the surrounding rocks. The uppermost gallery was opened at 1829 m in glaucophanite and Mn-rich quartzite layers that grade in carbonate-rich micaschists.
The Servette deposit was exploited in ancient (Roman or maybe even pre-Roman) times, surely in the Middle Ages, as indicate the slag radiocarbon dating and the existence of old excavations. During the 18th century it was exploited by the Challant family, as reported by Nicolis de Robilant (1786-87). However, most of the still visible mining remains date from the last period of exploitation between 1854 and 1950.

The Chuc deposit is situated between 1283 and 1443 m in altitude in a geological environment quite similar to that of Servette. It includes five main mineralized levels, WNW-trending and SSW-dipping, that are located at the boundary between chloriteschists and glaucophanite. The mined ore was sent via cableway to a laver on the left bank of the Saint-Marcel brook, where it was crushed and enriched in sulphides, and then transported down to Saint-Marcel by a 4-km-long pipe, or in the last years, by a cableway. Mining operations ceased in 1957.

The abandoned mining village of Chuc at 1422 m in altitude is located on the right side of the valley along the old “Cavour road” (strada Cavour), i.e. the pathway that connects Plout village to the nowadays main path Druges-Servette-Prabornaz mine. It was inhabited by the miners from 1854 to 1950 and linked to the Servette and Chuc mines through cableways.

Other sites connected with mining operations are the Servette slag heaps [http://www.mindat.org/loc-216201.html] and the spectacular streamlet Eva Verda (also reported as Eau Verte or Fontaine Verte in the ancient literature) [http://www.mindat.org/loc-251177.html].

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- Saint-Martin de La Motte, F. (1784-85): Sur la fontaine verte de Saint-Marcel dans la vallée d'Aoste. Mem. R. Acc. Sci. Torino [1], 7, 1-12.
- Nicolis de Robilant, S.B. (1786-87): Description du Duché d'Aoste, suivi d'un essai sur deux minières des anciens Romains et d'un supplément à la théorie des montagnes et des mines. Mem. R. Acc. Sci. Torino [1], 8, 245-274.
- De Saussure, H.B. (1796): Voyages dans les Alpes, précédés d'un essai sur l'histoire naturelle des environs de Genève. Fauche, Barde-Manget, Fauche-Borel Ed., Neuchâtel et Genève, tome 4, page 459.
- Natale, P. (1969): Recrystallization and remobilisation in some pyrite deposits of the Western Alps. In: (Ed.) Zuffardi, P., Remobilization of ores and minerals. Atti del Convegno sulla rimobilizzazione dei minerali metallici e non metallici, Ente Minerario Sardo, Cagliari, 23 pp.
- Scaini, G.(1971): La slavikite della miniera di Servette a Saint Marcel (Aosta). Natura, 62, 1, 135.
- Castello, P. (1979): Studio geologico-giacimentologico nelle valli di Saint-Marcel e di Fenis e quadro sinottico delle mineralizzazioni a magnetite, ferro-rame e manganese della Valle d’Aosta. Tesi, Università degli Studi di Torino, 338 pp.
- Castello, P., Dal Piaz, G.V., Gosso, G., Kienast, J.R., Martin, S., Natale, P., Nervo, R., Polino, R., Venturelli, G. (1980): The Piedmont ophiolite nappe in the Aosta valley and related ore deposits. In: Gruppo di Lavoro sulle Ofioliti Mediterranee, VI Ophiolite field conference, Field excursion guidebook, Firenze, 171-192.
- Castello, P (1981): Inventario delle mineralizzazioni a magnetite, ferro-rame e manganese del Complesso piemontese dei calcescisti con pietre verdi in Valle d'Aosta. Ofioliti, 6, 1, 5-46.
- Krutow-Mozgawa, A. (1988) : Métamorphisme dans le sédiments riches en fer ou magnesium de la couverture des ophiolites piémontaises (mine de Servette, Val d’Aoste). Thèse de 3ème cycle, Universitè P. et M. Curie, Paris VI, 166 pp.
- Martin, S., Tartarotti, P. (1989): Polyphase HP metamorphism in the ophiolitic glaucophanites of the lower St. Marcel valley (Aosta, Italy). Ofioliti, 14, 135-156.
- Martin, S., Meggiolaro, V., Tartarotti, P. (1990): Sulphide and oxide phases in the eclogitic mineralized lithologies of the lower St. Marcel valley. Plinius, 2, 67-68.
- Lorenzini, C. (1995): Le antiche miniere della Valle d'Aosta. Musumeci, Ed., Quart (Aosta), 165 pp.
- Zinetti, G. (2002): Analisi ambientale del dissesto idrogeologico causato dallo stato di abbandono e di degrado della miniera di Cu e Fe di Servette nel versante destro della bassa valle di Saint-Marcel (AO) e proposta di recupero ambientale. Tesi di Laurea, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria (Como).
- Martin, S, Godard, G., Rebay, G. (2004): The subducted Tethys in the Aosta Valley (Italian western Alps). The 32nd International Geological Congress, Field trip Guide Book B-02, 48 pp.
- Martin, S., Godard, G., Rebay, G. (2004): Walking on a Paleo Ocean Floor. The subducted Thetys in the Western Alps - An Excursion Guide. In: (Eds.) Beltrando M., Lister G., Ganne J., Boullier A., Evolution of the western Alps: insights from metamorphism, structural geology, tectonics and geochronology. Journal of the Virtual Explorer, Electronic Edition, ISSN 1441-8142, Vol.16, Paper 2.
- Tumiati, S., Casartelli, P., Mambretti, A., Martin, S., Frizzo, P., Rottoli, M. (2005): The ancient mine of Servette (Saint-Marcel, Val d' Aosta, western Italian Alps): A mineralogical, metallurgical and charcoal analysis of furnace slags. Archaeometry 47, 317-340.
- Piccoli, G.C., Maletto, G., Bosio, P., Lombardo, B. (2007): Minerali del Piemonte e della Valle d'Aosta. Associazione Amici del Museo "F. Eusebio" Alba, Ed., Alba (Cuneo) 607 pp.
- Martin, S., Rebay, G., Kienast, J.R., Mével, C. (2008): An eclogitised oceanic palaeo-hydrothermal field from the St. Marcel valley (Italian western Alps). Ofioliti, 33, 49-63.
- Tumiati, S., Godard, G., Masciocchi, N., Martin, S., Monticelli, D. (2008): Environmental factors controlling the precipitation of Cu-bearing hydrotalcite-like compounds from mine waters. The case of the "Eve verda" spring (Aosta Valley, Italy). European Journal of Mineralogy, 20, 73-94.

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