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Florida "Calcite Flower" Locality

Posted by Kelly Nash  
Kelly Nash February 21, 2012 12:32AM,11,file=36824,filename=Calcite_Flower_FL_SML_JPG.jpgI hope someone can help me pin down the location of this calcite crystal “flower” that is ex-John Barlow. His label says it is from “Florida Limestone Quarry, Brooksville, Florida”. There is another much like it in the book “The John F. Barlow Mineral Collection”, p.154, that is supposedly from “Florita Limestone Quarry, near LeCanto, Hernando County, Florida”. Lecanto (which is actually in Citrus County) and Brooksville (Hernando County) are only 22 miles apart. Mindat shows 7 quarries in Hernando County, but none with either of these names, although there are quarries named “Florida Mining and Materials Limestone - Broco Mine (Southdown - Broco Quarry)”; "Florida Mining/Materials Mine & Cement Plant"; and “Florida Rock Industries; Inc. - Brooksville Mine”.

There is one similar specimen from Florida shown in Mindat, here: ; with the location given as “Crystal Springs No. 2 quarry, Lecanto, Hardee Co., Florida, USA”. Hardee County is four counties south of Citrus County, so I think this locality is incorrect.

I think these specimens were somewhat plentiful locally in the early 1990s. There is a hole down the middle (~2 mm.), suggesting they’re stalactites. The story in the Barlow book is that they grew around palm tree roots. I hope someone can help me pin down the correct locality.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2012 02:25PM by Kelly Nash.
open | download - Calcite Flower FL SML JPG.jpg (144.8 KB)
Kelly Nash February 21, 2012 10:32PM
To confuse matters further, Jordi Fabre's mineral forum shows three very similar specimens here:
Fabre Mineral Forum post on Florida calcites
that are allegedly from "“Crystal River Quarry 2, Lecanto, Citrus County, Florida".
Kelly Nash February 22, 2012 02:12PM
I guess I'm just talking to myself here. Too many words maybe. I've had to edit these entries several times to clarify and get the geography straight. Maybe I can save somebody else the time I've taken trying to figure this out.

I found yet another very similar specimen in John Bett's "Mineral Museum" website here:
Hernando County Calcite
This is labeled as "Florida Lime Co. Quarry, Brooksville, Hernando County, Florida", pretty close to the Barlow label on mine.

I think I'll just enter mine under Hernando County for now, and maybe someday I will figure out the alternate names of some of the quarries listed in Mindat to narrow it down further. It's certainly possible there is more than one locality for these, However, I do think the location for the specimen shown in Mindat in Hardee County (linked above) is probably an incorrect entry.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2012 02:29PM by Kelly Nash.
Anonymous User February 22, 2012 03:24PM
I have a calcite stalagtite tip from "Lecanto, Florida". Nothing more specific. That area of FL has many limerock quarries, and I would be surprised if you can pin down an exact hard locality. I have seen Chris Wright advertise a number of similar specimens labeled as from "Brooksville, Florida". Is there an expert in Florida limerock mines around? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only Floridian on mindat, and I'm no expert. I recently corresponded with a gentleman who was looking to visit and collect at limerock quarries in the general area. I wish I could offer more information to both of you.
Harold (Hal) Prior February 22, 2012 06:12PM
I acquired a number of these in early 90's from a Florida collector. All had the hole in middle. I have doubts they were formed around palm tree roots, as the hole in each was very symetrical, and nearly all were the same diameter tube. I always believed they were stalactites with the hole being the liquid feed/drip tube, Several were terminated in a rounded tip without the flower, with the opening centered in the tip. I don't believe growing on a root would give the same symetry they all possessed. They were all labelled as being from the “Florida Limestone Quarry, Brooksville, Hernando County, Florida”. The one pictured is so similar to several of those I had that it may have been one that I sold at a show in the 90's. Clearly appears to be from the same locale. Unfortunately, Limestone quarries seem to change names frequently, as the ownership changes. ......Hal Prior
Jim Robison February 22, 2012 08:57PM
Heard from a dealer friend formerly a long time Florida resident, who has dealt with a lot of these specimens,'

"Its Crystal River Qy. No. 2, Lecanto, Citrus County, Florida"
Anonymous User February 22, 2012 09:21PM
I've never heard that these formed around palm tree roots before, but I'll say this: our palms have roots of very constant diameter (they don't continue to get thicker as they age like in dicots). But I suspect that the level that the calcite forms in is far below any existing roots. At Rucks Pit in Okeechobee County, the famous calcite clams come from a very deep level that has no living roots and no plant remains. That having been said, it is possible for calcite to form in more recent layers (or to form quickly in exposed areas). I've even seen a piece of undecomposed cypress wood (like a chip of landscape mulch) with yellow calcite growing on it. But I suspect that most of our FL calcite crystals of collection value come from deeper layers and are not formed around roots.

When I get home, I'll check out my mineral localities book (Ransom), but it may not give really specific information.
Anonymous User February 23, 2012 02:09AM
Ransom simply lists "Citrus County: Crystal River, area limestone quarry seams and vugs - calcite crystals (clear, pale yellow)...."
Kelly Nash February 23, 2012 02:35AM
Thanks, all you guys. It sounds like I at least have it narrowed down to a couple counties (southern Citrus and/or northern Hernando County).
Chris Wright February 23, 2012 08:32PM
Dear Kelly,
I am the person that sold John Barlow his specimens of calcite. They are stalactites - no palm trees. I bought the pocket found by Frank Garcia so many years ago. I messaged Frank for the precise location and received this reply "LeCanto Fla,,,,,,about 4 miles due north of the on going Vulcan limestone mine near Brooksville, Florida".

I hope that helps.

Chris Wright
Jamison K. Brizendine July 24, 2014 07:16PM
I purchased a similar specimen back in 2008, and I have been trying to find information on the locality. A breakthrough came when I recently found a guidebook online published by the Southeastern Geological Society by Tom Scott, Guy “Harley” Means, and Sam Upchurch, called the "Geology of Citrus County, Florida" and through that I have been trying to figure out why there is so much name confusion.

According to Scott et al. (2014), The Crystal River Quarries Inc., operates three quarries: The Lecanto Quarry, The Maylen Quarry, and the Red Level Quarry.

According to Upchurch (2014), these calcite specimens were quite common during the 1970s and 1980s, but recent quarrying has moved into an area were crystallization is now quite poor and with that no specimens. I would suspect that Frank Garcia probably found these specimens during that time frame.

The calcite is dated to the Upper Eocene Ocala Limestone Formation ~33.9 ma according to Scott et al. (2014) and in-filled sinkholes and springs are common throughout this entire deposit (Upchurch 2014, Scott et al. 2014). This region forms part of the Ocala Karst District.

Mindat has four listed entries for the Lecanto Quarry:

A. Lecanto Mine, Beverly Hills, Citrus Co. Florida, USA:
B. Carroll Contracting – Carroll Lecanto Pit, Citrus Co., Florida, USA:
C. Crystal River Quarries – Lecanto Quarry, Citrus Co., Florida, USA:
D. Lecanto Quarry, Citrus Co., Florida, USA:

These four entries are in fact the same location, but the literature, including the newly published one keeps swapping the describer (quarry, pit and mine). Lecanto Mine, Lecanto Pit and Lecanto Quarry, are in fact the same locality. Quarrying encountered during the 1970's and 1980's numerous small scale "caverns", which hosted to these calcites and flowstones.

The correct locality is the third one: Crystal River Quarries – Lecanto Quarry, Citrus Co., Florida, USA.

Scott et al. (2014), does not mention a “Crystal River Quarry #2, Lecanto, Citrus County, Florida”, but it does mention that the Crystal River Quarries – Maylen Quarry has also produced calcite specimens. Either the #2 nomenclature is an expansion of the existing Lecanto Quarry or it is in fact the Maylen Quarry that is described in Scott et al. 2014. I can't give you much more information that that.

Upchurch (2014) states that if calcium bicarbonate rich water enters either an unsaturated zone, a cavern, or a spring, carbon dioxide gas may escape and cause precipitation of calcite. The literature doesn't mention tree roots at all, the calcites were probably formed by degassing and then precipitation.

The publication is free to download…

References Cited:

Scott, T., Means, G., and S. Upchurch, 2014, Geology of Citrus County, Florida: Southeastern Geological Society, Tallahasee, Florida, United States, 49 p.

Scott, T., 2014, Geologic overview of the Florida Platform, in Scott, T., Means, G., and S. Upchurch, Geology of Citrus County, Florida: Southeastern Geological Society, Tallahasee, Florida, United States, 49 p.

Scott, T., Upchurch, S., and G. Means, 2014, Surficial Geology of Citrus County, Florida, in Scott, T., Means, G., and S. Upchurch, Geology of Citrus County, Florida: Southeastern Geological Society, Tallahasee, Florida, United States, 49 p.

Upchurch, S., 2014, Karst features in Citrus County, Florida, in Scott, T., Means, G., and S. Upchurch, Geology of Citrus County, Florida: Southeastern Geological Society, Tallahasee, Florida, United States, 49 p.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2014 07:19PM by Jamison K. Brizendine.
James McGuire May 19, 2015 03:48PM
Following up on this topic in a somewhat untimely manner, if you have interest in Florida minerals and calcite "flowers" please be sure to see the photogallery uploaded by Scott, Green, and Means. It is available at LINK. It includes nine pages of amazing photographs of Florida minerals.
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