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Western North Carolina - Unknown Mineral ID

Posted by Adam Pryor  
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Adam Pryor September 12, 2018 02:24AM
Hi all -

First time posting to the forums. I'm an amateur rockhound living near Asheville, North Carolina. I recently stopped by the Ray Mica Mine, a low key spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the small town of Burnsville. It's known for it's "alaskite" pegmatite intrusions through mica/amphibole gneiss and schist and is host to various mica, quartz, feldspar, beryl, tourmaline, and columbite among other trace minerals. The area was mined out for the mica and spoil piles are all over the mountain side.

I've been there a few times now and have been fortunate to find a beryl crystal or two along with a small crystal of fluorapatite and a few pieces of black tourmaline on pegmatite. On my first visit though I found a curious specimen that at first looks like quartz, but exhibits what looks like monoclinic cleavage and almost prismatic stacking. I thought maybe it could be a type of feldspar or feldspathoid but I'm not sure. It is also loaded with mica (like most things in the area). I have never seen anything like it though. I've done some research on the pegmatite composition at the Ray Mine and the surrounding area; the towns of Micaville and Sprucepine just east of Burnsville. I noted that some lithium silicates such as petalite and spodumene had been found in the Sprucepine area pegmatite.

My final conclusion was that I may have found some petalite. The problem is that the Ray Mine is not none for producing lithium silicates. The specimen in appearance has some similarities to petalite, but given the previous statement I was doubtful. So I'm at a loss as to what this mineral could be, and I am asking for some help. Who knows, it could be nothing. Please see the attached photos and thanks!







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2018 02:52AM by Adam Pryor.
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Louis Zulli September 12, 2018 10:26AM
Sure looks like quartz to me.
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Wayne Corwin September 12, 2018 12:35PM
It's quartz where it grew with mica making the steps in the quartz.
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Adam Pryor September 12, 2018 12:52PM
I too believe it’s just quartz. I had never seen quartz form like that though. Wayne, your explanation makes complete sense now that I am taking a closer look at where the mica and quartz come together. Thanks for the quick ID! Here’s a picture of one of the aquamarine beryl crystals I found at the same location. I highly recommend checking out the Ray Mine, it's a great place!




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2018 12:58PM by Adam Pryor.
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Paul Brandes September 12, 2018 02:08PM
Welcome to Mindat, Adam!

Anytime you're dealing with a pegmatite, one can expect to find quartz which is what you have. It has that odd shape because of the phenomena Wayne described previously. The Ray Mine is indeed a neat place, very similar to some of the pegmetites found in New England...
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Adam Pryor September 14, 2018 04:24PM
Thanks for your additional clarification Paul! I've got another specimen that I'm scratching my head on. This specimen was not found at the Ray Mine but found in a wall of schist that is located behind my apartment complex. I'm not sure if the schist is from the western NC region or from NC at all. It appears to have been placed there during construction and development of the surrounding area. The schist itself is heavily weathered and eroding away. The specimen is also fragile but doesn't appear to be due to weathering of the host rock. My top three guesstimates on what the specimen could be are sillimanite, tremolite, or wollastonite as the crystals have formed in fiber like blades. There also appear to be some trace minerals included (possibly garnet?). I've posted a picture below. Thanks again!


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Donald B Peck September 15, 2018 05:26PM
Antigorite ?
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