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Identity HelpLocality for Torbernite: Photo 369391

21st Feb 2011 21:43 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Photo 369391 is attributed to Southers Branch Mine, but this has been questioned; it might be Chalk Mountain Mine instead. That there are only four Chalk Mountain torberbite photos on Mindat, and no tobernite photos (other than the one in question) from the Southers Branch Mine, makes comparison difficult. Can any North Carolina or tobernite experts out there shed some light on this?

22nd Feb 2011 00:25 UTCRonald John Gyllenhammer Expert

Hi Steve,

I don't know how much help this will be but here are three images I created for you from my own reference specimen of torbernite from Chalk MT, Spruce Pine, NC. The matrix is alaskite that is somewhat foliated, as seen below. Hope it helps Steve.


22nd Feb 2011 01:48 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Thanks, John. Your matrix and my matrix and pretty much the same, but the mines are a short walk apart, so I would expect similar matrices.

22nd Feb 2011 02:00 UTCRonald John Gyllenhammer Expert

Agreed. Unless you have reason to suspect that your label is incorrect, I don't see a problem with the specimen being attributed to Southers Branch Mine.


22nd Feb 2011 05:10 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

The Mindat editors brought the locality into question, so I thought I'd consult the experts.

22nd Feb 2011 21:44 UTCDennis Herman

Having lived in the Spruce Pine area during the 1960s and early 70s, I am familiar with most of the mines in that region. The specimen is not the problem with the locality, it's that the locality name is not entirely accurate. The Southers Branch Mine is a misinterpretation of the regional dialect, and the actual mine is (was) the Sullins Branch Mine. There is no stream called Southers Branch in Mitchell County, or in the entire Spruce Pine mining district. One of the few references that mention a Southers Branch Mine near Spruce Pine is the NC Geological Survey website, and they have a question mark (?) after the mine name indicating there is some confusion.

Here are some Torbernite (Metatorbernite) specimens that I have from the area around Spruce Pine:

Sullins Branch Mine, Spruce Pine, Grassy Creek Township, Mitchell Co., North Carolina.

Pine Mountain Mine, (Minpro) Spruce Pine, Grassy Creek Township, Mitchell Co., North Carolina. This mine is located just northwest of the Sullins Branch Mine.

These next two specimens are from the same locality, which has not been reported previously.

Autrey Hollow mines, Estatoe, Grassy Creek Township, Mitchell Co., North Carolina. This mine is located approximately 1000 meters west of the Chalk Mountain Mine. I collected this specimen in 1966, along with many other mineral species.

Autrey Hollow mines, Estatoe, Grassy Creek Township, Mitchell Co., North Carolina. Personally collected in 1966.


22nd Feb 2011 22:00 UTCRonald John Gyllenhammer Expert

Sullins Branch Mine was added as an aka on the Southers Branch Mine locality page http://www.mindat.org/loc-23203.html but any mineral photos labeled as coming from either locality name can and probably should be added to the Sullins Branch Mine page. http://www.mindat.org/loc-58942.html Also, Torbernite is one of the species listed here.

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