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PhotosSalammoniac - Coronel Manuel Rodríguez mine, Mejillones peninsula, Mejillones, Antofagasta Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile

24th May 2018 17:31 UTCŁukasz Kruszewski Expert

Although the bluish crystals do resemble salammoniac in their shape, there is almost undoubtedly no tenorite in this sample. Also blue colour is extremely untypical for sal ammoniac. I assume there is some kind of a Cu-bearing species colouring it? Was it analyzed?

24th May 2018 17:53 UTCUwe Kolitsch Manager

Message sent.

I agree that tenorite is extremely unlikely.

The locality page says:

"NOTE on the mineral list: "kröhnkite" and "blödite" collected at a small pond approximately 2.7 km from the workings at Coronel Manuel Rodriguez Mine turned out to be salammoniac (coloured by inclusions of copper minerals) and lecontite, respectively (e-rocks-link below)."

24th May 2018 17:58 UTCNadya Georgieva Expert

Here is the analysis

24th May 2018 19:18 UTCUwe Kolitsch Manager

Thanks for changing tenorite to thénardite. Photo re-approved.

25th May 2018 07:56 UTCHartmut Hensel

Now we know that the bluish mineral is indeed salammoniac. But there are three other species assigned to this photo. How do these look like? Is the big white one thenardite? What about lecontite and mascagnite?

That's again one of many examples where a helpful description is completely missing from my point of view and I wonder why such photos are approved.

25th May 2018 13:31 UTCNadya Georgieva Expert

Blue mineral was identified as salammoniac with inclusion of copper ions.

The lecontite crystals are covered by white coating. New analysis identified that the white coating consists of two rare sulfates mascagnite and thenardite.

31st May 2019 09:19 UTCUwe Kolitsch Manager

For new information (wrong locality, anthropogenic phases),

see https://www.mindat.org/mesg-105-464001.html

1st Jun 2019 06:51 UTCDavid Flynn

Hey guys, I posted in another thread as well, but I believe I found the real location.

It's roughly 10-15km SOUTH of Antofagasta, 50km from Colonel Manuel Rodriguez Mine, and OVER 100km from La Escondida Mina, which I've seen mentioned as well.

I've attached photos from the research I've done.



1st Jun 2019 07:51 UTCJolyon Ralph Founder

Great research, David. We should update all details appropriately

1st Jun 2019 08:03 UTCFrank K. Mazdab Manager

does this mean the minerals are non-anthropogenic and it's simply that the original locality was incorrect? It seems odd that the original description noted the samples came from "2.7 km from Coronel Manuel Rodríguez... ", which seems an awfully precise assessment to be mixed up with a place actually 50 km away?

1st Jun 2019 08:06 UTCJolyon Ralph Founder

It's not unsurprising for a collector/dealer to deliberately fabricate a locality description. I guess it's possible there are two or more of these ponds but it does seem to match the photos very well. And regardless of where it is the locality is still a man made toxic swamp.

1st Jun 2019 08:10 UTCFrank K. Mazdab Manager

Are we certain it's a fully man-made toxic swamp? I see on the second Google map immediately west of the locality is the word "Yeso"... I think that's Spanish for gypsum, so sulfates may be ubiquitous in the area?

1st Jun 2019 09:38 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

Jolyon's assessment seems probably correct to me. The shape of the pond and surrounding features is obviously artificial, and the contents of the pond suggest it wasn't an attempt to raise tilapia. So toxic waste dump would fit.

And the horrendous geographic misplacement could be just some dealer trying to hide the easy collecting spot from competitors.

1st Jun 2019 10:03 UTCJolyon Ralph Founder

A shame - a pseudomorph of lecontite after tilapia would be quite desirable :)

1st Jun 2019 14:32 UTCKevin Conroy Manager

I just added some info to the other thread: https://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,105,464001,464269#msg-464269

1st Jun 2019 16:04 UTCDavid Flynn

I feel like we should still be open to possibilities. We’re assuming a lot by completely writing off the find so soon, especially with new location info coming out, no?

Are we for sure there are any mining operations close by the updated location that could account for this?

1st Jun 2019 18:03 UTCDavid Flynn

Looks like this site also has outdated photos that match up with the e-rocks article photos!

Geographically speaking, this looks like maybe it could have been a collection of water coming down from the mountains?



1st Jun 2019 18:48 UTCDavid Flynn

Showed my buddy over at the Tourmaline King mine in California the satellite images and other research I've done on the subject and here's what he told me:

"I don't see the tell tail signs of tunneling or quarrying. Almost looks like they cut in and found it. There's the possibility that it could be a spring that allowed the material to percolate out of the ore body and ended up in the bottom of the valley. That's how calcites form in pegmatites at the King mine. They gather up all the calcium in or around the peg body and recrystallize in pocket."

1st Jun 2019 18:52 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

The fact that this pond is obviously an artificially dammed feature and not a natural pond, and that ammonia compounds are used in extracting copper from ores, makes it too much of a stretch to think that these salts are not anthropogenic.


... Which, as I'll reiterate again, doesn't bother me from a collector point of view as, like many other collectors, I'm quite fascinated by semi-anthropogenic crystals and keep several different kinds in my collection, but our mineralogical database purposes do require noting the distinction.

1st Jun 2019 18:55 UTCDavid Flynn

Are we even sure there is copper mining being done at the location? It seems to me the copper mine theory came when people thought it was tailings from La Escondida. A lot of assumptions are being made still when facts are still being presented daily.

1st Jun 2019 19:32 UTCDavid Flynn

Everyone is debating the large source or ammonia but Chile is also home to many volcanoes.

Ammonia is a by-product of volcanic eruption which nobody has connected yet.

1st Jun 2019 20:29 UTCDavid Flynn

One theory I have is that cryo-volcanic activity brought ammonium and water to the surface via subterranean fissures.

1st Jun 2019 23:21 UTCDavid Flynn

Uwe Kolitsch Wrote:


> Wrong theory, see

> https://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,105,464001,4

> 64306,page=2#msg-464306


Before writing it off, do you actually have any proof this area was used for copper mining? All I see is heresay and rumors.

Until two days ago, nobody knew where the pond was and I found it.

2nd Jun 2019 00:51 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

You did a great job finding that pond, David. But it's an artificial "pond", not a natural mineral locality. And as far as I know, no one claimed it was a copper mining area. Are there any copper minerals there? Or just some blue staining that is assumed to be caused by traces of copper? Just a couple Kg of Cu could produce all the blue we see there!

2nd Jun 2019 02:46 UTCDavid Flynn

I just wanted to make it clear, I'm not suggesting I'm right and anyone else is wrong. Alfredo, I've seen a few people suggest the high concentration of ammonium sulfate could be due to copper mining.

I have not made any conclusion on my findings because as of a week ago, we knew a lot less about this find than we do now. It just feels good to investigate all options and rule them out in order to find the right one.

This is totally a man-made pond from my research, I just wanted to eliminate all other options first and ask question that came up for me.

I feel like that's the right way to do it.

2nd Jun 2019 06:12 UTCDavid Flynn

Also, it has been brought to my attention there are several copper mines within the mountains east and northeast of the "pond"

2nd Jun 2019 06:36 UTCFrank K. Mazdab Manager

At this point I'm simply curious exactly where the Coronel Manuel Rodríguez mine is, and what commodity was mined there. The Google map view of the coordinates given for this locality shows a rather unimpressive bit of human activity way west of what I had always presumed was the main Chilean copper porphyry belt.

2nd Jun 2019 14:15 UTCGerhard Möhn Expert

The pond is nearby Coloso south of Antofagasta. At Coloso there is the port with some other facilities of Escondida mine.

Years ago they run ammonia leaching of copper ore there. It seems to be better to let the toxic waste liquids dry in the desert than to put it into the ocean. Informations you can find in internet under,,minera escondida". On Wikimapia the pond is designated as mine tailings of Escondida mine.

Although I was not there yet, I think it's the right place to find the beautiful (semi)artificial crystals.

It seems to be that Lecontite decomposes into Thenardite and Mascagnite due to dehydration. So better store it sealed.

By the way: Blue and green copper bearing natural Salammoniac is known from Pabellón de Pica.

2nd Jun 2019 21:19 UTCFrank K. Mazdab Manager

The mentioned pond is S of Antofagasta, but the purported locality of the Coronel Manuel Rodríguez mine is NNW of Antofagasta (according to its given coordinates). If the "pond" is the correct pond (there seem to be a few other small ponds scattered across the greater region visible in Google maps), I'm curious how the mysterious Coronel Manuel Rodríguez mine locality got attached to these specimens, as the three places we've been talking about for the last few days (the two mentioned here, plus the main Escondida mine to the east) form a big geographic triangle with sides of some 50-100 km in length. And just for fun, or deception, someone tossed in an additional nebulous 2.7 km "distance" (distance from what?) to keep us guessing. I'm starting to miss our debates on burning coal heaps in Poland.

3rd Jun 2019 02:24 UTCKevin Conroy Manager

I wasn't sure if I should start another thread on this matter (argh!), so if one of the manager thinks it's appropriate to do so have at it.

Anyway, in a message above Gerhard Möhn wrote: "The pond is nearby Coloso south of Antofagasta. At Coloso there is the port with some other facilities of Escondida mine. Years ago they run ammonia leaching of copper ore there. It seems to be better to let the toxic waste liquids dry in the desert than to put it into the ocean. Informations you can find in internet under ,,minera escondida". On Wikimapia the pond is designated as mine tailings of Escondida mine."

David Flynn had mentioned that the "pond" was over 100 km from La Escondida Mine. On the La Escondida Mine locality page ( https://www.mindat.org/loc-39272.html ) I saw the following: NOTE: Lecontite, salammonic and blödite sold as coming from "A small pond approximately 2.7 km from the workings" at the "Coronel Manuel Rodriguez Mine" are actually anthropogenic compounds from a tailings pond at the Escondida mine, see https://www.mindat.org/mesg-105-464001.html

My point: as Pavel Kartashov suggested on May 28 in https://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,105,464001,page=1 the "pond" should probably be a sublocality. The mine and "pond" are over 145 km apart (the yellow line is what the measurement refers to). There is a tailings pond that is much closer and to the south of the mine, but from what we've discussed over the past few days I believe the "pond" is where the specimens in question originated. Thoughts?

Here's a Google Earth view of the Triangle that Frank mentioned:

3rd Jun 2019 02:36 UTCFrank K. Mazdab Manager

Hi Kevin,

actually, my triangle extends even further north and west along the west arm than your illustration shows... the purported Coronel Manuel Rodríguez mine is apparently west of the Pan American Highway (route 1), about a third of the way up from the southern coast of that large blocky peninsula (the Mejillones Peninsula) that juts into the Pacific NNW of Antofagasta.

3rd Jun 2019 03:21 UTCDavid Flynn

Kevin, if you look at the pond as having a finger print. I believe these two photos match up. One from the e-rocks article and one from bing maps.

This supports our inkling that the “pond” is indeed the source.

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