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Posted by Reiner Mielke  
Reiner Mielke May 18, 2017 05:49PM
I can't see any silver in this sample, native or otherwise, only pyrite.
Paul De Bondt May 18, 2017 06:09PM
You are right Reiner, Silver ore perhaps but definately no silver.
Don Saathoff May 18, 2017 06:19PM
I agree as well. If the sulfide/sulfosalt at the top margin of the vein were identified then that should become the heading - if not, I agree with "Silver Ore" as the heading.

Kyle Beucke May 18, 2017 06:40PM

I would not want it titled "silver ore" unless there was at least one silver mineral or mineral with silver as a component identified. The internet is littered with gold and silver "ore" specimens, some of which appear to be just quartz pulled off a mine dump with no verification of mineralogy or metal content. This could be significant here, as hydrothermal systems evolve and you could have multiple generations of quartz, carbonates, etc. with very different metal contents. What if the specimen here is an earlier, barren quartz vein? This could mislead someone into thinking this is what the Ag-bearing vein material looked like. This is all hypothetical, of course.

And then we have the economic definition of "ore."

Don Saathoff May 18, 2017 09:17PM
Kyle, Actually I agree with you - I certainly would not have it in our collection without the identity of the silver-bearing mineral (assuming there is one) on the label. Certainly not labeled as "Silver Ore" even though the poster implies that it was/is economic.

Holger Hartmaier May 18, 2017 10:45PM
Looks more like marcasite to me. Sometimes it has a silvery luster, much like this specimen is exhibiting. The yellowish alteration/staining is also typical of oxidizing marcasite/pyrite.
Gregg Little May 19, 2017 02:21PM
It is a rather uninspiring sample for silver, if any silver minerals exist. What might be of more interest is to label the sample as the "process of oxidization in the upper parts of an ore body". Here we see leached sulfide voids grading to unaltered sulfides with the resulting iron oxidization products (gossan) and box work development; good demonstration specimen.
Uwe Kolitsch May 19, 2017 03:21PM
Message sent.
Jon Aurich May 19, 2017 04:09PM
The heading filter would not allow me to use Silver Sulphide as the heading, only silver. This ore was commercially processed in the late 1800s at Tuscarora Nevada.
Kyle Beucke May 19, 2017 05:39PM
Hello Jon,

I suggest, when uploading a photo like this, not using a mineral title, but one of the miscellaneous categories, like "rock" or something. No need to be pressured into entering a mineral species! I use these categories for specimens like this. If there are details on a mineral ID, analysis, etc. you can put this in the remarks.

Nobody is trying to cast doubt on your knowledge of this material, but to enter a mineral species ID there has to be some kind of evidence. Some of the characteristics (crystals, etc.) of the mineral should be visible, or there should be analytical data (EDS, XRD, etc.). All that most of us can see in this specimen is apparent iron sulfide; there may be possibly other sulfides/sulfosalts, but how can we know if we can't see them or there is no evidence provided? If this is documented ore (as in, you can be confident of that because it was obtained from the mining operation/geologist/miner (not just pulled off a dump and assumed to be ore because it has sulfides), then upload it as a specimen of ore (not a mineral species) and provide details in the remarks. If you identified specific silver minerals in the specimen, that is a different story; take a close-up shot with a microscope and say how you identified it, and upload as a mineral species.

Just suggestions!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2017 05:49PM by Kyle Beucke.
Ralph Bottrill May 19, 2017 11:33PM
This looks like a classic example of epithermal silver ore, not easily given a mineral label as it probably contains a number of species not easily discernable in a photo, except quartz and probably pyrite. Not really an acanthite specimen, usually the main primary silver mineral in these is a tetrahedrite group mineral but can be mineralogical very complex. We really don't handle ore specimens at all well here, and should have a special category, either under Other photos or maybe under rocks? Best bet for now is under Other/miscellaneous, with a label Epithermal silver ore. It's a good specimen for what is is.
David K. Joyce May 19, 2017 11:58PM
Hi guys,
There are all KINDS of specimens like this on mindat. The locality is important, too. I suggest: "Pyrite, Grand Prize Mine, Tuscarora District. Nevada". Then a note/description of the specimen noting that "there may also be very fine grained silver minerals in this vein section that came from this former silver propert/mine". Nothing wrong with that is there?
David K Joyce
Ralph Bottrill May 20, 2017 09:10AM
That's OK but really it's much better as an ore specimen than a pyrite specimen, where it doesn't really rate.
Gregg Little May 20, 2017 07:45PM
My point too Ralph and take it one step further describing the processes of oxidization, leaching and box work formation.
Ralph Bottrill May 21, 2017 12:03AM
Yes, quite an educational sample!
David K. Joyce May 21, 2017 05:03AM
Ahem, gentlemen,
Jon is just trying to add a photo of an interesting mineral specimen from a mine that, currently has no photos. He may or may not know about epithermal vein systems, near surface oxidation or other geological processes and terminalogy. Many keen collectors will never be able to look at a mineralized specimen and determine whether is is ore, waste, or what the mineralization style is. I stick to my suggestion that the specimen and others like it be entered as the dominant mineral from a certain mine-deposit, with perhaps the associated minerals noted. A paragraph can be added about the geological implications, if the contributor is capable of writing such a description. I suggest that many contributors are not. It is still worthwhile and important to have the picture of the mineralization available under that location. Otherwise any of you can jump in to do the research and ad geological content to any given locality or specimen.
Alfredo Petrov May 21, 2017 05:14AM
i agree with David. The photo is a valuable educational resource, and we should be grateful to Jon for uploading it, especially as there was little else available for that locality on Mindat before. But as Mindat is primarily a mineral database not an online textbook on ores and economic geology, we should just change the title from Acanthite (not visible in the photo) to Pyrite (visible). Then the caption text can show any interesting comments about the type of ore, its genesis, its richness, whatever.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2017 05:15AM by Alfredo Petrov.
Ralph Bottrill May 22, 2017 01:19PM
It's true Alfredo the we are dominated by mineral lovers which is great but I'm sure most people would be interested to know a particular assemblage of minerals also constitutes a rock or ore. We already can combine the first two categories in the labels, so why not the ore type, where relevant also?
David K. Joyce May 22, 2017 03:02PM
Hi Ralph,
You are right Ralph. It would actually relevant or good to know for EVERY locality on mindat. But WHO will classify each deposit or group of deposits in a given locality? Even new ones? For many mineral collectors or mineralogists just identifying all of the minerals in a specimen is daunting. Even pyrite vs marcasite. If the collector/owner of a specimen knows or has the wherewithal to determine the deposit type or the assemblage of minerals in a specimen, great! Add the info to the locality description either new or retroactively. I try to point out associations with every specimen I photograph and enter into mindat. I do not always know the deposit type. Even if I do, for instance, know that a locality is a pegmatite, I rarely know what classification of pegmatite it is. It would take a lot of time for most of us to accurately figure out deposit types or what classification a mineral deposit is, with confidence. It is quite a different knowledge base from mineralogy. I welcome all geologically knowledgeable people that frequent this site to actively add that information to localities that they know about and/or add a geological reference. There could be an optional field with pull-down menu of deposit types for every locality. We just need people, who really know deposit types and classifications, to enter or manage the info, in order to keep it meaningful.
David K Joyce
Gregg Little May 22, 2017 03:19PM
Further to Ralph's comment, once the mineral assemblage is understood then speculation at the geological processes can be made. This loops back to a better appreciation of the mineral.
Thomas Lühr May 22, 2017 03:44PM
Ralph, Alfredo and David,

All your points are true and i agree it's difficult to handle this photo in the right way.
The German site Mineralienatlas gives the option to link the same photo to more than just one mineral species and/or category. This would be allowe to show that photo as a pyrite photo as well as a ore photo in the "other" category of the locality.
On the other hand, in my opinion, a photo like this makes not much sense in the GENERAL pyrite gallery, but it does in the mineral gallery of this specific LOCALITY, to show how a certain mineral occurs there. Therefore i would like to have the option (to the uploader and the managers) to exclude a photo from the species gallery. If there were a status such like "locality only" between "user only" and "public galleries", then a more exact description of the paragenesis of a certain site/deposit would be better possible without "wasting" the species galleries.
Reiner Mielke May 22, 2017 08:56PM
All very nice but the bottom line is this. If you cannot see the mineral in the photo then it should not be presented as a photo of that mineral. Where to place such a photo and how to label it is a problem management will have to resolve.
Alfredo Petrov May 22, 2017 09:17PM
The problem with placing photos in the "Other" category is that then hardly anyone sees them.
Rolf Luetcke May 22, 2017 10:17PM
Very interesting thread. Those ores are in SE Arizona as well, not necessarily silver but a mix of ores. Our most common is zinc, lead, iron and often others as well. I call them polymetallic ore samples to friends who ask. In many cases there is a dominant mineral but those kinds of ores with many species are quite common.
When I looked at the photo it looked like it was in a display cabinet, maybe at a museum and not in a private collection where the dominant species can be identified.
I think there certainly is a place for photos like this, especially for collectors that go to small mines and often only find samples of what they were using as ore when one here and there were missed.
It is true though, hard to figure out just what to put as the main mineral. Nice sample though.
David Von Bargen May 22, 2017 10:27PM
These kinds of photos can be useful even if one can not see the mineral in question, but knows that it is in the specimen. If you are out in the field, it can be helpful to know what types of rocks you should be collecting for further evaluation back home.
Douglas Schonewald May 22, 2017 10:34PM
why can't we have a category of 'metallic ores'? Of course that opens the conundrum of existing minerals that are mined as 'ores'.
Alfredo Petrov May 22, 2017 11:14PM
How about integrating the various types of ores into the "rocks" (petrology) list (they are afterall rock types or varieties of rock types anyway). Then the ores can be added to the locality entries table just like rocks are, and then photos of ores can be uploaded under the ore type name.
David K. Joyce May 23, 2017 12:18AM
It seems that we are going around in circles:

Please note that we already have an EXCELLENT system for recording interesting mineral localities and the minerals that occur at them. Some feel that it is not as good as some might like for "ore" specimens. I don't agree but so be it.

1) Photo's of "Ore" samples are important and many well crystallized samples from mines are ore minerals. "Ore mineral(s)" being the economic mineral(s) of importance)
2) Common ore samples from mines are also important and, certainly, to me, photos should be entered into mindat on the basis of the recognizable minerals. If there is a good probability of other minerals or solid solution elements or some unidentified minerals that could be important, those should be noted in the blurb about the photographed specimen. People should not speculate at identification but should note what they see. If they can get analyses done, fine. If not, that is fine, as well, as long as accurate observations are presented.
3) Knowledgeable people will be able to observe photos of specimens (like the one above) and surmise that it is a certain type of deposit or style of mineralization. That is good and, as far as I am concerned, a prime purpose of mindat
4) Photos of well crystallized waste samples from any locality should be very welcome in mindat
5) Photos of un-crystallized waste minerals from any locality should also be added, if a dominant minerals or two can be established. All metallic minerals are not ore. Many are waste. Small amounts of ore minerals are not, necessarily ore. Not all economic minerals are observable in "ore".
6) The above specimen photo is the only photo for that particular location. I believe that makes it a brilliant photo that should be uploaded for what it is; a vein section, from that location, that shows pyrite as the dominant mineral with possible silver content or possible unidentified associated silver or silver containing minerals. Jon should be thanked and assisted by a knowledgeable mindat manager to label the specimen, as accurately as possible.

So some people want improvements to mindat so that "ores" are better categorized? My guess that this feature would facilitate a search for "epithermal vein", "VMS-type", Mississippi Valley type", etc. deposits? That could be good! If there is a real demand for this, then I suggest someone step forward to lead/coordinate the charge on this. Like Rock did for the "Best Minerals" project. Someone needs to determine need/interest and then put forward a proposal that the managers would need to approve. Then same person(s) would need to do work to make it happen and to ensure quality of input for those specimens that have been categorized as "ore specimens". As I tell people all the time who complain or mumble on about mindat, the input is provided by people like YOU. That is the only way it happens. Talk is cheap. A project like this works best when headed by people who think it is important.

Best regards,
David K. Joyce
Ralph Bottrill May 24, 2017 03:16PM
People seem to think we are suggesting making Ore type mandatory or a replacement for mineral names, but that's not the idea at all. In the same way that you can add several minerals to the caption, if identifiable, you can add the rock type if known, and you should be able to add the ore type also. It's not for everyone of course, nor is rocktype, but sometimes its a more valid description than a rock or mineral name. You should be able to label a specimen a greisen, tin ore, muscovite and cassiterite all in the one heading, the order dependant on what is most obvious or important to the uploader. Many of the worlds biggest mines have no specimens shown here, because they contain mostly fine grained mixtures, not photogenic to most of us, but important to geologists and miners. Jolyon is keen to expand Mindat into geological fields, as for the recent paper on Cr minerals he co-authored. This will not detract from the minerals at all, we can ignore the rocks and ores if we wish, but geologists looking at a mine locality will expect to see some text with geological descriptions, and photos of ore specimens and outcrops, not just pretty crystals. And yes, talk is cheap but it's not fair to criticise others who work with different priorities to yourself, and we are mostly all too busy doing the best we can quietly. Jolyon sees geology as an important direction for us but is working his butt off in several different areas. There are huge amounts of work to be done here, adding more locations, and photos and info on them, plus updating mineral info etc. Ores will probably happen in the medium term but first we need to agree on categories and set up some structures. Ores don't necessarily integrate with rocktypes very well and we have looked at various databases but it needs more thought yet. Volunteers welcome in this or many other areas!
Rolf Luetcke May 24, 2017 08:29PM
I had made a point earlier about the photo of the piece in question being in what looks like an exhibit somewhere and Jon never did say whether that is the case. I think it would be easily solved if someone would be able to handle the piece and actually identify the minerals in it then it can be added just like many I have for the major mineral species in it. Just from the photo it looks like it is in a display and this may not be possible. That would certainly solve this question.
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