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Britt

Hoping someone can solve a childhood mystery and identify a rock/mineral

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Hi everyone. 

When I was little, my father had built a fish pond in our yard, which he decorated with various rocks and such. One stood out in particular. It was not like anything I had ever seen. It was very dull on the outside but if you looked up close, you could see the various tunnels and pockets with bits of areas that sparkled. 

I never found out where it came from. I'm in Chicago and I highly doubt it was found here. All I know is that I'm now in my 40's and I have brought this piece (which weighs 50-75 pounds) with every time I have moved. It still continues to fascinate me to this day. 

I've always had a love for rocks and minerals but sadly I'm just getting started on the hobby. Better late than never! Could someone tell me what this is called? Where it might have come from? I'd love to know something about this. Thank you so much in advance :)

Britt

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Posted (edited)

Well, I'm not exactly sure what you call something in that shape. But it's composed of either quartz or calcite. Put a few drops of warm vinegar on the crystals and wait a few minutes. It won't damage it in any way. If you see slight fizzing, it's calcite. If you don't, it's quartz. My guess is quartz but I could be wrong.

The word "fumarole" just popped into my head.

Edited by Morlock
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Maybe an agatized coral?

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As Morlock said, fumarole come to mind. I think it looks like a hydrothemal vent.

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This is a cool specimen and a burning question for me as well.

I have seen quartz lattice like that in sandstone formations. There are spots in the badlands where big chunks have eroded from the sandstone hills and cliffs. 

I have always wondered whether they formed in the sandstone or were fossils that got imbedded in the sandstone. Sandstone forms some downright BIZARRE shapes given the proper chemistry and time. But it looks like coral. Or worm tubes, Or mineral buildup around a fumarole or hot spring. I honestly do not know for sure one way or the other.

Morlock said "fumarole" and that is a great guess. In caves and at volcanic vents and hot springs lattice formations are common. That looks more like a sandstone formation to me but it could have formed in several ways.

The vinegar idea is good but you are probably going to get mixed results. It'll probably fizz a lot and it'll still be 80% silica granules. I think a mineral formation or a fossil would probably behave about the same.

Whenever I have seen a lattice stone like that I have wondered exactly how it was formed. I can see it happening several ways. Maybe a bit of both. If I had to take a guess I would say it is a petrified coral formation but that would be a shot in dim light.

 

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A Cave formation is my first thought; will wait and see the result of the acid test.

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Hi everyone. 

First off, thank you all so much for your replies. I really appreciate you guys taking your time to help me try to figure this out! 

I tried the vinegar in several spots. It did not bubble at all. It's interesting that you mentioned coral. I don't know if that's what it is but it's what the piece reminded me of as a kid :) I remember my dad talked about trying to cut it open once but he never did (doubt he had the right tools for it). 

I hauled it up on to a table outside today and took a few more close up pictures in natural light. 

Again, thank you for any input! You guys are awesome!

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Since there's no reaction with vinegar we can safely say It's composed mainly of quartz. I have never seen anything like this before and was a little stumped at first. After a few minutes the term "fumerole" came up. That's about the only thing I can come up with that would explain the shape. If someone has other ideas, I'd sure like to know what they are.

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Speleotheme is out.  The sample appears to be Quart (agate), built up over time as individual deposits around something(s) & that something(s) desolved at some point then the sample was exposed to weathering to produce what we see now.  I wonder if these formed underwater around "black smokers".   Sea water has lots of silica, in certain areas, that would come out of solution around the "smokers" whle they are active.  The minerals in the middle of "smokers" is usually soft (Mohs 2.5-4) and weathers quickly once the "smoker" stops. This combination could produce what we now see.  Any other ideas?

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I’m almost wondering is this was formed in a similar manner to a septarian nodule. I doubt it, but I suppose it’s possible.

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21 hours ago, 4meter said:

Speleotheme is out.  The sample appears to be Quart (agate), built up over time as individual deposits around something(s) & that something(s) desolved at some point then the sample was exposed to weathering to produce what we see now.  I wonder if these formed underwater around "black smokers".   Sea water has lots of silica, in certain areas, that would come out of solution around the "smokers" whle they are active.  The minerals in the middle of "smokers" is usually soft (Mohs 2.5-4) and weathers quickly once the "smoker" stops. This combination could produce what we now see.  Any other ideas

Smokers, whether active or inactive...are rather deep in various oceans around the world so I doubt that's where it came from. How did it get from the deep seas to someones fishpond?

Britt, I suggest you send these photos to various universities with geology depts, natural history museums and ask them. I'm really curious about what this is and possibly where it came from as well as others on this forum.

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On ‎4‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 7:14 AM, Morlock said:

Smokers, whether active or inactive...are rather deep in various oceans around the world so I doubt that's where it came from. How did it get from the deep seas to someones fishpond?

Britt, I suggest you send these photos to various universities with geology depts, natural history museums and ask them. I'm really curious about what this is and possibly where it came from as well as others on this forum.

Yes that is correct about "smokers", but there are many low grade metamorphised "smokers" in the Appalachian Mt. chain.  The old massive sulfide/copper depoits of southeastern TN are a prime example.  So it is possible this "smoker relic" could have been found in the Mts.  then sold and made its way to the fishpond.  Of course, this is all guess work on my part.  :miner:

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