magnesite - hand/display specimen of fine grained vitreous magnesite
Magnesite, magnesium carbonate, is usually earthy or granular, but it can be massive vitreous or crystalline. This particular magnesite is the cryptocrystalline vitreous form and shows a conchoidal fracture. When this form of magnesite was first discovered in Muddy Valley, Nevada in the late 1800s, it was thought to be kaolin and plans were made to mine it as such. In 1915, before mining could begin, a specimen sent to the U.S. Geological Survey was identified as magnesite.
Hard kaolin looks much like this variety of magnesite. Both break with a sharp-edged fracture. Magnesite, when powdered by taps of a geologist’s hammer, will effervesce with hydrochloric acid. There is no reaction with kaolin. An alternate test is to scrape the magnesite on a streak plate to produce a powder. A drop of hydrochloric acid will produce the effervescence, but it can be subtle.
These specimens were collected at the Windous magnesite deposit, near Windous Butte, roughly 20 miles west of Ely, Nevada. The deposit, apparently hydrothermally altered volcanic ash, was mined in 1940-41 by Westvaco Chlorine Products Corp. The mine is inactive, but specimens from this deposit have been dyed and sold as turquoise.
Compare this magnesite with the earthy magnesite we offer from the Kramer Hills near Boron, California.
Ships in a Regional Priority Mail box. There would be room in that box for other specimens at no increase in postage. Please request an invoice to avoid overpaying shipping, by clicking the "combine shipping" button in the cart. Click > Shipping < for shipping rates. Use back button to return to this page.
Making multiple purchases? Click on the "combine shipping" button in the shopping cart. We'll send an invoice with combined shipping. A link in that invoice will bring you back to checkout, no hassle.