Friday, 15 May 2015

The story of a broken heart

Reddish colours and smooth faces claim the attention of any mineralogist. Vanadinites, the crystal incrustations showed in the image, are a rare mineral. They only occur as a product of oxidation of other minerals composed of lead, like galena.

The origin of the one photographed is Morocco, where its arid climate makes the perfect conditions for its synthesis.
Yet also helps the interaction between different minerals through erosion on a non-humid environment, generating incrustations of many different composites in every inch of the rocks. This may be the reason why the shape of our top-right crystal grew broken.

Vanadinite has a hexagonal crystalline habit, and this usually shows up in macroscopic scale. It is as so because it tends to grow as a single crystal, easily separated from other crystals in the same rock matrix. However, quartz broke this little one. As its synthesis is more rapid and tends to generate structures of polycrystals, when the vanadinite grew on top of it changed the pattern. It grew a heart. Two hexagonal prisms collapsed one into another, struggling through the rough layers of quartz. Surely, they make an amazing couple.

Author: Sergi Batlle

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