Saturday, February 21, 2009

Into the Great White Evaporites!

This week, I stumbled over a file box full of untouched "Blow Pipe" minerals from our October trip to Searles Lake. Like the others, the box had preserved the natural moisture and salinity levels, and had ended up being buried in the garage before Christmas. Needless to say, I was quite pleased, since I was afraid that I'd hallucinated and vastly overestimated the amount we'd brought home from "the Pipes."

I LOVE the look of this ... ummm ... well, here's where things get interesting.
Being only a Humble (but Lovable!) "Cowboy Geologist" and neophyte mineral collector,
I'm not sure whether this is a hanksite with tincalconite, or borax with tincalconite.

I'm getting to be a little better photographer and made an effort to get a good representation
of this crystal, varying the lighting, and trying my hardest to bring across the visual feel of the tincalconite powder, and the glow of light transmitted through the crystal.

I've been told that some folks find white crystals to be pedestrian, but this big
crystal has a wonderful "Star Wars" feel to it, with a grungy texture.

I call this crystal "Big White," and it's definitely a cabinet specimen. I'm not yet sure whether this one will end up in my cabinet, or be auctioned on eBay.
I think I'll fabricate a display that will transmit light up through the base of the specimen.
It should really glow!

This pretty little hanksite shows the subtler "lemonade" to amber color of most "Pipe" hanksites, having formed in a aqueous, rather than mud laden, environment.

I've yet to wash this and most of the "Pipe" hanksites, as they have visually interesting features, such as sand or tincalconite powdering, or a number of lustrous faces. Be warned, you can wash hanksites in clear, COOL slow running water, but make it quick!

No matter how quick or careful you are, if the crystal hits clear water, you'll lose the surface luster. Sometimes it'll survive brine washing, but my rule of thumb is:
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
I'm experimenting with a number of sealing treatments, since I don't like the look of oiled hanksite. It dulls the faces, and hides what I consider one of the beautiful dichotomies of nature, the propensity of borax to deposit on the face of hanksite, leaving a dehydrate mineral (tincalconite) on an evaporate mineral.

I'll post some more pics of these lovely "white" minerals soon!

Be Well!

1 comment:

Sapphire said...

I suspect you are a genius. MMM