Is Sicily the Most Geological Place on Earth?

I took my son to a special exhibition of minerals owned by a private collector recently. He said this one looked just like Superman’s home, so it must be kryptonite:


I was inclined to agree, but actually the label said it’s a kind of quartz.

Sicily has a stunningly amazing range of mineral deposits. It was at the bottom of the sea for a few million years and it also happens to be on the corner of three tectonic plates. That’s why we get earthquakes sometimes. It’s also why we have Etna, Europe’s largest live volcano, and Vulcano, Europe’s second largest live volcano.

I wish I could remember what this is:


This one is sulphur, mined in Sicily from Roman times until the 1980’s.


This is called chryscolla, which is a type of copper silicate. Sometimes it is found in lumps with stripes of green and blue.


There are lots of important geologists and mineralogists in Sicily. The collection we visited had examples from all over the world.

I think this looks like a Muppet with its mouth wide open. It’s strange that those fluffy balls in its mouth are hard and spiky. It’s called Okenite and this particular specimen was found in India.

Go and Google “okenite” to see the most adorable load of stones you’ll ever lay eyes on. One this big and perfect would set you back a few thousand dollars.


This is a fire opal from Ethiopia. It looked just like melting liquid at the centre with tiny flashes of green. This specimen was about nine or ten inches across and my mind boggled to think how much it must be worth.


Meanwhile my little superman and his friend were much more impressed with the giant quartz crystals. Sorry, I meant Kryptonite again. It weakened them so much they could hardly stand up!



9 Comments Add yours

  1. baliinfoblog says:

    Amazing rocks! I work in jewelry handling gem stones, and love seeing the raw product

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jules Brown says:

    The colours and textures are amazing. It’s the same when you go up Etna or to the volcanic Aeolians – you imagine that all will be grey and dull but instead you come across the most remarkable colours. Great stuff!


    1. Yes! The top of Etna is like rainbowland, isn’t it?!!!
      I found all the rocks in the exhibition so lovely I would happily chuck out almost all my ornaments and vases to display them instead!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. palladio1234 says:

    This is so interesting Veronica. I think the one that looks like rose petals is actually made of gypsum. It is called Desert Rose or Gypsum Rose. The crystals tend to form in desert areas or sandy areas. Perhaps from the Sahara originally – or maybe formed when your part of the Med was a great big beach! Love your blog. I’ve just started – you are VERY inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that’s interesting!
      I am so glad you are enjoying my blog – thank you for your very lovely comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Vere says:

    I always tought that the Naica mine looked like Superman’s home, I got to say, I love your blog, I have been living in Sicily for almost a decade and your blog has open my eyes to so many of Sicily’s hidden treasures , you given me a lot of ideas of places to see and explore andbest of all most of them are just a car ride away

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wowee!!! The photos in that link are absolutely fantastic!!
      And I’m so glad you like my blog! 😀


  5. What a coincidence. I am just reading Robert Harris’s book, ‘Pompeii: A Novel’ and got to the scene where Pliny the Elder is showing off his collection of geological specimens. Little does he know that Mount Vesuvius will erupt in two days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I did enjoy that book! I forgave the author all the liberties he took with reality because he made it all so entertaining!
      Every time I think of poor old Pliny dying through scientific curiosity I feel so sad.

      Liked by 1 person

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