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:

IMG_20150401_105222

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:

IMG_20150401_104741

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

IMG_20150401_104648

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

IMG_20150401_104618

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.

IMG_20150401_104416

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.

IMG_20150401_104403

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!

IMG_20150401_104105

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Is Sicily the Most Geological Place on Earth?

  1. 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!

    Like

  2. 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

  3. 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 http://www.meteoweb.eu/2014/06/la-grotta-dei-cristalli-giganti-di-naica-viaggio-nella-cappella-sistina-della-geologia-foto/291717/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 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

So, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s