Geological Notes

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    RARE MINERALS IN THE NORTH OF SCOTLAND.—The accidental use of a mass of granite for building purposes near Tongue, in Sutherlandshire, has led to the detection of several rare minerals, and of quite a remarkable number of species and varieties associated in the same mass of rock. From among the fragments of the boulder pieces of a bright green stone were sent to the museum of the Duke of Sutherland by Dr. Joass, of Golspie. These were afterwards analysed by Prof. Heddle, of St. Andrews, and found to be the variety of orthoclase felspar, termed amazonstone. For the purpose of more careful examination as to the mode of occurrence of this uncommon substance, Prof. Heddle has recently visited the locality, which is the side of the ridge rising to the east of the village, of Tongue. He found the granite mass to be merely a large boulder, and had it thoroughly broken up. It has yielded the following remarkable assemblage of minerals:—amazonstone in simple and twin crystals, radiated cleavlandite, lepidomelane, pinite, fluorite, sphene, zircon, magnetite, ilmenite, allanite, smoky quartz with peculiar faces, and a mineral which a carefully instituted comparison shows to be thorite passing into orangite. The specimens of amazonstone obtained from the boulder are of unparalleled magnificence. One which has been sent to the museum of the Duke of Sutherland exhibited a surface of some three square feet, about a dozen large crystals, of which eight were unbroken and perfect. One crystal, unavoidedly broken in the extraction, showed the following extraordinary dimensions:—viz., a length of 151/2 inches, with a breadth and thickness of ten and eight inches respectively. The minute structure of these crystals is peculiar, and has been fully described in a recent paper by Dr. Heddle on Scottish felspars in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The exceedingly rare thorite was found in only a small quantity. From an examination of the granite of this and other boulders on the same hill, it appears that they have probably come from the huge mass of Ben Laoghal, which lies a few miles inland to the south-west. Should this be their origin, we may expect yet to find new sources of amazonstone, and perhaps other rare minerals among the numerous corries and crags of that picturesque mountain.

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    Geological Notes . Nature 16, 147–148 (1877) doi:10.1038/016147a0

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