ZEOLITES OF NW OREGON AND SW WASHINGTON

This page is the start of my zeolite collecting experiences. It is different from the Oregon and Washington collecting guides in that I am not offering much in the way of locality information. You can get that from the excellent guides written by Jon Gladwell myrddin@zephyr.net entitled Crystals and Minerals: A family field collection guide for northwestern Oregon and Southwestern Washington, Volumes I, II, and III. Most of the localities I have visited are in the guides.

 

So far all I have are some pics of the better zeolite specimens we have found. The identifications are taken from the locality information, in other words I think they are correct but don't hesitate to let me know if they appear to be incorrect!


This is what I think is a piece of mordenite from a SW Washington quarry. The quarry is west of Longview but don't ask me where cause I just ran across it while looking for something else, and we got lost and wound up here. I think it's mordenite because it's much finer than natrolite from the same site (next pic), and it's cottony, i.e. the fibers are not like crystals at all but more like cotton fibers or fine hairs.


This appears to be natrolite from the same quarry. It's much better looking than this picture! The needles are well formed and crystal clear. There isn't much else to say about this piece but I have to type a bunch of words here because Nutscape won't let me "un-wrap" the next paragraph from this image, so the whole thing looks really stupid unless I fill up the paragraph so the next image isn't wrapped onto the side of this one and the text appears as a thin line on the right side of the screen. There, that should be enough.


In the center of this piece is a piece of stilbite, which I identified because it's a sheaf of flat crystals sticking up from the surface of the rock. It's really hard to see in this pic. I blame Payless developing, who did all these pics, for not knowing how to operate whatever contraption they use to digitize my film. The stilbite is surrounded by a druzy zeolite which is definitely not quartz. This piece is from a locality in Tillamook Co, OR. It's not in any book and there's some really great stuff there which you need to rappel down to, so I'm not disclosing the location until I get another chance to go there and collect it properly.

T

This piece baffles me, so I'll call it the "mystery zeolite". I collected it at the same locality as the stilbite, if that helps. It as very fine dendrites of sometning which enclose a hexagonal(?) crystal in the center. Anyone know what zeolite this is? It's not quartz.


These next few specimens were collected from a privately owned quarry on Coffin Butte. It's near the Coffin Butte site on OR Hwy 99W west of Salem which is described in Jon's guide, but it's not the same quarry, and it definitely has a better selection of zeolites, and much better specimens. The owners allowed us in a couple times to pick through some specimens that they "rescued" from the crusher. There are much better specimens than this from the same location but they are all in the hands of the owner. This piece appears to be entirely coated by a fine, cottony mordenite. I think the underlying crystals which are barely visible are large apophyllites or calcites.



This is another specimen from Cofffin Butte. It looks like druzy apophyllite or quartz on calcite. There is some mordenite in the bottom right corner.



This poor image is of a really nice piece from Coffin Butte which is large apophyllite crystals coated in druzy stuff and mordenite. The whole piece is about 10x6 inches and has at least three or four minerals on it. There is some really nice calcite from this locality as well - big, clear crystals in the rhombiod habit. Some of these are coated with a green film which looks like copper ore. The other mineral which occurs here is one I don't have a pic of, but I'll describe it. It forms rosettes of crystals radiating from a common center, is needle-like and clear (like natrolite or small quartz), and is found on only about 1% of the specimens from here. Anyone know what it might be?


This last specimen from Coffin Butte is definitely apophyllite. The crystals on some of these are better quality than the Poona District, India specimens, but they are never as large.


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