This holiday season, why not get a mineral every day instead of chocolate? Today’s mineral is Cassiterite find out more about it below..
One of the most obvious signs of the season is the number of church based carol services that you get invited to – and if you are in a church you are probably enjoying the dulcet tones of a full pipe organ.
Organ pipes are made with tin, a metal that you get from the mineral ore cassiterite. In one of the best museums in Devon, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) you can come and handle museum specimens found locally and talk to volunteers like me! We have a lovely sample of cassiterite at Local Finds table that you can come and have a close look at!
Chemical formula: SnO2
Colour: Black, yellow, brown, red or white.
Hardness (Mohs): 6 – 7
Can you find it in the UK? Yes
Cassiterite is such an important mineral for the UK that large portions of the nations wealth were based up on it in the last thousand years. Tin streaming, a mineral collection activity practiced throughout the human occupation of Britain, developed into tin mining mainly based in Cornwall and was a one of the central sources of the county’s income. There is even a saying based around the importance of tin and copper mining:
Cornishmen are fishermen, Cornishmen are miners too.
When all the fish and tin are gone, what are Cornishmen to do?
For more information about Cassiterite please visit the MinDat website.