Copper – Day 15 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

This holiday season, why not get a mineral every day instead of chocolate? Today’s mineral is Copper find out more about it below..

It’s the 15th of December and you know what that means… THERE ARE ONLY 10 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!! So an important question remains to be asked. Have you got your Christmas lights up yet?

Are your Christmas lights up yet? They should be by now!

Are your Christmas lights up yet? They should be by now!

You should do, and if you do by now your house shold be strung with copper. Copper?! I hear you say? Yes, copper, it’s the wire that helps your lights sparkle so gorgeously! So today’s mineral for the advent is copper! And not only is it a mineral, but a metal too – a really important one.

Gorgrous Copper!

Gorgrous Copper!

Copper:
Chemical formula: Cu
Colour: Copper-red. Tarnishes to black or green in air.
System: Isoclinic
Hardness (Mohs): 2½ – 3
Can you find it in the UK? Yes

There are many locations you can find copper across the UK! Map is from the MinDat website.

There are many locations you can find copper across the UK! Map is from the MinDat website.

You can find Copper in the UK, in fact up until a few decades ago it was commercially mined in this country. Check out locations across the southwest, Devon and Cornwall in particular, the northwest and Scotland for some prime copper hunting locations! However, if you end up in one of these locations be careful in any sites that could have old mining structures – they might not always be marked!

For more information about Copper please visit the MinDat website.

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Wolframite – Day 1 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

So it’s December the 1st and across the nation people are opening the first window of their advent calendars. But instead of chocolate, why not get a mineral every day?! Over the next 25 days I will post a new mineral related to an aspect of the holiday season for your enjoyment.

After all, what says mid-winter more than sparkles!

Sparkling christmas lights

Everyone likes sparkly lights in winter, but they wouldn’t work without tungsten – and for that you need Wolframite.

To kick us off, I’m looking at the first thing that most of us notice about the season – sparkling lights! It wouldn’t be winter without strings of glittering lights everywhere, but those lights wouldn’t function without tungsten, a metal found in the mineral Wolframite.

A photo of a specimen of Wolframite form Drakelands Mine in Devon, taken by Paul De Bondt from the MinDat website: http://www.mindat.org/photo-471032.html

A photo of a specimen of Wolframite form Drakelands Mine in Devon, taken by Paul De Bondt from the MinDat website.

Wolframite:

  • Chemical formula: (Fe2+)WO4 to (Mn2+)WO4
  • Colour: Greyish-black
  • System: Monoclinic
  • Hardness (Mohs): 4 – 4 1/2
  • Can you find it in the UK? YES
locations of wolframite from mindat website

Locations registered for Wolframite in the UK, from the MinDat website. Does not yet include new mine site just outside of Plymouth – Drakelands Mine.

Wolframite is one of the UK’s currently mined minerals, thanks to a new mining development that has recently started production just outside Plymouth in Devon. Tungsten is considered so valuable because of it’s resilience to high temperatures, which makes it ideal for use in many new technologies – including lights!

Drakelands mine visit - summer 2014 - Hazel Gibson

A view across the Drakelands mine site taken from a mine visit organised in sumemr in 2014 beofre the mine entered production stages.

For more information about Wolframite please visit the MinDat website.

For more information about the new Drakelands Mine please visit the Wolf Minerals website.