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Formula:   SiO2   mineral photo

Click to see a larger image

Crystal:   Hexagonal  
Hardness:   7  
Spec. Gr.:   2.65  
Streak:   White  
Cleavage:   None  
Location:   Las Vigas,
Vera Cruz, Mexico

Amethyst is found worldwide, especially in deposits where quartz is found, or where geodes exist in lava flows. Notable locations are Artigas, Uruguay; Irai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; Santa Margarita mine area, Zumpango del Rio, Guerrero, Mexico; and the Four Peaks area of Maricopa and Gila counties, Arizona. The specimen displayed in the UCSB Geology Collection was found near Las Vigas (recently renamed Municipio de Profesor Rafael Ramirez). The amethyst deposits are located in a remote area of extremely large canyons lush with trees and brush. The nearest town is a tiny settlement (Piedras Parado). Quartz seams open up into pockets lined with bright purple amethyst crystals of 1-10 centimeters in length. The largest groups were up to a meter in diameter. The trip to the mines requires 3-4 strenuous hours aboard tiny burros, with uncomfortable Mexican saddles.

Bibliography: Panczner, William D., Minerals of Mexico, pg. 323-326.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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