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Formula:   MnCO3   mineral photo

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Crystal:   Hexagonal  
Hardness:   3.5-4  
Spec. Gr.:   3.7  
Streak:   White  
Cleavage:   Rhombohedral  
Location:   Pasto Bueno, Peru  

The Huallapon mine at Ancash, Peru has produced beautiful rhodochrosite rhombohedrons of a dark red color, many of which are of faceting quality. The name rhodochrosite comes from the Greek words RHODON (pink), and CHROSIS (color). Probably mined in Argentina at Catamarea by the Inca's more than a thousand years ago, the workings were abandoned in the 13th century. Since that time, manganese laden water percolating constantly through old tunnels has deposited bright pink stalactites and stalagmites of Rhodochrosite. The beautifully banded gemstone, known locally as the "Inca Rose," remained undiscovered until 1856.

Bibliography: Mineralogical Record, V10, No.1, pg. 36-37.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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