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Nine ridiculously named minerals and rocks

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Here at Australian Mining we've gathered nine of the most ridiculous, yet real, names for minerals and rocks.

9. Taconite

No, it's not the greatest day of the week.This iron bearing sedimentary rock, interlaced with quartz, chert, or carbonate and named after similar look rocks found in the Taconic Mountains of New York. It's iron content, which is typically more magnetite than hematite, is between 25 to 30%.

8. Carnallite

Despite its presumptuous name, this evaporate mineral is named after its discoverer, Prussian mining engineer Rudolf von Carnall. A greasy red in colour, the mineral is a hydrated potassium magnesium chloride and fairly rare and only first described in 1856. It is found in saline marine deposits, such as the Dead Sea in Israel and Jordan,the Paradox Basin in the US, and the Perm Basin in Russia.It is an important source of potash, for fertilisers. Unsurprisingly, a mineral used for fertilisers apparently also has a bad taste.

7. Moolooite

This very rare mineral, that sounds as though it was named by a cow, is hydrated copper oxalate. It was discovered in at the Mooloo Downs station in Western Australia, in 1986. Moolooite, in addition to having an odd name, is also formed in a strange way. It is formed by the interaction of bird guano (poo) and weathering copper sulphides.The mineral ranges in colour from blue to green, although it is typically turquoise green. A second occurrence has also been reportedin France,in the Sainte-Aux-Mines region.

(Image: Leon Hupperichs)

6. Arsenolite

Funny for the Australian and English readers out there, this arsenic mineral is forced as an oxidation product of arsenic sulphides. Typically white, it has been known to be a pink or yellow colour. It was first found in Lower Saxony, in Germany.Interestingly, it is also known to form as a result of mine fires or burning coal seams. 

(Image: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com)

5. Dickite

Straight to the point. Dickite is a clay that has similar properties to kaolinite, nacrite, and halloysite, or the things that make paint super white. Dickite is an important alteration indicator in hydrothermal systems, and takes its name from Scottish metallurgical chemist Allan Dick, who first discovered it in 1888. The clay mineral is also found in what has been dubbed the "northerly dickite-bearing zone" in Jamaica, as well as throughout China, France,Germany, Canada, the US,Italy and the UK. It typically has a white, pearly streaky colour.

4. Fornacite

Sometimes it's best not to name something after people. Fornacite is a rare lead, copper chromate arsenate hydroxide mineral.It was named after Lucien Lewis Forneau,the governor of the French Congo, where the mineral was first discovered. Its colour ranges from green through to yellow.             

3. Fukalite

In the grand tradition of names that haven't translated well, the Japanese again take the cake. Fukalite is named after the region where it was discovered - the Fuka mine, in the Fuka region of southern Japan. It is comprised mostly of calcium, oxygen and silicon and is apparently very rare.The colour of fukalite runs from white to pale brown.

2. Goosecreekite

This ridiculously named mineral has a more common nomenclature - zeolite. Part of the zeolite group, this mineral was named after where it was uncovered, in the New Goose Creek Quarry, in Virginia, USA. Zeolites such as Goosecreekite are typically used in water purification, as catalysts for hydrocracking,detergents, and concrete.

1. Cummingtonite

Surprisingly, despite its apparently innuendo heavy name, this rock has a very staid background. The mineral is a metamorphic amphibole, and is a magnesium ironsilicate hydroxide.Similarly to Fukalite, it was named after where it was discovered - in this case the town of Cummington, Massachusetts, in the US.

Bonus minerals: Analcime, shattuckite,welshite.

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