2002, April, Phantom Quartz, Double-Terminated Quartz

 

 

After I regained my passion for searching for minerals, I started looking during the spring of 2002 for quartz clefts in the green-schist found in side trenches of the Zederhaus Valley. One late afternoon in April, I was examining the green-schist in a new ditch and came across a spot that had been worked on a few years earlier. I started digging on the ground and found quartz fragments. Larger fragments of rock crystal indicated that someone had previously collected beautiful crystals. Since it was already getting dark, I resolved to return and search for better crystals.

Znottergraben  ZN 1 (1).jpg

Originally, the cleft was completely closed at the front, only quartz was visible

During the next visit, I cleared the very considerable rubble from the site. Except for a few more quartz fragments, I found nothing of interest. Disappointed, I started to work on the quartz in the rock. I attacked the compact quartz, which did not show anything conspicuous, and to my surprise, after only a few hits, my chisel broke through. I drove into the hole with my approx. 60 cm long hooks and could not feel any resistance. What joy! Up until now, I had only read about such a thing in books, and now I experienced it myself! I started to enlarge the hole. The quartz was easy to work, after 3 hours I had opened the cleft completely. The hole was now about 30 cm wide and about 60 cm high. Already while resting from the chiseling, I could see that this would be a good find. On both sides of the cleft I could see quartz crystals and quartz surfaces up to approx. 10 cm, partly covered with clay. The rear part of the sloping chasm was completely filled with clay-brown chinks. I could only hope that there were crystals to be found there too.

Znottergraben  ZN 1 (6).jpg

Inside of the cleft: filled with clay-brown chinks at the back, on the right a side pocket with quartz crystal that looks out

In the front part of the cleft, I only had to take out the quartz crystals that were either lying loosely on the ground, or easily detached from the wall. In the rear area, the recovery of the crystals proved much more difficult and time-consuming: the crystals were loose in the cleft, but the spaces in between were completely filled with clay. This clay was dry and tough. The only way to salvage each crystal without damage required patience. A premature attempt to pull out a protruding crystal almost always resulted in an injury, as each quartz crystal was in contact with neighboring crystals. The recovery of a single crystal could take up to an hour, but with the cleft’s increasing depth, this procedure proved more and more difficult. Moistening of the clay offered no improvement.

ZN 1-6, 8 x 6.5 x 6.5 cm (1).jpg

Single quartz, crystallized as a floater specimen, with an intense green phantom, 8 x 6.5 x 6.5 cm

The cleft tapered towards the back, falling about 15 degrees, about 2.5 meters into the rock. It took me over 10 tours to get all crystals. But this strenuous effort yielded wonderful results. When I examined the crystals at home, I experienced a sense of great satisfaction. What a successful start of the mineral-hunting season!

This find is certainly one of the most unusual in the green-schist of Zederhaus. Many of the rock crystals had long since separated from the cleft and healed or were crystalized on the fractured surfaces. They show an excellent shine throughout. Some of the crystals are clear as water; others reveal an intense green phantom, which makes these pieces particularly interesting. The phantoms were created by fine chlorite deposits. Since the chlorite in the crystals had deposited on the surface from above, the direction of growth in the cleft can be minutely tracked. Small adularia, chlorite, or hematite deposits make the surfaces more interesting. The hematite settled on the rock crystals as metallic dark red deposits. Another unusual characteristic for this green-schist find is the absence of calcite in the cleft.

ZN 1-19, 26 x 14 x 10 cm (1).jpg

Big quartz specimen with intense phantoms, hematite and adularia, 26 x 14 x 10 cm

ZN 1-20, 21 x 16 x 12 cm (1).jpg

Quartz specimen with intense phantoms, 21 x 16 x 12 cm

ZN 1-17, 17 x 14 x 9.5 cm (1).jpg

One of the most beautiful specimen from this find: 17 x 14 x 9.5 cm

ZN 1-9, 9 x 6 x 6 cm (1).jpg

Doubly terminated crystal with chlorite and hematite, 9 x 6 x 6 cm

ZN 1-4, 7.5 x 5 x 4.5 cm (1).jpg

Floater specimen with intense phantoms, 7.5 x 5 x 4.5 cm

ZN 1-7, 8.5 x 6 x 5 cm (1).jpg

Floater specimen with intense phantoms, 8.5 x 6 x 5 cm

ZN 1-11, 9.5 x 7 x 6.5 cm (1).jpg

Clear single crystal, crystallized as a floater specimen, 9.5 x 7 x 6.5 cm

ZN 1-18, 14.5 x 9 x 8 cm (1).jpg

Clear single crystal, 14.5 x 9 x 8 cm