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Paul W. Ramsey

Clay Canyon Variscite


Digital photograph

20 x 20 in.

Level 2, near Science HelpDesk

Variscite  (AlPO4·2H2O)
Little Green Monster Mine, Clay Canyon, Utah Co., UT
Specimen size: 16 x 10 cm

Variscite is a fairly rare hydrated aluminum phosphate mineral which can occur in a wide range of colors. The deep emerald green of this specimen is considered the ideal color from this locality. The yellowish-orange material is Crandallite. The banded spheroids are cyclic overgrowths of Wardite and Millisite. All of these minerals are phosphates with Variscite being the primary mineral which was subsequently altered to form the other phosphates. The dark lines probably consist of black chert. This rock represents a sequence of chemical conditions which change in respect to calcium, sodium, and potassium.

Paul studied geology at BYU, and worked as a geologist and educator. He is now retired and investigates geology through the lens of a camera. He lives with his wife in Utah.