Zincite Crystals

March 13, 2003

Zincite_5x7

Provided by: Sheila Ornstein, South Junior High, Newburgh
Summary authors & editors: Sheila Ornstein

The above photo shows a sample of zincite displayed at the ASARCO Mineral Discovery Center in Sahuarita Arizona, near Tuscon. The center features hands-on exhibits of mining and minerals. Zincite is found in its natural form in very few places on the Earth's surface and only rarely in well-formed crystals. These spectacular specimens were actually formed by accident in the gas handling system of a Polish zinc smelter, where over the years, zincite crystalized in the cavities of smokestacks. The crystals were collected during repairs made to correct air pollution problems at the smelter. Pure zinc oxide is white or clear, so the red color is probably caused by trace amounts of manganese.

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