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Galena, or lead sulfide (PbS) is the primary ore mineral for lead. Concerns for short- and long-term environmental and human health impacts have raised our awareness of lead, resulting in its removal from many common products such as pipes, roofing materials, and gasoline. Yet lead is still one of the most important economic minerals on earth. Most industrial use now is for batteries (about 80%), also pigment, ammunition and metal products (especially linings for containers holding corrosive materials, and in that lead apron we have to put on for dental x-rays). For a basic overview of lead, its issues and uses check out this article.
Lead is one of the heaviest metals in common use, with a density of 11.3 g/cc (compared to 2.65 g/cc for quartz and 1.0 g/cc for water). Lead has been mined for more than 6,000 years, on almost every continent, and the metal and its compounds have been used throughout history. Because of its superb covering power, this was the basis of paints for more than 2000 years, until the middle of the last century.
Galena is the state mineral of Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin, and towns in Kansas and Illinois were named after this mineral, it was so important as an ore.
Mississippi Valley type deposits (such as the "Lead Belt" of southeastern Missouri) occur with zinc (usually as the mineral sphalerite) and are found worldwide. The specimen shown above is from Missouri and typical of some of the deposits there. Galena is also associated with silver, such as the deposits in Colorado.
The photo above is galena with pyrite from the Black Cloud Mine, Leadville, Lake County, Colorado. TR0852069, $24,
The Leadville mining district has been one of the most productive silver mining areas, as well as one of largest known lead-zinc-silver deposits, in the world.
Leadville was founded and named around 1877 by the mine owners. It was a classic boom town (second only to Denver in population at one time). Fortunes were made by some, but there was also rampant poverty and death due to exposure and starvation. The Black Cloud Mine was the last active mine and it was closed in 1999. Severe environmental impacts, including significant toxicity due to abundant arsenic and lead in tailings, resulted in an EPA cleanup effort, mostly complete as of 2011.
We had a whole newsletter devoted to mineral specimens from mining areas in Mexico. The same type lead-zinc-silver deposits as those found in Colorado also occur through parts of Mexico.
According to a New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources publication the galena is found as part of mineralization occurring along a fault zone in the Oscura Mountains, where limestone of the Magdalena Group caps older granites. The area was known for copper as well. Low level mining has occurred in the area since the 1870s.
Heavy Metals and Makeup
Due to its covering power, "white" lead (obtained from galena) was used extensively in paints throughout history -- including paints for the face. Queen Elizabeth I used white face powder containing lead to cover her smallpox scars. White hair powder for wigs in that era and subsequent times (possibly becoming popular to disguise skin conditions and hair loss due to rampant syphilis at the time) probably contained lead. Lead wasn't the only heavy metal used in makeup - back in the day, If you wanted a little blush on your cheeks to show off your pale skin, a little powdered cinnabar (an ore mineral of mercury) did the trick!
... The deposit of Shungite in Karelia was formed about 2 billion years ago and extends over 9,000 sq km ( 3,475 sq miles). The deposit has been estimated to contain more than 250 gigatonnes of carbon reserves. The deposit is found within a sequence of Palaeoproterozoic metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks - the main accumulations are concentrated in 9 layers, ranging in thickness from 5 meters (16 ft) to 120 meters (400 ft) . The sequence is dated by a gabbro intrusion, which gives a date of 1980±27 Ma, and the underlying dolomites, which give an age of 2090±70 Ma 9 and demonstrates a significant difference between shungite & petroleum/coal (200-250 Ma). ...
Super Seven is also known as Sacred Seven. It is a combination of seven minerals: Amethyst, Cacoxenite, Goethite, Lepidocrocite, Clear Quartz, Rutile, and Smoky Quartz. In addition to the properties... Read More
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