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Geology/Looking for advice on 20 tons of highly sparky stone or mineral at gravel size or slightly larger


Mica Schist
Mica Schist  
QUESTION: Looking for advice on 20 tons of highly sparky stone or mineral at gravel size or slightly larger

Dear Joe Norris

Thank you for making your knowledge available to help a geology novice such as myself. I am looking for multiple tons of gravel, or slightly larger size stone to be used in a labyrinth in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I originally intended to use pyrite gravel but then learned of it's toxicity en masse, outside.

So now I need to find a substitute for an extremely sparkly stone. I was wondering if you might know of any to consider that would possibly be available in bulk? Would Mica Schist be a candidate?

Thank you so much for your help and advice.


Pae White

ANSWER: I don't know why you have a picture of mica schist but that was going to be one of my suggestions.  Another suggestion is quartzite it won't be as sparkly but it will be very durable and clean looking. Another suggestion is crushed cut glass.  You can buy it in multiple colors and it is also very durable.  Most of the metallic minerals are going to be acid former's and it doesn't appears that you may not want them and besides they are probably going to be harder to find then silica based minerals.  Geodes would be very sparkly but to get 20 tons would almost be impossible or at least very expensive.  

Hope this helps


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for taking the time to respond. I am having trouble sourcing 20+ tons of mica schist. Would you have any thoughts on where it even comes from?

Also, what are your thoughts on Fuschite?



Fuschite is a chloride rich (green) mica.  None of the micas are very durable including fuschite; however, in NM they will last a lot longer than in the high precipitation of the Eastern US. There are two problems that I could see with Fuschite. One is that all mica have minor amounts of iron.  When they start weathering the iron is the first thing to oxidize turning rust color and causing the micas to also turn rust color.  The second is that Micas, by their molecular structure have a one very weak plain, which is why they were used for many years as fire proof see-through windows.  If you are old enough you will remember the windows, before good glass manufacturing, in the early stoves the oven window of these were made of mica because you could see through them but not loose the heat.  Mica was also used in electric fuses so you could see if the fuse was blown.  These are examples of mica two strong plains the third plain is where it was broken to form what geologists call books.  When mica weathers, particularly in freeze areas, a phenomena  called exfoliation occurs. This cause the layer to split on the weak plain.  

You will be able to get 10 - 15 years with the Fuschite looking good before these problems will start.  If this is long enough than fuschite will be fine.    

Finding fuschite in the quantity that you want will be difficult and probably expensive (hauling).  I would get on the internet and look for places that fuschite is mined, contract a trucking company and have them pick it up.  You may or may not be able to find it yourself but if you go to a rock sales company in Santa Fe they can probably find it but you are going to pay 2 to 3 times what it will sell for at the mine.

Hope this helps,



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Joe Norris


I am an economic geologist. An economic geologist does mineral evaluations and appraisals of mineral or mining properties. I can tell you if your deposit has value - remember that a mineral deposit, no matter how good, only has value when mined. Any value assigned to a mineral deposit, in the ground, is only the speculative value that deposit.


I have been a economic geologist for most of my 35 year career. Although I have done work in perhaps 45 states and numerious countries much of my work has been in Appalachian coal, intermountain west gold and silver, and Arizona uranium.

Past President of the Virginia Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists and a certified geologist in twelve states.

BS Degree from Eastern Kentucky University. Work on MS Degree @ Eastern Kentucky University, Colorad School of Mines & Marshall University Numerious short courses on the value of mineral deposits and how to value same. Also several short courses dealing with the different types of geologic processes; sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic along with the mineral associated with each.

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