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July-August 2013

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Mineral Mysteries: “Skunks” and Related Phenomena

The term skunk in a mineral context first came to my attention with the photo on the cover of the March/April 1997 issue of Rocks & Minerals (fig. 1). The term was, and is, used to refer to specimens of calcite crystals upon which trails or strings of smaller crystals of amethystine quartz are preferentially aligned along three similar crystal edges, all converging at the termination of the calcite crystal.

John S. White, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, operates Kustos, a museum/collector consulting business. Now retired, he is the former curator-in-charge of the National Mineral and Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

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