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March-April 2013

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Mexican Fluorite

Mexico is one of the world's principal fluorite producers, both for industrial/metallurgical-quality fluorspar and for superb mineral specimens. Most Mexican fluorspar occurs as large-scale, fine-grained replacements of limestone surrounding distinctive rhyolite intrusions (Ruiz et al. 1980). These deposits typically produce industrial-grade fluorspar and are bulk-mined by open-pit methods. Very little well-crystallized material occurs in these deposits, so we need shed no tears over its mass production or devote time to them here.

Specimen-quality fluorite from Mexico occurs in a variety of deposit types, spanning a range from low-temperature Mississippi Valley–type deposits (MVTs), through intermediate-temperature epithermal silver-gold-lead-zinc-copper veins, to high-temperature silver-lead-zinc-copper-gold carbonate replacement deposits (CRDs) and skarns (fig. 5). Some of the best-known localities of each are Musquiz, Coahuila (MVT); Rodeo, Durango (veins); and Naica, Chihuahua (CRD). All these localities have produced abundant specimen material for many years and should continue to do so into the future.

 

Dr. Peter K. M. Megaw is an exploration geologist with thirty-five years' involvement in Mexico. His primary exploration foci are carbonate replacement deposits and epithermal vein deposits, and he and his team are credited with several major discoveries. He was awarded the Society of Mining Engineers 2012 Robert M. Dreyer Award for excellence in Applied Economic Geology. His mineral collecting focuses almost exclusively on minerals of Mexico, and he has won awards for exhibits of Mexican minerals and articles on major Mexican specimen localities. He has been exhibits chair for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show™ for more than twenty-five years. A combination of the above led him to be awarded the Carnegie Mineralogical Award for 2009.


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