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July-August 2015

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Celestine-Bearing Geodes from Wayne and Emery Counties, Southeastern Utah: Genesis and Mineralogy

Geodes containing celestine with associated quartz, calcite, chlorite, and other minerals occur in the Jurassic Curtis Formation of Emery and Wayne counties off the east and south flanks of the San Rafael Swell in southeastern Utah. The two areas discussed in this article produce geodes to 25 cm wide containing bladed to tabular celestine crystals that are as much as 4.5 cm in length. An evaporative littoral system resulting in the formation of anhydrite nodules is proposed as the initial environment for this deposit. Subsequent silicification of the nodules and, in some cases, the formation of hollow spaces within the silicified nodules, provided a geode structure for the eventual crystallization of celestine and associated minerals.

Daniel E. Kile, formerly a research geochemist with the U.S. Geological Survey, is presently scientist emeritus with that organization and adjunct faculty at the Hooke College of Applied Sciences. He has written several articles for Rocks & Minerals, including those on Thunder Bay amethyst (1984), Colorado quartz (1991), and Del Norte thunder eggs (2002).

Richard D. Dayvault is a geoscientist and consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals. His most recent article for the magazine, “Colorful Agate and Jasper of Southeastern Utah,” appeared in the July/August 2014 issue (pages 308–326).

William C. Hood is an adjunct professor of geology at Colorado Mesa University, where he oversees the department's X-ray laboratory. Prior to moving to Colorado, he was an exploration geologist with Amoco in Houston.

H. Steven Hatch is a mineral and fossil dealer. His most recent article for Rocks & Minerals, “Conifer Cones from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Rocks of Eastern Utah,” was coauthored with Richard D. Dayvault and appeared in the September/October 2007 issue (pages 383–396).       

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