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May-June 2017

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Fluorite in Arizona

When one thinks about outstanding Arizona minerals, fluorite may be far down on the species list. Azurite, malachite, wulfenite, vanadinite, and copper would certainly come before any mention of fluorite for many collectors. But Mindat lists no less than 390 localities for Arizona fluorite, distributed among twelve counties, suggesting that fluorite is plentiful throughout the state (http://mindat.org/fluorite/Arizona; accessed March 2016). The only area in Arizona without much fluorite is the far northern portion.

In Arizona, fluorite forms simple cubes, octahedra, combinations of the two, and, rarely, dodecahedra. The crystals are spruce-green, pale green, lavender, dark purple, teal-blue, zoned purple/green, and even colorless. Crystals have been found to 5 cm on edge in many localities and occasionally to 10 cm on edge; they are often associated with white bladed barite, quartz crystal druses or elongated quartz crystals, and with wulfenite, calcite, barite, galena, cerussite, and anglesite. 

 

Barbara L. Muntyan, formerly of Colorado and author of many articles about Colorado localities, now lives in Tucson and concentrates on Arizona localities

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