This Calcite crystal is an excellent example of a complex doubly terminated scalenohedral crystal.

Calcite crystal fact file

Date

Found in 1927 at New Glencrieff mine, Wanlockhead, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Dimensions

Height 124mm, width 143mm

Weight

1284g

Acquired

Purchased from Robert Brown

Museum reference

G.1927.6.1

On display

Earth in Space, Level 1, National Museum of Scotland

Did you know?

The crystal has been nicknamed 'The Rocket'.

Calcite crystal

Complex crystals

This beautiful crystal formation was retrieved from deep within the New Glencrieff mine at Wanlockhead on the Leadhills ore field.

A mine worker, Robert Brown rescued the piece from going to the crusher around 1927. He then sold the crystal to the museum, along with two other pieces, for the princely sum of £3.

Site of scientific interest

Back in the 1920s, when the Calcite crystal was uncovered, the mines of Wanlockhead and Leadhills were important sources of lead.

Now the site is a world-class mineral site and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, because over 80 minerals occur there, some of which are very rare.

The particular conditions of pressure, temperature and acidity in the Leadhills ore field have created a collection of secondary lead minerals that is quite unique.

There are a number of mineral species that were first identified here, such as Leadhillite, Lanarkite, Susannite and Caledonite. The mineral Macphersonite from Leadhills was named after Harry MacPherson, Head of Mineralogy at the Museum in 1984.

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