Geo-pic of the week: Veins

Ron Colemans Quartz Mine, quartz veins, truck, CStone, 18 Jun 02

Any rockhound worth their salt knows that the best place to hunt for interesting minerals is in the void spaces in rock.  Void spaces come in two types; vugs and veins.  Vugs are usually found in igneous rock and result from trapped gas bubbles.  Veins, on the other hand, can be found in any type of bedrock. 

Veins are fractures, that have been plugged with minerals, typically by precipitation from circulating water.  The above picture was taken in the Ron Coleman quartz mine, near Hot Springs, Arkansas.   The near-parallel white streaks that riddle the sandstone are quartz-filled veins.  The fractures resulted from the intense deformation of the Ouachita Mountains, by plate tectonic forces, around 300 million years ago.  That deformation opened up space for quartz to grow in, and the tremendous heat and pressure from the mountain-building generated the mineral-rich fluid that deposited the crystals.      


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