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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Epsomite at Nenthead?
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 30/11/2019 20:54:33
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Hello to all Nenthead regulars - I am looking for information on the possible occurrence of epsomite at Nenthead. I am asking on behalf of someone looking for published work on research into cyclical growth of epsomite, and she believes this may be something that has been recorded in the Nenthead mines. This will help greatly towards securing some funding for a research project to monitor something similar happening in a cave in the USA.

Have there been any published investigations into this?

Thanks.

IP: 91.125.156.160
Jim MacPherson

Joined: 02/09/2015

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 30/11/2019 21:52:57
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I presume there is some in Smallcleugh, this photo is from the 1970's, I think there are some more recent ones in the current album.



(click image to open full size image in new window)

I'm not exactly sure where Incline Flats may be but will look at PeteJ plan tomorrow.

There's a bit about Admiralty Flats in Nentsberry Haggs;

http://russellsoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/JRS-17-Web.pdf

Page 44

Jim
IP: 109.149.213.211 Edited: 30/11/2019 22:11:36 by Jim MacPherson
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 01/12/2019 08:44:59
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Has there been any good research into the formation of these growths in old mines? i suspect it has had little attention. IP: 91.125.156.160
Mr Mike

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Joined: 09/06/2007
Location: Bury - In The Laboratory

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 01/12/2019 09:59:53
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There are plenty of examples of it around the Nent mines.

Smallcleugh seems to have a fair amount. In the grotto it has grown as if in on steroids. It seems to grow best where there is little or no air movement. The only observation I can add.



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Peter Burgess

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Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 01/12/2019 10:31:58
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From what I understand, the proposed US research is to study the cyclical nature of the mineral, growing for one period of the year and diminishing or disappearing at others, due to changes in humidity.
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neutronix

Joined: 04/03/2008

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 01/12/2019 11:41:27
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Some published references

Dunham, K.C., 1948. Geology of the Northern Pennine
Orefield. Volume \, Tyne to Stainmore. Memoir of
the Geological Survey of Great Britain.

Bridges, T.F. and Young, B. 1998. Supergene minerals of the Northern Pennine orefied - a review. Journal of the Russell Society 7(1) 3-14.

According to Tindle, Minerals of Britain and Ireland:

"Post-mining efflorescences of epsomite, gypsum, iron oxides and rare serpierite encrust the mine walls....." "Epsomite is locally very abundant in parts of the workings, commonly forming colourless acicular crystals up to 4 cm long...."

"At the nearby Brownley Hill mine, the mine walls are encrusted with hair like crystals of epsomite..."

Green, D.I., McCallum, D. and Wood, M. (2000). The Brownley Hill mine, Alston Moor district, Cumbria, England. Mineralogical record 3(1) 231-250.

Bridges and Young can be uploaded from The Russell Society website.


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“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Mark Twain
IP: 109.157.43.59
Boy Engineer

Joined: 20/06/2008
Location: Derby

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 01/12/2019 13:51:08
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Whatever you do, don’t get any in your mouth, as it will go through you like a dose of salts. IP: 83.216.140.15
PeteJ

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Joined: 12/05/2008
Location: Frosterley, Durham

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 01/12/2019 16:17:06
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Peter - not aware of any published research. As the others have already commented, it is relatively common throughout Alston Moor mines. In some places it is always to be found, whereas in other places occurrence varies with the time of year. IP: 87.115.69.110
Peter Burgess

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 01/12/2019 20:39:01
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Thank Pete - this is the conclusion I am rapidly coming to, that little if any true research has been done on this mineral oddity.
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neutronix

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 02/12/2019 14:41:18
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I guess it depends what you mean by research on epsomite - 257 peer reviewed publications listed on web of science (dated from 1900). Quite a number on its presence in acid mine drainage, a lot of interest in the presence of magnesium sulfates on mars, have even published myself on its low temperature thermoelastic properties.

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“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Mark Twain
IP: 109.157.16.22
PeteJ

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 02/12/2019 14:46:09
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neutronix wrote:

I guess it depends what you mean by research on epsomite - 257 peer reviewed publications listed on web of science (dated from 1900). Quite a number on its presence in acid mine drainage, a lot of interest in the presence of magnesium sulfates on mars, have even published myself on its low temperature thermoelastic properties.
My apologies - I meant published research about the locality.
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neutronix

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 02/12/2019 15:02:58
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My apologies - I meant published research about the locality.

No need to apologise Pete, and you are quite right, nothing at all published in the scientific literature about Nenthead. No money for funding this sort of research these days and possibly hasn't been any for close on 40 years.

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“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Mark Twain IP: 109.157.16.22
John Lawson

Joined: 09/12/2010
Location: Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 02/12/2019 21:33:44
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Hi I think that you might have the basis of an interesting research topic here!
I think we Mine explorers all can think of places where you can easily acquire specimens for analysis.
I personally think that these crystalline entities are just as likely to be selenite, which is the form of calcium sulphate as well as epsomite which is the analogue except using Magnesium as the cation rather than than the Calcium one.
As I see it the limestone is impregnated with pyrite or sulphides, which rote to form sulphuric acid which then combines with the limestone containing some Magnesium to give either Epsom it’s or selenite. If the formation is predominantly epsomite, then some sort of preferential reaction is taking place hence the interest?
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Peter Burgess

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Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 02/12/2019 21:52:00
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It's not my project, it's a fellow caver in the US - looking for prior work to back up an application for funding equipment to use in caves with cyclical formations of epsomite. Being able to cite other research helps get the funds, apparently.
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D.Send

Joined: 12/04/2016

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 03/12/2019 06:52:30
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Hi,
I have never heard of Epsomite before, but Selenite, yes. (There is a lot of it in Baker's Pit Cave in Devon).
Selenite occurs in some helictites, which have been studied and found to be formed by the presence of chimio-bacteria which 'eat' zinc and other trace elements in infiltrating groundwaters. Biotropism explains the eccentricty.
Cornish mines sometimes have floppy 'snotite', stalactites made of bacterial ooze, growing on sulphide-rich ores. Many mine flowstones are soft and spongey...
Most stalagmitic concretions have bacteria present !
It was an American geologist-caver who first spoke to me about chimio-bacteria in Devon in 1964 !
But Epsomite ?
Regards,
Dsend.
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neutronix

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 03/12/2019 09:51:55
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The principal difference between gypum (selenite), calcium sulfate dihydrate, and epsomite, magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, is their solubilities in water. Ar 25 C, gypsum is about 2.5 g per litre, epsomite is close to 700 g per litre. Gypsum encrustations, once formed, are unlikely to vanish completely, whereas the opposite is true for epsomite. You only have to look at the cauliflowers that grow on the bottom of Brunton calciners, these are gypsum and principally pharmalcolite amongst other arsenic containing calcium hydrates. Successive concentric growths are interpreted as being the result of seasonal crystallization.

As I said earlier, absolutely no money in the UK Research Council budgets for curiosity driven research into the case of the disappearing and reappearing epsomite....

--

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Mark Twain
IP: 109.157.16.22
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 03/12/2019 18:25:24
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Thank you for everybody's help. The project is probably going ahead, and neutronix's posts are appreciated - passing on the word! IP: 91.125.156.160
D.Send

Joined: 12/04/2016

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Epsomite at Nenthead?
Posted: 04/12/2019 00:20:47
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Hi,

Microbial mediation of complex subterranean …
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4625141

Adit Now readers may find this link interesting in relation to mine flowstones in general...

Regards,
D.Send.
IP: 81.48.36.160
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