Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Minerals from Berlin

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Berlin isn't exactly a place that offers many possibilities in terms of mineral collecting. There is a heavy mineral placer in Berlin at the "Müggelsee" though. The "Müggelsee" is a recreational area in the south-east of Berlin. In the last days of summer a friend and I decided to check it out and confirm if there is any substance to the rumours we had heard. Even gold has been found there!

Here is a view of the "Müggelsee" Bath:

It is located on the north-west side of the lake. From there we took a turn right to the west. We only took a small walk and found a spot with slightly darker sand. Here we put my pan to the test. After some practising we got our first result:

You can clearly see the darker areas containing the mineral magnetite. To test it we used a magnet:


This was the first time we used a pan to look for minerals. We were happy that even unexperienced users like us can get results easily.

We cleaned our sand samples and took them to university some days later. Besides magnetite there are several other heavy minerals that can be found. We also found zircon, garnet, pyrite and titanite although only in very small quantities. Using a binocular we tried making fotos. Unfortunately only those showing a garnet (we think) turned out well. Here it is:
I should have written down the magnification. I will have to ask my friend. We didn't spend any time on finding out why we have a placer there. I assume it is a result of the last glaciation period though human influence is immense and the sand could just as well be from elsewhere. On time and occasion I will try to find some literature about it and make a follow-up post here.
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3 comments :

fj said...

However, there's another nice aspect regarding rocks and minerals in Berlin: (stone) buildings. We offer an excursion on "Natural Building Stones in Berlin" for the students of "World Heritage Studies". The guide is from Berlin and she knows quite some interesting things connecting geology and buildings/architecture.

The Lost Geologist said...

That sounds interesting. I know inside the Pergamon Museum on the throne of Pergamon you have some very nice red limestones. So are you taking that excursion?

fj said...

I'd like to take that excursion one day; but up to now, work never permitted this. :-/ So I just could tell you here what the students and my Prof have said about it.

IIRC, we'll offer the excursion again this summer semester, and you could "sneak in" if you'd like. It's basically a half-day long walk around Berlin to various buildings etc., so I don't think it would be a problem if you just joined in.