Native sulphurResting on a rocky bed of small crystals of…

Native sulphur

Resting on a rocky bed of small crystals of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate similar to the more familiar calcite), several fragile crystals of vivid yellow sulphur have coagulated out of the emanations of Mount Etna. The crystals can form in several ways, the most common being from fumaroles, from which burning gases that have bubbled out of the magma below escape through the volcanic edifice and precipitate crystals as they cool on contact with air, though it sometimes (possibly so in this case) precipitates from the sulphur rich waters that the escaping steam condenses into. The specimen comes from Sicily and measures 7.0 x 4.5 x 3.7 cm.


Image credit: Rob Lavinsky/

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