About Heulandite crystals
Before 1997, heulandite was thought to be one mineral species. Then, however, the International Mineralogical Association recognized Heulandite to be the name of a group of minerals belonging to the zeolites:
The appropriate species name depends on the dominant element.
The different species are visually indistinguishable, and the series name heulandite is still used whenever testing has not been performed.
It forms at temperatures below about 100 °C (212 °F), and so its presence in sedimentary rocks indicates that these have experienced shallow diagenesis. Heulandite is a very frequent mineral of the Deccan Trap formation and is closely associated with apophyllites and stilbite. Also, it looks very similar to stilbite and both minerals are very hard to distinguish for the untrained eye.
Crystals are monoclinic. They may have a characteristic coffin-shaped habit with a broader base, thinner sides, and a smooth top and bottom.
They may also form simple rhombic prisms.
Frequently, a crust of fine crystals will form with only the ends of the rhombs visible, making the crystals look like wedges.
Typically, crystals grow in circular aggregates of similar crystals.
Crystals might also have a barrel form, found in dense clusters. They may be fan or saddle-shaped, show a chisel-like tip, or can be found in foliated groups or in rosettes.
They have a perfect cleavage parallel to the plane of symmetry, on which the luster is markedly pearly; on other faces the luster is of the vitreous type.
The mineral is usually colorless or white, but may be orange, brown, yellow, brick-red
Heulandite can be green too due to inclusions of celadonite. Celadonite is a mica group mineral.
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The Geology of the Indian Deccan Traps.
The Deccan Traps is one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. It consists of numerous layers of solidified flood basalt that together are more than about 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) thick. Today it covers an area of about 500,000 square kilometers (200,000 sq mi), and has a volume of about 1,000,000 cubic kilometres (200,000 cu mi).
The term trap is derived from the Swedish word for stairs (trapp) and refers to the step-like hills forming the landscape of the region. The name Deccan has Sanskrit origins meaning “southern”.
The Deccan Traps began forming 66.25 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, when lava began to extrude through fissures in the crust known as fissure eruptions. This series of eruptions may have lasted for less than 30,000 years.
The release of volcanic gases, particularly sulfur dioxide, during the formation of the traps may have contributed to climate change. An average drop in temperature of about 2 °C (3.6 °F) was recorded during this period.
Work published in 2014 by geologist Gerta Keller and others on the timing of the Deccan volcanism suggests the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event may have been caused by both the volcanism at the Deccan traps and the Chicxulub impact event in North America, which would have produced a sunlight-blocking dust cloud that killed much of the plant life and reduced global temperature (this cooling is called an impact winter).
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