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Mesolite Crystals

Mesolite on Thomsonite from Madhya Pradesh India

About Mesolite crystals

Mesolite is a tectosilicate mineral with formula: Na2Ca2(Al2Si3O10)3·8H2O., and it occurs commonly in the Deccan Trap

Mesolite is isostructural (having the same structure) with the hydrated calcium silicate “Scolecite” and the sodium zeolite “Natrolite”. Nevertheless, all three are different minerals.

Sadly all three minerals (Mesolite, Scolecite, and Natrolite) do occur as acicular (needle-like) and fibrous aggregations.

This makes it nearly impossible for non-specialists or without chemical analysis to differentiate between them.

All three minerals do not only show the same aggregation shape, but they also all appear as colorless or white crystals. However, while Mesolite always appears either white or colorless, Natrolite can be identified in case it appears in yellowish or reddish colors. You could also identify Natrolite by exposing it to a candle flame which would result in the Natrolite melting while coloring the flame yellow, but who wants to destroy such a gorgeous crystal just to find out, if it was Natrolite?

You can also be sure that the crystal is NOT Mesolite but Scolecite in case it shows a pink, salmon, red, or green color.

However, as long as the crystal in front of you is white or colorless the only way to differentiate is to have a VERY close look at the crystals themselves. Mesolite often shows very thin fibrous crystals, but so does Natrolite too. Scolecite needles often show a striated surface parallel to the length of the needle and are frequently flattened on one side.

To make matters worse Scolecite and Mesolite can occur together.

Mesolite often occurs as an overgrowth on Thomsonite.

Mesolite on stilbite fromMumbai India
Mesolite on stilbite from Mumbai India
Mesolite from Pune India
Mesolite on thomsonite from Madhya pradesh india

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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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Mesolite on Heulandite from Ahmednagar India
Mesolite on Thomsonite from Madhya Pradesh India
Mesolite from Pune India
Mesolite on Heulandite from Ahmednagar India
Mesolite from Pune India

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