Steatite (soapstone)

Steatite (soapstone)

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Credit: DIRK WIERSMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Steatite, or Soapstone, is a metamorphic rock composed of the mineral talc, a hydrous magnesium silicate. The sample here seen is an exceptional case, where the steatite has formed crystals that are pseudomorph after (lookalike) quartz. The brown hues on the surface of the crystals result from weathering. The substrate underneath the pseudomorphs is massive talc. Sample is from Wunsiedel in the Fichtelgebirge of German Bavaria and its actual width is 65 mm.

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Keywords: crystal, crystalline, crystals, lookalike, magnesium silicate, massive, metamorphic, mineral, pseudomorph, quartz, soapstone, steatite, talc, weathering

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