Made in Belgium...


Map of Belgium

Belgium is quite small (roughly 200 X 300 km), but has provided the scientific world with a remarkable number of eminent mineralogists.

This is in part due to the colonisation of the former "Belgian Congo" (now Republic of Congo, ex-Zaire), one of the richest mineralogical regions in the world. Less than 200 species have been found in Belgium so far, but 16 of them are recorded in history with a Belgian type locality.

 

Minerals with a Belgian type locality

MINERAL

LOCALITY

DISCOVERY

DESCRIPTION

REMARKS

ardennite

Salmchateau

1872

von Lasaulx, 1872

synonym : dewalquite

davreuxite

Ottré

1850

De Koninck, 1978

-

delvauxite

Berneau

1793

Delvaux, 1838

-

destinezite

Richelle

1879

Césaro, 1885

fraipontite

Moresnet

1883

Césaro, 1883

-

halloysite

Angleur

1826

Berthier, 1826

-

hopeite

Altenberg

1820

Brewster, 1822

-

koninckite

Richelle

1884

Césaro, 1884

see below

ottrelite

Ottré

1809

Damour, 1842

-

richellite

Richelle

1883

Césaro, 1842

-

viseite

Visé

1888

Mélon, 1842

-

willemite

Moresnet

1829

Levy, 1830

-

drugmanite

Richelle

1979

Van Tassel, 1979

-

vantasselite

Bihain

1987

Fransolet, 1987

-

ferristrunzite

Blaton

1987

Peacor, 1987

-

viaeneite

Engis

1996

Kucha et al., 1996

Unstable in air


Belgium is also famous for its large and beautiful calcite crystals from different localities : Mont-sur-Marchienne, Biesmerée, Beez, Landelies etc. At present Belgium is not a real eldorado for rockhounds : most localities are closed for collecting, or at least with substantial restrictions. It becomes more and more difficult to get high quality and/or rare minerals here. I have more information on ardennite, ferristrunzite and vantassselite on the next pages.

But remember : Belgium has a great mineral collector's club, the "Mineralogische Kring Antwerpen v.z.w.", with a great and very dynamic home-page.

Calcite

Crandallite

LEFT : calcite crystals (6 cm tall) from the Solvay Quarry in Couillet, Belgium (this quarry is closed down). Photo and collection A. Quadens.
RIGHT : crandallite aggregates from Blaton, Belgium. Photo and collection H. Dillen.

Koninckite from Richelle, near Visé, Belgium (type locality) Koninckite, FePO4.3 H2O, has been discovered recently in Carinthia, Austria. The quality of this material is far superior to the Belgian aggregates. In Austria nice snow-white spherules up to nearly 1 mm occur. More detailed information can be found in the literature : M. Puttner (1997), "Das seltene Phosphat-mineral Koninckit in einer Mineralisation vom Geo-Trail bei Oberbuchach, Karnische Alpen (Kärnten)", Der Aufschluss 48 317-320.

 

This is a high resolution SEM-picture of destinezite from Richelle, near Visé, Liège Province, Belgium. The nodules found in Belgium are dull, beige colored, looking rather amorphous and pulverulent. But at very high magnification (in this picture 23800 X) well formed six-sided plates can be observed. Those platelets are about 1.5 X 3 µm "tall" 0.0015 X 0.003 mm). Note that this mineral is not hexagonal, but triclinic !

 

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Belgium

Ardennite

Ferristrunzite

Vantasselite

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The background on this page is made of radiating aggregates of vantasselite-crystals