Abstract

The name black calcite has been applied from time to time to a dark gray to black variety of calcite or aragonite in metalliferous ore deposits in the Western States. Most of the material shows curved, roughly rhombic cleavage. The color is due to dispersed minute grains of one or more oxides of manganese, so dispersed that they rarely show any relation to cleavage surfaces or outward crystal forms.Recent study shows that the black calcite from numerous metalliferous deposits in the Western States contains small amounts of several metals, especially zinc, lead, and silver; in places, the crude black calcite contains as much as one percent silver and the black residue remaining after solution of the calcite as much as 1,500 ounces of silver to the ton. Black calcite is recognized in some deposits of Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary age where the host is Paleozoic carbonate rocks; thus far, this variety contains the larger amounts of silver. It is also present in some vein deposits where the host is generally volcanic rocks of middle Tertiary age; these are known in many districts in the southwest and even though the lead and zinc content is noteworthy, the silver content rarely exceeds one ounce to the ton (8).By studying polished sections of black calcite from the Aurora mine, White Pine County, Nevada, three silver-bearing manganate minerals have been recognized; (1) an argentian chalcophanite containing 7.5 percent silver (Ag 2 O), to which, in a following paper, the name aurorite is given; (2) argentian todorokite containing 3.9 percent silver (Ag 2 O), and (3) hydrous silver-bearing lead manganese oxide, containing 1.18 percent silver (Ag 2 O).

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