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The Economic Geology of Some Virginia Kyanite Deposits
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- The Economic Geology of Some Virginia Kyanite Deposits
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- This kyanite quartzite deposits at Leigh, Baker and Willis Mountains located in the south central Virginia Piedmont were investigated to determine their genesis, extent, and geologic and petrographic character. Kyanite quartzite in Virginia typically contains 20-40 per cent kyanite, 0-5 per cent pyrite, 0.5-1.5 per cent rutile, a per cent or so of mica or clay with the balance quartz. They occur as single beds within metamorphic rocks ranging from slates and phyllites of the greenschist facies south of Leigh Mountain, to schists and gneisses of the amphibolite facies at Baker and Willis Mountains. Post-kyanite hydrothermal alteration along fractures has altered large segments of the Baker Mountain deposit to clay and topaz. The protolith of kyanite quartzite is believed to have been extraordinarily pure mixture of quartz and kaolinite which was produced by either Iateritic weathering or by circulating meteoric waters. Isochemical regional metamorphism is believed to have occurred in a high pressure, moderate temperature environment in which water was either deficient or able to escape. Fluorine may have had a catalytic effect in promoting kyanite crystallization. No evidence was found of hydrothermal introduction of alumina, or localization of kyanite as a result of differential stress. The rocks enclosing kyanite quartzite in the Leigh Mountain area are believed to be basal members of the lower Paleozoic (?) Volcanic-Slate series. The gneisses surrounding Willis and Baker Mountains may be more highly metamorphosed, infolded remnants of the same series. The kyanite deposits of Virginia are extensive and well situated for mining. Possible reserves of kyanite quartzite containing over 25 per cent kyanite available for open pit mining are measured in tens of millions of tons.
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- University of Arizona
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- Lacy, Willard C.
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