Voglite, Liebigite - Sold
- White Canyon #1 mine
- Frey Point
- San Juan County
- 3.2 by 2.4 by 1.4 cm – Thumbnail specimen (fits into a 3 cm cube)
Mining in White Canyon was an important part of the Cold War uranium boom (1950s-1960s). While overshadowed in production by the nearby Happy Jack mine, other claims in White Canyon produced colorful encrustations of exotic uranium minerals, here dominated by uranyl carbonate minerals. This specimen features a rich coverage of green voglite with minor liebigite.
Vogl (1853) described a green uranium mineral from Jáchymov, Czech Republic. In an editorial comment immediately following the paper, Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger proposed the name voglite after the author, Josef Florian Vogl (1818–1896). This is a historical practice, no longer sanctioned by the International Mineralogical Association. Later study by Frondel (1958) (note: file size 24.6MB) established the currently accepted formula of Ca2Cu(UO2)(CO3)4·6H2O and Piret (1979) defined a unit cell with monoclinic symmetry. To this day, the crystal structure remains unsolved. The intense green voglite is essentially covering a 2 mm thick layer of yellow-green liebigite on this specimen. Liebigite is a hydrated uranium carbonate, named in honor of Justus von Liebig (1803–1873), former chemistry professor at the University of Munich (Smith, 1848). Mereiter (1982) solved the crystal structure of liebigite, Ca2UO2(CO3)3·11H2O, demonstrating a variable water content, and finding a layer structure consistent with the perfect cleavage of the mineral.
This specimen was part of the personal collection of Ralph Merrill, proprietor of the prolific mail order business Minerals Unlimited, obtained in 1956 from Otto Ray, a mineral collector from Salt Lake City. Merrill's collection card and label also ship with the specimen.