Moss agate

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Moss agate pebble, 1 inch (25 mm) long. Mossagate.pebble.750pix.jpg
Moss agate pebble, 1 inch (25 mm) long.
Montana moss agate Montana Moss Agate.jpg
Montana moss agate

Moss agate is a semi-precious gemstone formed from silicon dioxide. It is a form of chalcedony which includes minerals of a green colour embedded in the stone, forming filaments and other patterns suggestive of moss. [1] The field is a clear or milky-white quartz, and the included minerals are mainly oxides of manganese or iron. It is not a true form of agate, as it lacks agate's defining feature of concentric banding. Moss agate is of the white variety with green inclusions that resemble moss. It occurs in many locations. The colors are formed due to trace amounts of metal present as an impurity, such as chrome or iron. The metals can make different colors depending on their valence (oxidation state). [2]

Gemstone Piece of mineral crystal used to make jewelry

A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.

Silicon dioxide chemical compound

Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is an oxide of silicon with the chemical formula SiO2, most commonly found in nature as quartz and in various living organisms. In many parts of the world, silica is the major constituent of sand. Silica is one of the most complex and most abundant families of materials, existing as a compound of several minerals and as synthetic product. Notable examples include fused quartz, fumed silica, silica gel, and aerogels. It is used in structural materials, microelectronics (as an electrical insulator), and as components in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Chalcedony Microcrystalline varieties of quartz, may contain moganite as well

Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of quartz and moganite. These are both silica minerals, but they differ in that quartz has a trigonal crystal structure, while moganite is monoclinic. Chalcedony's standard chemical structure (based on the chemical structure of quartz) is SiO2 (silicon dioxide).

Despite its name, moss agate does not contain organic matter and is usually formed from weathered volcanic rocks.

Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter (NOM) refers to the large pool of carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial and aquatic environments. It is matter composed of organic compounds that have come from the remains of organisms such as plants and animals and their waste products in the environment. Organic molecules can also be made by chemical reactions that don't involve life. Basic structures are created from cellulose, tannin, cutin, and lignin, along with other various proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Organic matter is very important in the movement of nutrients in the environment and plays a role in water retention on the surface of the planet.

Weathering Breaking down of rocks, soil and minerals as well as artificial materials through contact with the Earths atmosphere, biota and waters

Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soil, and minerals as well as wood and artificial materials through contact with the Earth's atmosphere, water, and biological organisms. Weathering occurs in situ, that is, in the same place, with little or no movement, and thus should not be confused with erosion, which involves the movement of rocks and minerals by agents such as water, ice, snow, wind, waves and gravity and then being transported and deposited in other locations.

Volcanic rock rocks composing or associated with volcanoes, volcanic activity or volcanism

Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it differs from other igneous rock by being of volcanic origin. Like all rock types, the concept of volcanic rock is artificial, and in nature volcanic rocks grade into hypabyssal and metamorphic rocks and constitute an important element of some sediments and sedimentary rocks. For these reasons, in geology, volcanics and shallow hypabyssal rocks are not always treated as distinct. In the context of Precambrian shield geology, the term "volcanic" is often applied to what are strictly metavolcanic rocks. Volcanic rocks and sediment that form from magma erupted into the air are called "volcaniclastics," and these are technically sedimentary rocks.

Montana moss agate is found in the alluvial gravels of the Yellowstone River and its tributaries between Sidney and Billings, Montana. It was originally formed in the Yellowstone National Park area of Wyoming as a result of volcanic activity. In Montana moss agate the red color is the result of iron oxide and the black color is the result of manganese oxide.

Yellowstone River tributary of the Missouri River in the western United States

The Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 692 miles (1,114 km) long, in the western United States. Considered the principal tributary of the upper Missouri, the river and its tributaries drain a wide area stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park across the mountains and high plains of southern Montana and northern Wyoming.

Sidney, Montana City in Montana, United States

Sidney is a city in and the county seat of Richland County, Montana, United States, less than 10 mi (16 km) away from the North Dakota border. The population was 5,191 at the 2010 census. The city lies along the Yellowstone River and is in proximity to the badlands of the Dakotas. Sidney is approximately midway between Glendive, Montana and Williston, North Dakota.

Billings, Montana City in Montana, United States

Billings is the largest city in the U.S. state of Montana, with a population estimated at 109,642 as of 2017. Located in the south-central portion of the state, it is the seat of Yellowstone County and the principal city of the Billings Metropolitan Area, which has a total a population of 170,498. It has a trade area of over 500,000.

Related Research Articles

Agate A rock consisting of cryptocrystalline silica alternating with microgranular quartz

Agate is a rock consisting primarily of cryptocrystalline silica, chiefly chalcedony, alternating with microgranular quartz. It is characterized by its fineness of grain and variety of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of host rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.

Hornblende A complex inosilicate series of minerals

Hornblende is a complex inosilicate series of minerals. It is not a recognized mineral in its own right, but the name is used as a general or field term, to refer to a dark amphibole.

Onyx Banded variety of the mineral chalcedony

Onyx primarily refers to the parallel banded variety of the silicate mineral chalcedony. Agate and onyx are both varieties of layered chalcedony that differ only in the form of the bands: agate has curved bands and onyx has parallel bands. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color. Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of black and/or white. Onyx, as a descriptive term, has also been applied to parallel banded varieties of alabaster, marble, obsidian and opal, and misleadingly to materials with contorted banding, such as "Cave Onyx" and "Mexican Onyx".

Petrified wood fossilized remains of plants

Petrified wood is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals, while retaining the original structure of the stem tissue. Unlike other types of fossils which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material.

Epidote epidote supergroup, sorosilicate mineral

Epidote is a calcium aluminium iron sorosilicate mineral.

Felsite A very fine grained felsic volcanic rock that may or may not contain larger crystals

Felsite is a very fine-grained volcanic rock that may or may not contain larger crystals. Felsite is a field term for a light-colored rock that typically requires petrographic examination or chemical analysis for more precise definition. Color is generally white through light gray, or red to tan and may include any color except dark gray, green or black. The mass of the rock consists of a fine-grained matrix of felsic materials, particularly quartz, sodium and potassium feldspar, and may be termed a quartz felsite or quartz porphyry if the quartz phenocrysts are present. This rock is typically of extrusive origin, formed by compaction of fine volcanic ash, and may be found in association with obsidian and rhyolite. In some cases, it is sufficiently fine-grained for use in making stone tools. Its fine texture and felsic components allow for good knapped pieces, much like working chert, producing conchoidal fracture.

Pyrolusite oxide mineral

Pyrolusite is a mineral consisting essentially of manganese dioxide (MnO2) and is important as an ore of manganese. It is a black, amorphous appearing mineral, often with a granular, fibrous or columnar structure, sometimes forming reniform crusts. It has a metallic luster, a black or bluish-black streak, and readily soils the fingers. The specific gravity is about 4.8. Its name is from the Greek for fire and to wash, in reference to its use as a way to remove tints from glass.

Chrysoprase apple-green, gem-quality, chalcedony variety

Chrysoprase, chrysophrase or chrysoprasus is a gemstone variety of chalcedony that contains small quantities of nickel. Its color is normally apple-green, but varies to deep green. The darker varieties of chrysoprase are also referred to as prase.

Hübnerite oxide mineral

Hübnerite or hubnerite is a mineral consisting of manganese tungsten oxide (chemical formula: MnWO4, it isn't a tungstate). It is the manganese endmember of the manganese - iron wolframite solid solution series. It forms reddish brown to black monoclinic prismatic submetallic crystals. The crystals are typically flattened and occur with fine striations. It has a high specific gravity of 7.15 and a Mohs hardness of 4.5. It is transparent to translucent with perfect cleavage. Refractive index values are nα=2.170 - 2.200, nβ=2.220, and nγ=2.300 - 2.320.

Adamite arsenate mineral

Adamite is a zinc arsenate hydroxide mineral, Zn2AsO4OH. It is a mineral that typically occurs in the oxidized or weathered zone above zinc ore occurrences. Pure adamite is colorless, but usually it possess yellow color due to Fe compounds admixture. Tints of green also occur and are connected with copper substitutions in the mineral structure. Olivenite is a copper arsenate that is isostructural with adamite and there is considerable substitution between zinc and copper resulting in an intermediate called cuproadamite. Zincolivenite is a recently discovered mineral being an intermediate mineral with formula CuZn(AsO4)(OH). Manganese, cobalt, and nickel also substitute in the structure. An analogous zinc phosphate, tarbuttite, is known.

Dendrite (crystal) dendritic crystal growth in a typical multi-branching tree-like form

A crystal dendrite is a crystal that develops with a typical multi-branching tree-like form. Dendritic crystal growth is very common and illustrated by snowflake formation and frost patterns on a window. Dendritic crystallization forms a natural fractal pattern. Dendritic crystals can grow into a supercooled pure liquid or form from growth instabilities that occur when the growth rate is limited by the rate of diffusion of solute atoms to the interface. In the latter case, there must be a concentration gradient from the supersaturated value in the solution to the concentration in equilibrium with the crystal at the surface. Any protuberance that develops is accompanied by a steeper concentration gradients at its tip. This increases the diffusion rate to the tip. In opposition to this is the action of the surface tension tending to flatten the protuberance and setting up a flux of solute atoms from the protuberance out to the sides. However, overall, the protuberance becomes amplified. This process occurs again and again until a dendrite is produced.

Willemite nesosilicate mineral

Willemite is a zinc silicate mineral (Zn2SiO4) and a minor ore of zinc. It is highly fluorescent (green) under shortwave ultraviolet light. It occurs in all different colors in daylight, in fibrous masses, solid brown masses ("troostite"), and apple green gemmy masses.

Larimar Larimar

Larimar, also called "Stefilia's Stone", is a rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. Its coloration varies from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue.

Birnessite hydroxide mineral

Birnessite (Na0.3Ca0.1K0.1)(Mn4+,Mn3+)2O4 · 1.5 H2O is an oxide mineral of manganese along with calcium, potassium and sodium. It has a dark brown to black color with a submetallic luster. It is also very soft, with a Mohs hardness of 1.5. Birnessite is formed by precipitation in lakes, oceans and groundwater and is a major component of desert varnish and deep sea manganese nodules.

Chlorargyrite halite mineral

Chlorargyrite is the mineral form of silver chloride (AgCl). Chlorargyrite occurs as a secondary mineral phase in the oxidation of silver mineral deposits. It crystallizes in the isometric - hexoctahedral crystal class. Typically massive to columnar in occurrence it also has been found as colorless to variably yellow cubic crystals. The color changes to brown or purple on exposure to light. It is quite soft with a Mohs hardness of 1 to 2 and dense with a specific gravity of 5.55. It is also known as cerargyrite and, when weathered by desert air, as horn silver. Bromian chlorargyrite is also common. Chlorargyrite is water-insoluble.

Native metal Metal that is found in its metallic form, either pure or as an alloy, in nature

A native metal is any metal that is found pure in its metallic form in nature. Metals that can be found as native deposits singly or in alloys include aluminium, antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, indium, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, rhenium, selenium, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, and zinc, as well as two groups of metals: the gold group, and the platinum group. The gold group consists of gold, copper, lead, aluminium, mercury, and silver. The platinum group consists of platinum, iridium, osmium, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium. Amongst the alloys found in native state have been brass, bronze, pewter, German silver, osmiridium, electrum, white gold, and silver-mercury and gold-mercury amalgam.

Glass coloring and color marking may be obtained by 1) addition of coloring ions, by 2) precipitation of nanometer sized colloides, 3) by colored inclusions, 4) by light scattering, 5) by dichroic coatings, or 6) by colored coatings.

Ramsdellite oxide mineral

Ramsdellite (Mn4+O2) is an orthorhombic manganese dioxide mineral. It is relatively uncommon, and is usually found in deposits containing other manganese oxide crystals.


  1. "Moss Agate". Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  2. "Moss Agate". 2005. Retrieved June 10, 2014.