What are Lake Superior agates?

What are Lake Superior agates?

Lake Superior agate is a form of agate that has been stained by iron and may be found on the beaches of Lake Superior. The deep red, orange, and yellow hue of Lake Superior agate distinguishes it from other agates found across the world. The oxidation of iron is responsible for this color palette. Agates at exceedingly enormous sizes are extremely unusual. However, some large specimens have been reported from other locations around the world.

There are two types of Lake Superior agate: white and brown. Both are forms of silica, but they look different because the particles in white agate are very small (less than 2 microns in diameter). In contrast, the particles in brown agate are larger (up to 100 microns). White agate tends to be more fragile and can be damaged by heat or moisture; while brown agate is less likely to be destroyed by heat or moisture and is more resistant to natural deterioration. The colors of both types of agate result from minerals within the stone absorbing light that ranges in color from blue to red, depending on their concentration. For example, black lodes typically contain higher concentrations of magnetic particles than do green lodes.

Lake Superior agate was important to Native Americans who harvested the mineral from the lake beach. The stone was used as a source of water purification and also as a tool material. Today, the majority of Lake Superior agate is discarded as industrial waste because it contains relatively high levels of iron.

What kind of agate is found in Lake Superior?

Its widespread availability and iron-rich color bands reflect the gemstone's geologic history in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The Lake Superior agate was recognized as the official state gemstone by the Minnesota Legislature in 1969.

Iron oxide-stained quartz takes on a variety of colors when exposed to air for several months. The intensity of the color varies depending on the type of mineral present in the stone. Black, red, brown, yellow, white, blue, green, and violet are some of the colors that have been seen in specimens. The most common forms of iron present in lake agate are haematite (black) and magnetite (red). Other minerals that can contribute to the coloration include siderite (brown), limonite (yellow), chalcedony (white), aragonite (blue), and pyrite (golden or silver colored). Agates can also contain small amounts of rutile (reddish-brown) or quartz (colorless).

The color of lake agate results from the interaction between the iron atoms within the crystal and oxygen molecules in the air. As the iron oxidizes, it changes from its ferrous state (with an electronic configuration of 2p^6 3d^6) to its ferric state (with an electronic configuration of 2p^6 3d^4).

Is Lake Superior agate rare?

Finally, Lake Superior agate may be found in various parts of Minnesota because it was spread by glacier activity 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. The deep red, orange, and yellow hue of Lake Superior agate is well known. There is a piece of agate that has been recorded as large as 18 inches across! This would make it the largest agate in North America.

Most people know lake agate for its colorful variety, but it is actually a fairly common mineral that occurs in many different colors. It can be white, black, gray, blue, green, or brown and usually contains small inclusions of other minerals such as pyrite (fool's gold), chalcedony, jasper, or quartz. Lake Superior is one of the only places you can find true red-orange-yellow agate. The color comes from tiny amounts of iron inside the stone.

Lake Superior agate is used for jewelry making because it takes a high-quality cut and has a nice polished surface. The gem quality of this material is very good; however, due to its softness, it is not recommended as an engagement ring.

The best place to find lake agate is at the beach. Search through the sand for colored stones that look like they might be made of glass but are really just pieces of rock.

How can you tell if a lake is a superior agate?

Identification. Lake (general description) Superior agates are often irregular spherical in form. They are constructed of quartz that has been stained by iron and layered in layers to form concentric circles that resemble the rings on a tree's cross section. The outer layer may be white or colored, depending on the source material used for the stone.

There are three main types of lakes: clear, cloudy and selenium. Clear lakes contain large amounts of dissolved organic matter which give them their color. Usually green or blue, they tend to have more fish in them than other colors. Cloudsy lakes contain small amounts of dissolved minerals such as sulfur compounds that give them their gray color. Selenium lakes contain high levels of this mineral which gives them their yellow-brown color. Although not common, some lakes contain elements other than those listed above; these are called "mixed-color" or "contaminated" lakes.

Lakes can also be classified by depth. Deep lakes are any that reach depths of 100 feet or more while shallow lakes stay below this depth. Superficial lakes do not reach maximum depth but rather end when surface soil is reached. Shallow lakes are not recommended for jewelry because of the risk of being hit by an aircraft while swimming in them.

Lakes can also be divided into fresh water or saltwater.

About Article Author

Caren Kiewiet

Caren Kiewiet is an adventure photographer and writer. She's been known to take risks for the sake of capturing a perfect shot; but more importantly, she loves sharing stories about the people and places she encounters along the way. Her favorite thing about what she does is that it changes every day - there's always something new to learn, something new to try, or someone new to meet.

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