Namesake Minerals #7

This week’s post is about a trio of minerals named after the cyclops sons of Uranus. Argesite, brontesite and steropesite are found at La Fossa Crater on Vulcano Island and they are also new minerals – the oldest one was discovered only seven years ago.

argesite

Argesite from La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy (image by Enrico Bonacina from mindat.com)

Quick facts:

  • Halide mineral
  • Found in ~250°C intracrater fumaroles on pyroclastic breccia
  • Type locality: La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy
  • Formula: (NH4)7Bi3Cl16
  • Crystal system: Trigonal
  • Hardness: Undetermined
  • Density: 2.881g/cm3
argesite zoomed

Magnified argesite from La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy (image by Francesco Demartin from rruff.info)

Argesite forms pale yellow crystals that can grow up to 0.15mm long. It’s commonly associated with adranosite, brontesite, demicheleite and panichiite. It was named in 2011 after Arges.

 

 

 

 

 

brontesite

Brontesite from La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy (image by Stephan Wolfsried from mindat.com)

Quick facts:

  • Halide mineral
  • Found in ~250°C intracrater fumaroles on pyroclastic breccia
  • Type locality: La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy
  • Formula: (NH4)3PbCl5
  • Crystal system: Orthorhombic
  • Hardness: Undetermined
  • Density: 2.721g/cm3
brontesite-magnified

Magnified brontesite from La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy (image by Italo Campostrini from mindat.com)

Brontesite consists of 0.1mm tabular crystals. It’s associated with bismuthinite, godovikovite, demicheleite and alunite. It was named in 2008 after Brontes.

 

 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Steropesite from La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy (image by Enrico Bonacina from mindat.com)

Quick facts:

  • Halide mineral
  • Found near the crater of an active volcano at ~250°C
  • Type locality: La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy
  • Formula: Tl3BiCl6
  • Crystal system: Monoclinic
  • Hardness: Undetermined
  • Density: 5.737g/cm3

Steropesite forms 0.2mm pale yellow crystals. It was named in 2009 by Francesco DeMartin, Carlo Maria Gramaccioli and Italo Campostrini after Steropes.

cyclops

An Imperial Roman mosaic depicting the three cyclops at Hephaestus’ forge. From Bardo Museum, Tunis, Tunisia (image from theoi.com)

Arges, Brontes and Steropes – whose names mean bright, thunder and lightning respectively – were cyclops (one-eyed giants) and the sons of Uranus and Gaia. The three brothers were the assistants of Hephaestus who was an ancient fire god and blacksmith with a workshop on Vulcano Island.

Due to their immense strength and large stature, their names were associated with power. Unfortunately, Uranus feared their strength and locked them up in an abyssal dungeon called Tartarus. Cronus freed them after he usurped Uranus but he later returned them to Tartarus where they were guarded by a half-woman half-dragon creature called Campe. The brothers were freed by Zeus (Cronus’ son) and in return, they made him lightning bolts which were used to defeat Cronus.

The three brothers also made Poseidon’s trident, Artemis’ bow and arrows of moonlight and Hades’ helmet of darkness which was given to Perseus during his quest to kill Medusa. Despite the fact that they made a bow and arrows of sun rays for Apollo, he killed at least one of the brothers as vengeance for the death of his son Aesculapius.

 

References:
http://www.mindat.org/min-42369.html
http://www.mindat.org/min-39208.html
http://www.handbookofmineralogy.org/pdfs/brontesite.pdf
http://www.mindat.org/min-38692.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arges_(cyclops)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclops
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Kyklopes.html

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