The development and preservation of mineral collections from Tuscan occurrences for research, education, and public exhibitions is one of the missions of the Natural History Museum of the Pisa University. The regional collections are composed by a total of 8238 specimens, representing about 42% of the total mineralogical collections. The Monte Amiata collection, formed by 171 specimens, is one of the smallest among the regional collections. Several specimens are accompanied by old hand-written labels dating back to the period of activity of Prof. Antonio D’Achiardi (1839-1902) and were described by this author in his Mineralogia della Toscana (D’Achiardi, 1872/73). The specimens belong to three different groups: i) minerals from the Plio-quaternary hydrothermal ore deposits, ii) minerals related to the volcanic rocks of the Monte Amiata, and iii) specimens formed through the action of silica-rich waters. The first group is representative of one of world-class Hg ore deposits of Monte Amiata (e.g., Rimondi et al., 2015). The mining activity definitively ceased at the end of 1970s and since then the opportunity to collect new specimens has progressively decreased. Consequently, old specimens kept in public or private mineralogical collections are useful for the study of the mineralogy as well as the ore geology of the Monte Amiata. The collection preserves several specimens of cinnabar representive of its different kinds of occurrence in the mining district. Moreover, accessory minerals are present, such as metacinnabar, realgar, orpiment, and stibnite. The occurrence of the high T cubic polymorph of HgS is particularly interesting because its presence was not reported so far in literature. The recent study of some specimens kept in the collection of the Natural History Museum led to the full characterization of metacinnabar from the hydrothermal Hg ores from Monte Amiata. Minerals related to the volcanic rocks have a particular historical importance, having been collected in the first half of the XIX Century. For example, several loose crystals of sanidine were collected by the naturalist Giorgio Santi (1746-1822). Santi (1795) described (and probably collected) also specimens of “fiorite”, a variety of opal from Santa Fiora. These specimens, together with samples of diatomaceous earths, form the third group of specimens constituting the Monte Amiata collection. In conclusion, the collection is the proof of the mining exploitation carried out in the Monte Amiata area and it has a great historical importance in housing several specimens collected between the end of the XVIII and the beginning of the XIX Century. In this way, the collection is important not only from the scientific point of view but also from an educational perspective, illustrating the evolution of the scientific knowledge and the birth of the mineralogical school at the Pisa University.
|Titolo:||Monte Amiata: the mineralogical collection of the Natural History Museum of the Pisa University|
|Anno del prodotto:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.2 Abstract in Atti di convegno|