B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
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16:35:34 Fri
Nov 18 2011
B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Hi folks

Something different. We also know what carbon is, heck we are made of it, and we burn it too at coal or gasoline. As an element its crystalline forms are extremes - tough DIAMOND and greasy GRAPHITE. There is another form of carbon, non-crystalline, blackish. Known as shungite. Its found in NW Russia and has a number of uses - and takes a nice polish.

Has anyone seen Shungite in North America?

Shungite seems to be Precambrian oil shales from algae, and resists crystallising into graphite even in metamorphic regions. Shungite is AMORPHOUS carbon (albeit sometimes containing 'buckeyball' crystals of carbon).

That's weird, but it gets weirder.

Being amorphous carbon that refuses to turn into graphite, shungite has sometimes the property of metallurgical coking coal (although it isn't coal). Therefore it is theoretically possible to get rather large volumes of shungite rock (shungite 15-40%) in daft locations where metallurgical coal itself cannot be (no forests in the Precambrian).

So Precambrian can contain METALLURGICAL COKE SUBSTITUTE. This is currently being tested in NW Russia.

Anyone got an angle/idea on this?

Only madcap geologists would look for coke substitute in slate and shist in the Precambrian, but that xactly what I am doing.

That's coke-substitute in them thar' hills.

Blackish rock in Precambrian that looks as black as coal but refuses to burn, but produces execellent coke.

There is a world shortage of coking coal, especially metallurgical coking coal, but we seem to be finding a lot of coke-substitute in the Precambrian.

Worth looking at a few maps?


20:42:14 Fri
Nov 18 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Tis interesting. Too bad there aren't any precambrian rocks around here unless a few odd pieces made it into the McHugh Complex (melange in the Chugach terrane).

Supposedly some large areas of late precambrian and early paleozoic north of the Alcan between Tok and Fairbanks.

You stated 15-45% shungite. What are the other constituents? Limestone/dolostone derived marble or some weird quartzite from diatomaceous earth (opal). That it was probably derived from algae would seem to infer the other constituents would be organic and minor rock-derived sediments. Have to be minor in order for the carbon content to be so high.

This is Doctor Frazer Crane and I'm listening. Oops, might not get the TV show over there in Asia. I'm interested.

00:39:20 Sat
Nov 19 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Welcome back Steppe, I also am listening. Stay Safe.

04:06:32 Sat
Nov 19 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Leave it to Robin to find something really "different".

Great to see you posting again Robin - keep up the good work!


04:14:46 Sat
Nov 19 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Hi again - its good to be back on the Forum.

Here are some records of schungite by Russian geologists decades ago:

1: grey to dark-grey banded dolomitic marbles, with thin (0.13.0 cm) intercalations of carbon-quartz schists and fine-grained quartzites.
The marbles consist mainly of:
dolomite (5595%),
quartz (up to 40%),
tremolite (up to 15%),
biotite (up to 2%), actinolite, shungite, muscovite, tourmaline, rutile, apatite and titanite.
The contents of biotite increase and the content of shungite decreases upwards.

2: brown-grey calcareous-biotite and calcareous-quartz-biotite schists, with intercalations of fine breccias, marbles, carbon-quartz schists and fine-grained quartzites.
The schists contain:
variable amounts of quartz (50%),
biotite (up to 40%),
sericite (to 40%),
calcite (up to 10%),
plagioclase, rutile, apatite, titanite, scapolite, shungite and garnet.

3: Marbles composed of:
dolomite (8595%),
quartz (up to 11%),
biotite, muscovite, rutile, apatite, tourmaline, and rarely shungite.

4: Black, fine-grained, thin-banded, carbon-quartz schists with intercalations of marbles. It varies in thickness between 458 m and contains the following minerals:
quartz (1050%),
shungite (550%),
dolomite (up to 40%),
biotite and muscovite (up to 35%),
plagioclase (up to 10%), rutile and apatite.

15:50:51 Sat
Nov 19 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
A couple of thots. Dolomitic limestone is used in steel production. Lotsa dolomite in those descriptions. Contact the raw materials suppliers for mills.
Perhaps chase down some anthracite suppliers. Eastern Pennsylvania once, and still may, supply some to industry.
These are suggestions untainted by either knowledge or experience. Somtimes ya gotta look outside the orebin.


16:52:25 Sat
Nov 19 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Well steppe, you did it. Got me doing a web search and wow!

According to a passel of retailers, shungite is the best thing to hit the natural health care field in, well like forever.

I saw 300 gram packets of shungite pebbles advertised for $25USD.

PT Barnum pretty well summed it up.
I noticed all the different samples were schists and only #4 had much shungite content and deposit thickness.

I would assume that small scale mining is already taking place to feed this natural health craze.

14:54:08 Tue
Nov 22 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to study shungite-like materials from the Kipushi Mine (D.Rep.Congo). The ores are mainly composed of Cu with noteworthy amounts of Ge and Ga. Shungite is present as a binding medium, sometimes concentrated as kg-masses. It's very brittle,shiny, and easy to polish. Reflect. light microscopy shows the presence of microscopical organites, displaying peculiar spiral features. Such organites are absent from the Karelian shubgite pieces that I have studied in parallel.

Katanga shungite was discovered and characterized quite lately in the mine's life, the more that it is unconspicuous on a hand specimen. This could happen elsewhere.

(Francotte, J. et Jedwab, J.: Traces d'organites (?) dans la shungite de Kipushi. Bull.Soc.Belge Geol., 1963, 72, 393-398.)

08:52:40 Wed
Nov 23 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Yahoo, it is a party,
:welcome: back Steppe, really, :smile:.

18:49:41 Thu
Dec 1 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Hi Dredger, its great to be back aboard. I don't get much time to post at present as I'm in Afghanistan, pondering stratiform copper (|Neoproterozoic), stratiform iron ([pre-Devonian, perhaps Neoproterozoic) and chromite (in Eocene obducted oceanic crust, mebbe top of mantle - :gonetoofar:smile:. And indeed SHUNGITE.

Now here is a pointer to find shungite.

1: Ignoring NW Russian shungite (e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y old) most of the world's shungite seems to be Neoproterozoic (Neo=new, protero=early, zoic=life), a big slice of time followed by the Precambrian where decent fossils appear. Earlier life was indecent as the creatures were naked without proper hard parts. (Steppe, this is a family thread, Ed). Ooops sorry.

2: Within the Neoproterozoic the shungite seems to be below Dredger's Aussie iffy fossils that define the EDIACARIAN PERIOD (including British Charnia trace fossils too).

3: To cut to the chase, the shungite is somehow in the widespread sequence that contains up to 3 tillites - evidence of strong glaciations, possibly with ice caps across much of the world. You might of heard of SNOWBALL EARTH, but now watered down by skeptics to SLUSHBALL EARTH. The ice caps did not cover the whole planet and there was some open water.

4: Associated with the shungite and the tillites are stromatolites - masses of calite and dolomite precipitated by green algae and photosynthetic bacteria. (Sounds like slimeballs eh? Ed) Could be...

5: This pre-Ediacaran time interval is known as the Cryogenic.

So, if you have tillites + stromatolites then please have a look for SHUNGITE.

Here in Afghanistan, we've got the SHUNGITE and the stromatolites and now we need to find the tillites to dot the eyes and cross the teas.

Anyone ever seen a TILLITE or a STROMATOLITE?

cheers for now

20:57:34 Thu
Dec 1 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
There are some pictures on the web of a deposit of living stromatolites off the north(?) coast of Australia.

I would be curious if the tillites were really just part of flysch. This would explain the presence of stromatolites and tillites as strata. (Is the strata high angle indicating intense folding and consequently higher metamorphism?)

The stromatolites would be someplace to look for economical deposits of metaliferrous minerals if there was the presence of faulting in the area. Just my thoughts, but faulting (and the fissuring that comes with faulting) provides a weak zone for intrusions in the form of veins.

Combine the carbonates with shungite (carbon) and you would have the regime for gold (and other metals) deposition by ionic replacement similar to stripping leachants of gold.

Just my thoughts. We are faced with attempting to reconstruct what happened over beaucoup centuries/eons by looking at the results today. The first step to finding the answers is asking the right questions. I wish I knew what questions to ask. I don't feel so bad when I notice that exploration geologists have the same problem.

Thanks for the info Steppe and keep it coming. There is every possibility that new info could fill in the blanks in our knowledge base that might result in finding new economic mineral deposits and how to exploit them.

I'm betting that the interface (Himalayas) between the Indian sub-continent and Asia contains some of the largest mineral deposits on starship Earth.

09:49:04 Fri
Dec 2 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Katanga (DRC) late precambrian shows indeed a combination of tillites, shungite and stromatolites. The Kipushi Cu-deposit (where the shungite is found) is not a stratiform one, but has more of intrusive characters. I don't think warranted to focus on the presence of shungite as a prospecting thread, but more generally on the superposition/alternation of oxidized and reduced strata + unconformities (cf. "Unconformity-related Cu-Co- PGM-Au-U deposits" = Cox and Singer Model 37a).


19:58:45 Sat
Dec 3 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Hi Jedwab, you make excellent points.

In particular, while shungite is fascinating in its own right - it takes a good polish and it might have a role as a substitute for metallurgical coke - shungite is not really crucial as a metal prospecting tool.

That said, pottering over late Precambrian rocks I have overlooked not only shungite (amorphous carbon) but also missed tillites (glacial deposits) and stromatolites (carbonate precipitates of algae/bacteria). Recognising these and mapping them are important for correlating the host rocks of the metals, and in showing which metal deposits are regionally or locally stratiform, or not.

As you point out, the Cox and Singer Model 37a is indeed a good one and is the most important worldwide for this important category of metal deposits.

However a role for shungite has been postulated for the Kipushi Mine:
"Whatever the origin of the fluids, their salinity and the metals, their uniformly high Ba (and ore metal) content together with the absence of barite and the occurrence of Ba silicates at Kipushi indicates that sulfide mineralization occurred when the metal-bearing fluids encountered a reducing, H2S-rich reservoir. The ubiquitous presence of preexisting, metamorphosed carbonic material (shungite) in the sulfides and host rock, and a sulfur isotope signature of the ores in agreement with thermogenic sulfate reduction, suggests that this condition was likely created due to the high initial reduced-carbon content of the host rocks at Kipushi, which seems to be exceptional in the copper belt. Therefore, we postulate that a critical factor in the formation of major, vein-type Zn-Cu mineralization was the presence of a hydrocarbon-rich facies of the lower Nguba carbonates at Kipushi.
Wouter Heijlen, David Banks, Philippe Muchez, Bo M. Stensgard and Bruce Yardley (2008).
The Nature of Mineralizing Fluids of the Kipushi Zn-Cu Deposit, Katanga, Democratic Repubic of Congo: Quantitative Fluid Inclusion Analysis using Laser Ablation ICP-MS and Bulk Crush-Leach Methods. Economic Geology - Journal.
Abstract: http://econgeol.geoscienceworld.org/content/103/7/1459.abstract

Assuming this role for shungite is broadly correct - and the evidence is not wholly convincing - then I suggest shungite may have had TWO roles:
(i) shungite as a H2S-rich reservoir able to trap migrating metals (as proposed in the article)
(ii) maybe also as a metal carrier if - a BIG IF - the shungite origin was indeed metamporphosed biogenic oil
than migrated into a suitable reservoir in a oil trap structure (e.g. dome, anticline, fault block or indeed a stratiform reservoir).

The question is, was the shungite ever oil that migrated into an oil reservoir that would also be a trap for metals, or was the shungite simply passive as an oil shale?

Is it possible to distinguish between (i) and (II)? Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.



04:59:49 Sun
Dec 4 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Looks like there is a burgeoning market. And well I want some!

Just adding a little color...

05:18:34 Mon
Dec 5 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Fridge Magnets! http://shungit-store.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=25&Itemid=53&lang=en

09:45:45 Wed
Dec 7 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Hi OvertheEdge

Just a smidgin of info on this and that...

'tillites' is the name given to VERY old 'till', the crunched, milled and sheared rock and clay that was turned into 'rock flour' and smeared by glaciers and ice sheets over the landscape, even sea-bed. Apart from them thar erratics, rocks dubbed erratics cos they are far from home, having been ripped from the bedrock and dumped metres, tens of metres or tens of kilometres away - ain't no right to be there. We had some huge erratic boulders dumped by ice sheets after they had been trundled from the Lake District mountains and left by the ice sheets 14,000 years ago as a joke in what-was-to-be-Manchester. Slotting a new sewer pipe into stiff 'till' is a piece of cake until your crew hits summat worse than a brick wall - a buried erratic of andesite, rhyolite or adamellite granite; wider than your tunnel. The city parks now have these erratic boulders on display, as big as a car, but of solid rock; too big to put on a normal truck but hey great for a 'feature' in the local park.

Where was I.... ...yup so 'tillite' is till (plus erratics too) that is from glaciations in the far past - Precambrian, Cambrian, Ordovician comes to mind. Apart from being interesting in their own right, tillites are V-E-R-Y useful as time markers (stratigraphic control horizons) in the Precambrian when life was rife but heck only at microbug level - algae, bacteria ans such-like so fossils are as rare as rockin' horse sh....

Stomatolites break this rule. Primitive photosynthetic and chemosynthetic algae and bacteria, and things that are in the taxonomic wilderness between algae and bacteria (so-called blue-green algae that can also be called blue-green bacteria), like living slime that thrives in water turning sunshine into er, more slime. I jest not, these were the DOMINANT form of life aeons ago, and built small, medium and truly MASSIVE rock reefs in shallow seas. No fish, not even a trilobite or snail in them thar seas as not 'invented' just then. The photosynethic slime, acting in mindless unison, struggled for a place in the sun for they would die in the shade, and to get up in that thar sunshine the slime precipitated perches of solid rock - carbonate rock made up of tens of billions of tons of calcite and dolomite crystals. Today these are Precambrian limestones and dolomites, left behind as reefs of limestone and marble. Some of these truly ancient reefs are tiny, others as big as a truck and some are as big as an ocean liner. If you are lucky, or search for long enough then you can find the fancy shaped thin layers of carbonate left by the efforts of the slime.

And the shungite? Well its amorphous carbon, its all a bit unclear, but it seems the shungite is ORGANIC in origin. That being so, its way too old to be from coal (trees not invented then..) but a shallow sea or lake would be the ideal resting place for trillions of dead bits of algae and bacteria - so long ago that animals were new guys on the block, and were still INEFFICIENT at grazing the live veggy slime and hadn't figured out how to be high-tech worms for eating the dead veg that littered the floors of lakes and shallow seas.

Are stromatolites growing today? Yes but are no longer masters of the shallow sunlit seas and lakes, thriving ONLY in those extremes were animals fear to tread - extremely salty, extremely high alkalinity, extremely high acidity, extremely toxic something-or-other such as hydrogen sulfide, heavy metals etc. For example, Sharks Bay in Australia which is too salty for sea snails, and so the stromatolites can grow without fear of being lunch.

That's enough for one post.

Waiting for a connection in Beijing airport,


17:31:01 Wed
Dec 7 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Ha Ha the jokes on me!

The stone of life is associated with this.


All above my head except being able to read it.

Besides their is more of a chance of copper finding you rather than you finding copper. Them thar hills are dangerous.

22:12:08 Sun
Dec 25 2011
Re: B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
Ah-hah! I found Shungite, copper and cobalt! 8% copper, richer than Anyak! It's in them thar hills south of the Brooks near the Shungnak R. But ol'Rhiney beat me to it. Just gotta pay attention to the clues! I ain't giv'n it all away though....


B&B something different - Shungite in them thar hills.
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