Fluoro-richterite Mineral Specimens from Wilberforce, Ontario, Canada

by Michael Walter


                 Fluoro-richterite                                     Fluoro-richterite                                         Fluoro-richterite in Calcite                                                             Phlogopite


Fantastic specimens containing large crystals, in matrix and right along site the road! How could that be? Ontario, Canada boasts numerous site such as this. The one I will describe here also has a unique mineral called fluoro-richterite. It may sound exotic but simply stated it is a member of the discredited hornblende family that is quite rare. In fact, for many years this location has been noted as the only location in the world where this mineral can be found (not actually true).  Not being a geochemist I can not speak to this but I can certainly comment on the wonderful specimens that can be recovered from this roadside mineral site.

Several miles outside the town of Wilberforce, Ontario, Canada is a calcite deposit which contains superbly formed crystals of fluoro-richterite. These opaque black crystals are scattered about within this flesh colored massive calcite. The crystals can get quite large, up to several inches in length and are usually well formed and terminated. Here is a good look at the typical crystal form for the fluoro-richterite crystals...


A superb fluor-richterite mineral specimen in the collection of Mike Walter.    Here is a killer specimen with many fluoro-richterites in calcite.

Almost as popular as the fluoro-richterite crystals are the smaller crystals of phlogopite mica that also occur at the site. These terminated books can be translucent when viewed with good back light. Their color then appears to be a wonderful red. Well formed, small crystals can have a fantastic red glow uncommon to this species of mica. Here are a couple of images that demonstrate this.  The one in this pages header is one of the best I have seen.


A phiologopite that could be in your collection.                Another philogopite that is for sale.

Collecting at this road cut can be great or poor depending on the methods you use. Lots of work is usually required because the easy pickings are long gone. The soil can produce specimens but the calcite produces the best material. This calcite is nothing short of bullet proof. Even drilling and sawing the rock will only produce mixed results. I have had days here that were a bonanza and others when I basically got skunked. If you do you might be happily surprised by your results. Bring your heavy tools and be prepared to work. Stop by the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce for directions to this and other sites in the immediate area. Good luck.


A simple termination.                More complex terminations such as this one are common.    Terminations can be simple or complex.