Tory Hill, Titanite Twin Mineral Specimens, Near Wilberforce, Ontario, Canada


by Michael Walter

In the spring of 1997 I had an exciting experience while on a week long trip in the Wilberforce area of Ontario, Canada that reinforces how calcite can be an indicator of potential minerals

I had spent several days in the deep bush looking for new mineral exposures in the mineral rich region of Tory Hill. Having little success I took a short drive along one of the areas paved road and stopped at a spot which had been widened to allow for better visibility. This was not a fresh area of road construction. The spot had remained the same probably for decades. There was a 40 to 50 foot long section of ledge that was no greater than 2 feet high at it maximum. While walking this exposure it was easy to notice that many before had dug and chipped in search of minerals in this metamorphic rock. None of their leavings showed any potential so I almost left prematurely. Thankfully, however, I noticed a tiny seam of white calcite on a lower section of this ledge.

Pulling away some of the loose rock near this seam I could better inspect the calcite. Within it were tiny amphibole crystals and better yet tiny titanite crystals. I went to work with the heavy tools and soon had several large blocks of rock removed. To my surprise the seam began to widen from its initial width of about an inch to a healthy bulge of over two feet. Some of the calcite was rotted away while other areas within this bulge was fresh and solid in nature. Within this calcite and the rotted material I was able to recover some of the nicest titanite crystals I have ever found. The crystals ranged between one and six centimeters in length, all were double terminated floaters and best yet, all were twins.

In a period of three hours I had recovered five flats of specimens of which at least ten pieces were outstanding brown crystals almost totally exposed and standing off the fresh white calcite. Beautiful specimens found only due to the small exposure of calcite which betrayed their existence. I am sure many a group of rock hounds ate their lunch on that very section of rock without ever realizing the potential. I returned to this spot several times only to find that the calcite disappeared and no further specimens were to be found.



Front view of an exceptional titanite twin mineral specimen from Tory Hill, Ontario, Canada.  Matric on this specimen is calcite.  Front and back view of one of the better twins.    Back view shows twin plane on this mineral specimen.



A cluster of numerous titanites naturally etched form their calcite matrix.Front view of the same piece.

Front and side view of a 5 cm cluster.



A typical twin crystal from the find near Tory Hill, Ontario.Titanite twins in matrix.

Specimen on the left shows a close up of it's twin plane.  All these crystal specimens have this same characteristic but it shows poorly in most of the images.