MINERAL OF THE MONTH: August 2009 – Goethite

Goethite (pronounced: “Gertite”) forms by the oxidation of iron-rich deposits. It was named after the German multi-disciplinarian Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It usually occurs as massive, botryoidal or stalactitic formations and tends to be found in soil and other low-temperature environments. It is in the hydroxide group with a hardness of 5 to 5 ½ and is blackish brown, or reddish to yellowish brown. It is opaque and has an orange to brownish streak. The luster is usually dull, but can be shiny on the crystal faces.

Goethite has been used since prehistoric times for its use as a pigment. Evidence has been found of its use in paint pigment samples taken from the caves of Lascaux in Southwestern France, dating back over 16,000 years. It was first described in the scientific literature in 1806 for occurrences in the Mesabi iron ore district of Minnesota.

Goethite is found all over the planet, but the most significant deposits are found in England, Australia, Cuba, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee. It was also found by NASA’s Spirit Rover, providing strong evidence for the presence of liquid water on the planet Mars at some point in its geologic past.

The metaphysical properties of goethite are believed to help you to enjoy the journey in life. It inspires pragmatism with imagination, bringing energy to pursuits of discovery. It also is thought to enhance communication and to provide for intensified concentration. It can facilitate body-building and also be used in the treatment of disorders associated with the ears, nose, throat, intestines, veins, and esophagus.

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