Colour and texture in quartz with copper minerals

Beautiful green-blue stained rocks are frequently found in stone walls at Bunmahon in southern Ireland. The small  village was at one time home to a successful copper mining industry. The copper is thought to have formed 354 million years ago at the beginning of the Carboniferous Period but possibly even earlier. The village is now the centre of the Copper Coast GeoPark and has a lovely roadside rock garden illustrating the geological history of the area. The copper mineral chalcopyrite (copper-iron sulphide) occurs as veins in white crystalline quartz and alters to copper carbonate forms such as green malachite and blue azurite.  Weathered stones show these colourful blue-green variants of the mineral, with the rusty patches representing the iron component. Stones of this composition are found in walls all around the area.

6 Replies to “Rocks with Copper at Bunmahon”

  1. Beautiful Jessica. I’ll have to take a closer look the next time I’m down – I’ve stopped in that area but never noticed the copper stained rocks before.

  2. I saw and photographed the painted standing stone so I’ll have to be more attentive the next time – the standing stone must have taken all my attention!

  3. That would be the “Ice, Fire, and Water” sculpture by Colette O’Brien that looks so imposing as you enter the village. I think Bunmahon must be a great area to explore further. The Copper Coast Geo Park visitor centre was closed when I visited but they are a very active part of the community and, according to their Facebook page, always seem to be holding new events and exhibitions.

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