By Ben Elick, CSMS Junior Member
This fluorite specimen was found outside of Cripple Creek, on the Shelf Road. These massive* specimens of purple fluorite can be found throughout a greater area, known as the Cripple Creek Mining District. The fluorite from the district can be found in massive form or in crystalline form, with light to dark purple colors. This fluorite is often referred to simply as Cripple Creek fluorite because of its abundant presence in the district. Finding this fluorite while mining was often met with excitement, as gold-rich tellurium minerals form in veins near the purple fluorite. Purple fluorite was a likely indication of gold-bearing minerals, although fluorite specimens that did not contain gold-bearing minerals were considered worthless. Therefore, these specimens would commonly be discarded in the mine dumps along with the other waste rock.
Figure 2. View of the top of the fluorite specimen. Scale for size. Photo by Kaitlyn McGann.
* Massive - minerals found with no internal structure or habit
About the author: Ben Elick is a junior member of the CSMS and former Pebble Pup. He is now one of the instructors of the Pebble Pup and Earth Science program. He volunteers at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry and recently helped finish the digitization of the historic photos at the Cripple Creek District Museum.