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Geology glossary

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agate

Minerals
Agate from Milos island, Greece
Agate from Milos island, Greece
Agate from Milos
Agate from Milos
Agate is a microcrystalline variety of quartz (silica), chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color.
Agate is a microcrystalline variety of quartz (silica), chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks but can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.

Colorful agates and other chalcedonies were obtained over 3,000 years ago from the Achates River, now called Dirillo, in Sicily.

The stone was given its name by Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher and naturalist, who discovered the stone along the shore line of the river Achates sometime between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.

Most agates occur as nodules in volcanic rocks or ancient lavas where they represent cavities originally produced by the disengagement of volatiles in the molten mass which were then filled, wholly or partially, by siliceous matter deposited in regular layers upon the walls. Such agates, when cut transversely, exhibit a succession of parallel lines, often of extreme tenuity, giving a banded appearance to the section. Such stones are known as banded agate, riband agate and striped agate.

Links:

  • Minerals from Milos, Greece

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