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2444 Views 4 Replies Last post: Mar 13, 2014 12:38 PM by paulrhewitt RSS
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Mar 13, 2014 9:29 AM

Curious Metal objects found on beach, help please

I found these two objects on a beach near Hastings.  They appear to be solid metal, appearance of shiny iron (and they smell ferric), they conduct electricity but are non magnetic and do not respond to a metal detector.  Specific gravity is 3.3.. On attached image, object 1 is 360 gms and object 2 is 400gms.


Although they were found within 50 yds of each other, object 1 is distinctly bronzy/brassy and object 2 rust coloured


I would love to know what they are and how they ended up on a beach.

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    Mar 13, 2014 10:16 AM (in response to paulrhewitt)
    Re: Curious Metal objects found on beach, help please



    I suspect they are eroded industrial waste, but let's not get ahead of the evidence...


    I wonder if the smell is actually sulphurous, suggesting a sulphide mineral.

    But the density is too low for pyrite/ iron/ many other metals or metallic minerals.


    I'm no expert on metal detecting equipment. What does the lack of effect imply?

    (I presume detectors are primarily electromagnetic decvices.)


    Please test for hardness and streak.

    That will enable me to shorten by shortlist of metals/minerals to suggest.



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        Mar 13, 2014 12:19 PM (in response to paulrhewitt)
        Re: Curious Metal objects found on beach, help please



        Curiouser and curioser...

        The association with the submerged forest may or may not be significant, but it certainly adds interest.

        The last photo seems to show surface detail that looks rather sedimentary.

        But I cannot fathom the fact that they conduct electricity yet don't register on your detector.


        Here's a list of metallic minerals in your density range (3.3+/-), with black(+/-) streak and being softish.


        Density (g/ml)   Mineral    Color   Hardness   Luster   Streak

        3.10 Rasvumite  black/brownish 4-5 Metallic  black/brownish

        3.18 Fluorannite  black/iron 3 SubMetallic gray black/iron

        3.31 Bartonite  brown/black 3.5 Metallic black brown/black

        3.38 Chaoite  gray/dark 1-2 SubMetallic  gray/dark

        3.42 Takanelite  gray/brownish 2.5-3 SubMetallic black/brown-gray/brownish

        3.46 Hauerite  gray/blackish 4 Metallic brown, reddish gray/blackish

        3.50 Bannermanite  black SubMetallic black, brownish-black

        3.54 Wicksite  black/bluish 4.5-5 SubMetallic greenish- black/bluish

        3.60 Julgoldite-(Fe+++)  black, deep lustrous 4.5 SubMetallic  black

        3.60 Julgoldite-(Fe++)  black 4.5 SubMetallic  black


        I would ignore 'lustre' since your specimens appear to have some oxidation.


        I have not investigated those, but as keywords in a Google search, they should work well.


        However, even if you find one or more that seem good fits, proving the ID will be tricky.

        I think you'll need to present the specimens for examination at a lab of some sort.

        If they came to me for ID, I'd have to:

        - thin section and study under a microscope (quite probably an ore microscope)

        - run a sample through a mass spectrometer

        - do chemical tests (eg. acid)

        - look into the electrical conductivity

        But don't actually send one to me (I live in Cyprus).

        In the first intance, contact the NHM directly, with a view to sending/taking it to them;



        But you can leave it a few days to see if somebody on NaturePlus sheds some light on the conundrum.



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