Willem/Sophia dumps, Spekholzerheide, Kerkrade, Limburg, Netherlands

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When we visited the Anna in 2003 and 2004 the interesting parts of the dumps were carried away, so at the moment it's not possible to do interesting finds here unfortinately...


Some mineral pictures:

(pictures by Frank de Wit, Fred Kruijen & Thomas Witzke)


2004, with the RWTH Aachen for research purposes::

(text and pictures by Frank de Wit)

Let me start with the following:

It is forbidden to enter the Willem-Sophia dumps! We received permission after written request to look for minerals there for proper research, together with Fred Kruijen and Dr.Thomas Witzke (Mineralogist at the RWTH Aachen). The material will be analyzed by Thomas Witzke, and properly written down in an article in june 2003 in the Gea-magazine. We have enough material to give you, so please don't go there and enter illegally. You can get material from us.

After e-mailing with Drs.Ernst Burke (VU Amsterdam; Chairman (from 01-01-2003 of the Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (CNMMN) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA)):
From the "Procedures and Guidelines on Mineral Nomenclature 1998" - IMA Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names:
"Substances formed by combustion are not generally regarded as minerals. A contentious issue is the occurrence of substances in the combustion products of coal mines, waste dumps or peat bogs. The origin of a particular fire is often difficult to determine, and therefore the possibility of human intervention cannot be entirely eliminated, nor can the possibility of human artifacts contributing to the combustion products. It has therefore been decided that, as a general rule, products of combustion are not to be considered as minerals in the future."
So... what you can find at the Willem-Sophia are not minerals by IMA-definition.

And third for the fun part ;-) :
But they are nice ;-). Indeed, it is Sulphur (10%), Salmiak (85%), and Mascagnit, Boussingaultit, Hematit, Anhydrit, Hydroxylellestadit-Fluorellestadit, Mullit, Spinell, Magnesioferrit and Magnesian Fayalit (Analyses by Thomas Witzke).

The dumps are still burning undergroud, sometimes only 5 centimeters underground! (see the photo's). But after long rains everything's gone because the minerals 'solve in water'...

This locality is therefore similar with Kladno/Tsjechie, Chelyanbinsk/Ural, Ravat/Tadshikistan, Alsdorf/Aachen, Pattberg/Moers. The minerals are formed when hot gasses (containing SO2/SO3, HCl, NH3, CO2, CO, H2S etc), cool off near the surface and crystallize there; similar with fumarolic activity at vulcanoes.
Don't breath in those gasses, they burn your longs... they've at least eaten away my clothes!!

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