Surinam has rich mineral deposits and there are beautiful Surinamite, Kyanite, sandstone, gabbro, bauxite and precious metals.
Suriname’s most desirable rocks and minerals are found in the mountainous north and west area of the country.
The mining industry in Suriname focuses on gold, but they also export tin, copper, oil, and laterite.
Types of Rocks In Suriname
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This mineral was first discovered in the Bakhuis mountains in south western Suriname and given its name.
This mineral was hand picked by a pair of geologists who were planning to start a mining operation in the mountains.
It was originally believed to be blue sapphire, but after further microscopic study it was found to be a new Mg-Al silicate.
The stone is blue or green blue and transparent.
The mountain is located in the center of the Guiana Shield, so the discovery has been helpful in the overall study of this geological feature. The stone requires extremely high pressure to form.
The Guiana Shield makes up 90% of the area of Suriname and defines the geology of the region while the other 10% is the coastal regions.
It has since been found in Antarctica as well as in Suriname.
Another blue transparent mineral, Kyanite, is found in Suriname in the Guiana shield.
The beautiful long transparent crystals are formed at incredibly high pressure. They are most commonly blue, but can be white, blue, light gray and rarely pink or orange.
It is sometimes called cyanite referring to the common blue or cyan color.
It is an aluminum containing silicate.
The stone is sometimes used as a semi precious stone in jewelry and it is used industrially in porcelain plumbing and dishware.
Kyanite is found most often in quartz veins.
These crystals are striking and they are very useful to geologists as they indicate the level of metamorphism that has happened in a region.
Because of the known needed formation conditions it is sometimes used as an index mineral.
Kyanite is formed deep within the crust of the earth and is then pushed up close to the surface where it can be studied.
In Suriname there are large flat top mountains called tepui. These tepui are sandstone formations that formed after sections of the sandstone were eroded away leaving the large flat plateaus.
Sandstone found here is called quartz arenite and is made up of about 90% quartz and is formed when individual grains of sand have been cemented together through sedimentary action.
The sandstone here is unusually dense and dark in color. The stone is very smooth and dense.
The stone has been used for stone tools because of its strength and density.
The ecosystem of the tepui is unique and as a result they are home for many endemic animals and plants that can only be found in these unique environments.
Gabbro is a coarse grained rock that is formed when magma comes close to the crust of the earth, but is not expelled like in a volcanic eruption.
The slower cooling results in various color patterns and crystallization patterns. It is generally low in silica and contains iron.
The iron gives the rock a dark color.
Gabbro varies in color and texture, but it always has multiple colors and a coarse grained appearance.
Bauxite is a bright red, white or tan mineral that contains aluminum. It may contain other things like gallium, but it is most commonly colored by aluminum and iron.
It looks a lot like brick, but can become liquid when very wet.
Bauxite is found in the mountains and plateaus in northern Suriname.
Bauxite is mined extensively for aluminum.
The reserves of bauxite are being exhausted and recycling aluminum is recommended as a way to preserve the world’s bauxite reserves.
During the process of extracting aluminum, gallium is also isolated. This is a rare mineral that is mainly found in bauxite.
Laterite is another rock that contains iron and aluminum. The stone is red because of the iron content and forms in hot humid climates.
The stone is cut into blocks and used for architecture and monuments.
It can also be mined for aluminum.
Laterite is found in the mountains and plateaus in the mountainous northern region. The Bakhuis, Hok A Hin, Nassau and Lely mountains are all characterized by laterite and bauxite deposits.
This gives these mountains and plateaus a reddish brown appearance.
The granite in Suriname is found in the mountains in the northern part of Suriname. Rock hunters may find some interesting granite in these areas, but Suriname does not have large granite deposits.
Granite is a volcanic rock with a coarse grained rock that forms when magma is pushed close to the surface, but is not extruded to the surface. The coarse grained appearance is a result of the slower cooling process.
Suriname is actually a big importer of granite for construction and decorative purposes.
Rocks in Suriname
Many of the most interesting rocks to be found in Suriname are in the mountains, many of these areas have not been exploited by mining.
A railroad was built in the Bakhuis mountains, but was never utilized and the surinamite, kyanite and other minerals remain untouched in the area.
About 15% of Suriname is protected nature areas. These areas focus on preserving biodiversity and are concentrated in central Suriname and the rainforest areas there.
Suriname is considered the greenest country in the world and there are community and government programs aimed to preserve the title.
When collecting, always obey any posted signs and local laws to avoid fines and customs problems.
There is a growing eco tourism industry in Suriname and there is a popular resort, Bigi Pan Tourist Eco Lodge along the suriname river. The resort is peaceful and allows guests to enjoy the natural beauty of Suriname.
Tourists who hope to enjoy the natural beauty of Suriname may book river cruises to see more of the remote areas of the country.
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