Martinique is the most active volcanic island in the Caribbean. There have been 20 recorded eruptions. The rocks found on Martinique are basalts, andeosites, and quartz containing dacite.
The geothermal activity on Martinique results in heated water and a hot spring.
Mt. Pelee is the volcano that is believed to have formed much of the island and stands almost 1400 meters high. Mt. Pelee has a well documented eruption composition that has resulted in andesitic lava flows.
The stones found on Martinique are varied and beautiful.
Types of Rocks On Martinique
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.
The beautiful green olivine is a rare beautiful crystal that can sometimes be found on Martinique. The pure crystal is called peridot and it is very rare, but finding stones with incorporated olivine are more common.
You may find translucent olivine crystals embedded in basalt or in lava flows.
Olivine basalt has even been collected on the moon.
Olivine is a magnesium iron silicate that is abundant in the earth’s crust.
Olivine is generally bright green, but may turn reddish as the iron oxidizes. Olivine is known to weather quickly.
Basalt is an extrusive igneous rock, which means it has been formed by the hardening of lava. Most volcanic rock is basalt. Basalt has been taken from the moon and returned to earth.
Basalt is a fine grained stone with an uneven cleavage pattern. It should have a dark black or gray color and have no discernable chunks of stone or crystal embedded in it.
Basalt is a heavy rock that can sometimes have a green or reddish color depending on iron or nickel content.
Diamond Island, a popular tourist destination on Martinique, is completely composed of basalt.
Diamond Island is in a strategic naval position and it was important during the Napoleonic Wars in September 1803.
You are very likely familiar with pumice as it is often used cosmetically to smooth rough skin.
Naturally occurring pumice is very light in color and may be white, gray or even light blue.
Pumice is an extrusion volcanic rock made of rhyolitic lava and it is formed when high viscosity lava is pressurized before an eruption and then is extruded and quickly cools and depressurizes.
This makes the holes or bubbles that you will observe in the stone.
The presence of all the holes and bubbles in pumice is called porosity. The porosity of pumice is 64-85% meaning that it will float on water.
Sorica is a stone that can be mistaken for pumice, but it will sink when put in water. The difference between the two is the silica contents.
Pumice is a great stone to collect as it can be useful and it can range in color and porosity.
Hornblende is the name given to stones that form thin needle-like crystals. Hornblende is not the name of a particular mineral, rather the formation of the crystals.
Hornblende found in Martinique is a result of the high silica lava that formed Martinique.
Hornblende is generally a very hard stone that is dark brown to black in color and is generally part of a conglomerate with basalt or andesite.
These formations are long and straight when embedded in other stones.
Quartz is largely silica which is abundant on Martinique and there have been beads found on the island made of quartz for centuries.
Quartz crystals are very hard and are prized by collectors.
Quartz is a very hard stone and it can be identified by its glasslike glossy appearance and transparency.
Perfect quartz examples have a hexagonal shape and complete crystals are beautiful.
Quartz can be a variety of colors and the color will determine the name and value of the stone.
Zeolites are composed of silicone and aluminum. They are incredibly absorbent and they are manufactured for use in air filters, water softeners and cat litter.
Zeolite is a white crystalline substance that can be found cemented in other ignatius rocks.
Zeolite was first named when a stone was boiled and it was observed that it released a large amount of steam.
Baryte is a beautiful colorless or white crystal formation that is primarily made up barium sulfate.
Baryte is generally present in locations with hot springs. Martinique is home to several hot springs and the baryte can be found in the surrounding areas.
Baryte is generally found in limestone formations which are closer to the coasts on Martinique.
Marble is a heavy light colored stone that has dark veins running through it. Marble can be identified by its weight and smooth uniform texture.
The stone is not very hard and can be scratched with a knife.
Marble is formed by limestone that has been heated, so it is likely to be found all over the island. It would have been formed as the volcanic activity that formed the island pushed through the limestone that lines the seafloor in the warm Caribbean.
Collecting Rocks on Martinique
While it is legal to take rocks and shells from many parts of the island be sure to obey any posted signs or local rules.
Martinique is the home to several natural preserves and the rules may be different in these areas.
The natural preserves on Martinique include:
- Fonds Blancas
- Jardin de Balata
- Les Gorges de la Falaise
- Grand Anse d’Arlet
- Plage des Salines
Be careful to never disrupt any natural formations and do not collect any stones or shells that are supporting wildlife.
Rocks on Martinique
Martinique has a lot of beautiful stones that are impressive and easy to identify.
Martinique is also a very short distance from the US, making it a good destination for those interested in geology.
Gems and stone have been collected and polished and used for beads and other ornamental uses for hundreds of years.
There have been some beads discovered in an archaeological discovery of a burial site and it contained beads of amethyst, diorite, and marble.
Olivilate, quartz types and baryte are generally available for tourists to purchase polished, but they may be imported.
The high silica content in the lava that formed the island has created a great environment for the formation of high silica containing crystals.
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