Original paper

Agate: a study of ageing

Moxon, Terry

Abstract

The degree of crystallinity in wall lining agates from host rocks of varying ages has been measured using X-ray powder diffraction. A plot of agate crystallite size vs log age of host rock shows a general increase in crystallite size with increasing age of the host rock. A regression line: size = 106 log host rock age + 211 was obtained. The SEM confirms that ageing produces a growth in the surface globulites and the development of plate edge-like structures within the white bands. This dynamic growth of the crystallites results in an increase in density. A high correlation between agate crystallite size and age of host rock shows that the formation of wall-banded agates is penecontemporaneous with the formation of the host rock. The determination of crystallite size in wall-lining agate allows either an estimation of the approximate age of the host rock or an identification of a known agate region.

Keywords

agatedatingsilicax-raygenesisdensity