|Smooching Beryl twin. Photo By Benjamin DeCamp|
An extremely rare gemstone that receives its red color from trace amounts of manganese. It is estimated that one crystal of red beryl is found for every 150,000 gem-quality diamonds.
Red beryl is a rare mineral because its formation requires a unique geochemical environment. First, the element beryllium must be present in large enough amounts to form minerals. Second, dissolved manganese must be present at the same time and location. Third, the correct geochemical conditions must be present for beryllium, manganese, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen to crystallize into red beryl. Fractures and cavities must also be available to serve as a space for the crystals to grow.
As the lava flow moved and cooled, fractures and cavities developed in the rock. These openings allowed superheated beryllium-rich water and gases to enter the formation. These were being released from a magma chamber that was degassing below.
At the same time, surface water was entering fractures above and moving downwards. It carried oxygen, manganese, aluminum, and silicon leached from the rocks above. Superheated water and gases from below encountered cool waters from above, which produced a change in geochemical conditions that triggered mineral crystallization within the fractures and cavities of the topaz rhyolite. This crystallization is thought to have occurred at temperatures between 300 and 650 degrees Celsius.
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