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Septarian Nodule Properties, Facts and Photos

round septarian nodule filled with yellow calcite crystals. On a black background

1. Septarian Meaning & Geology
2. Septarian Nodule or Concretion?
3. How Septarian Nodules Form
4. Moeraki Boulders
Septarian Healing Properties
6. Article Photos
7. Shop Septarian

Septarian Meaning and Geology

The meaning of 'septarian' comes from the Latin word 'septum', which means a dividing partition between two tissues or cavities.

In anatomy, the 'septum' is the cartilage in the nose that separates one nostril from the other.

Septarian, correctly known as a septarian nodule or concretion, is distinctive, takes on a high polish and is classed as a rock, not a mineral.

Septarian nodules are made up primarily of three different minerals.  The yellow crystals are calcite, the brown lines are aragonite or siderite and the outer shell is limestone.

Septarian is sometimes likened to a prehistoric mud ball because of how it formed.

Septarian Nodule or Concretion?

Although often known simply as septarian, the correct name for this geological structure is septarian nodule or concretion.

In geology, nodules and concretions are quite similar hence the words tend to be used interchangeably.

A nodule is a small, irregularly shaped mass or lump of crystals or particles with a contrasting composition.  That means they're not all the same and may even be separated from the formation in which they occurred.

A concretion is a self-contained cemented body of sediment.  The word concretion comes from the Latin meaning 'to grow together' or 'to harden'.

Despite being quite common, concretions are often considered a geological curiosity.  This is because of the many unusual shapes, sizes and compositions in which they occur.

septarian nodule in the Natural History Museum London

How Septarian Nodules Form

Septarian formed during the Cretaceous Period, which began approximately 145 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago.  That's around the time the dinosaurs disappeared.

Septarian nodules formed beneath the water as minerals and organic matter accumulated around a centre mass.  Gradually, over millions of years and with the help of various geological processes the mass hardened and cemented together to form a nodule.

The minerals are likely to have included sandstone, which is compacted grains of sand, shale, which is compacted mud and siltstone and limestone which are primarily calcium carbonate.

The mineral aragonite is the crystalline form of calcium carbonate.  This chemical compound occurs naturally in rocks most notably as limestone.

Siltstone is fine-grained silt, sand, clay or other materials carried in water before being deposited as sediment. 

Septarian nodules may have formed in shallow lakes as the tide caused an accumulated mass to roll gently back and forth.  Over time, with the addition of new layers of sticky mud, the size of the mass increased.  During the hot summer months, as the water receded, the mud dried out causing it to crack. 

The newly formed structures then became buried under sediment.  The cracks slowly filled through seepage with a coarse crystalline substance such as silica (quartz) or calcite from the shells of dead marine creatures.

The crystals which later formed are the bright yellow centres of the septarian nodule.  A thin wall of calcite was also transformed into aragonite or siderite separating the heavy clay exterior from the crystallised centre.

three polished septarian nodule spheres

The exterior of the septarian nodule was hard with a network of ridges, but the interior contained distinctive angular cavities or cracks.  These became known as 'septaria' from the Latin 'septum'.

The cracks are believed to have been caused by the dehydration and shrinkage of clay.  Some geologists suggest they may be from the expansion of gases generated by decaying organic matter in the centre of the nodule.  They may also have been caused by fracturing or shrinkage caused by earthquakes or compaction.

Regardless of how they formed, they subsequently filled with hardened natural minerals as groundwater changed and receded.  The minerals in the vast majority of cases were silica or calcite. 

Describing precisely how septarian nodules form is not easy.  There are many different views and interpretations.  Numerous questions remain unanswered and it's an ongoing topic of debate among geologists.  The general formation process however is one that's relatively common in sedimentary rocks.

Large Septarian Concretions | Moeraki Boulders

The Moeraki Boulders are large grey-coloured septarian concretions.  They can be found on a stretch of coastline in New Zealand.

The boulders, buried for millions of years beneath mudstone, began to appear because of erosion from coastal cliffs.  In years to come more will likely emerge from the mudstone as geological changes continue to reshape the landscape.

The largest septarian concretions are estimated to have taken about four million years to reach their current size.

Almost identical spherical boulders can be found close to Hokianga Harbour on the North Island.  Similar concretions can be found in many countries around the world.

The Moeraki boulders are famous primarily because of their spherical shape and size.

Large spherical stone structures on the beach. Known as the Moeraki Boulders

Septarian Healing Properties

The healing properties of septarian are associated with taking care of the planet.  Septarian has a close bond with the Earth so it's an excellent grounding stone.

Septarian brings deep balancing energy through the root chakra.  It can help you understand things about life or the planet that you may have struggled to fully understand previously.

It harmonises emotions with intellect, creates new ideas and the enthusiasm to follow them through.  It breaks repetitive routines or patterns of behaviour, improves patience and increases tolerance and endurance.

Septarian is a joyful, emotionally nourishing, and calming stone. It can support public speakers and help improve communication within a small group.

It's used in crystal healing as a tool for nurturing and showing care for others.  The healing properties of septarian are exceptionally powerful.   It's often used to help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Septarian can help you understand your feelings and emotions. It teaches the importance of learning about yourself and to appreciate qualities that are unique to you. 

The ancient energies of septarian can be used to cleanse the aura.  This helps eliminate feelings and emotions you no longer need and which are likely to be holding you back.  Cleansing the aura is believed to help the physical body breathe more easily.

When used in meditation, septarian takes you on a journey into the past.  It helps you look back in a more positive manner at events in your life that weren't so great.  Deeply buried feelings and emotions can then be gently released as you observe the events from a third-person perspective.

Septarian can also be used to enhance and protect during astral journeys.

The metaphysical healing properties of septarian are highly personal and subjective. People may experience different benefits based on their own beliefs, experiences and intentions.

Septarian can be used for its healing properties in different ways. Healing with crystals should always be approached with an open mind.

Crystals are beautiful naturally occurring materials that everyone can enjoy.  Regardless of intended use, they can bring immense pleasure and fulfilment for a variety of reasons.

Article Pictures

The picture of the septarian nodule at the top of our article, and the aragonite in the pop-up photo are both courtesy of Stan Celestian. 

The piece in the second picture is displayed in London's Natural History Museum.  The septarian polished spheres are from our collection.  Both photos were taken by Stone Mania.

All pictures are clickable and redirect to the original image.

The third photo redirects to an amazing photograph of the Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island.

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