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Mookaite Colourful Variety of Jasper

eight tumbled mookaite crystals

Mookaite Correctly Known as Windalia Radiolarite

Mookaite which can be an exceptionally colourful stone is a variety of jasper that can only be found in Australia.  Used as a decoraitve material and for its healing properties, it takes on a high polish and when used as a gemstone is shaped as a cabochon.

Made up predominantly of the microscopic remains of minute aquatic organisms called radiolaria, the correct name for mookaite is windalia radiolarite.  The radiolaria measured 0.1 to 0.2 millimetres in size and produced intricate mineral skeletons but as ancient oceans receded they gradually died out and their skeletal remains slowly transformed into sedimentary rock.  Although many different varieties of radiolarite can be found around the world, windalia can only be found in one location in Australia.



Mookaite Mined and Named After Mooka Creek

Although named locally after the area where this colourful jasper is found, the name mookaite has never been officially registered.   It's believed according to locals to come from the aboriginal word "mooka" meaning "running water".  The mookaite deposit is located on private land in Mooka Creek on Mooka Station which was once a sheep farm to the west side of the remote Kennedy Range National Park.  This is the only place in the world where mookaite jasper can be found.

Although often called "mookite" the correct way to pronounce the name of this jasper stone is "mooka~ite" because it was named after Mooka Creek.  Rocks and minerals that have been named after people, locations or anything else that may be associated with it are often given the suffix "ite".  The mineral sugilite was named after Professor Kenichi Sugi, haematite is named after "haema" the Greek word for blood, sodalite is named because of its high sodium content and labradorite is named after the coast of Labrador in Canada.  My favourite name is the mineral Englishite which just like mooka~ite  should be pronounced English~ite but rarely ever is. 

Many articles online refer to mookaite by different names all of which strangely, are very similar.  Some of these include mookalite, mook, mookerite and mook jasper.

Although frequently referred to as a mineral mookaite is in fact a rock because like most varieties of jasper, it's made up of several different minerals and substances.  The colours in the stone are caused primarily by the presence of iron and manganese and along with precious opal, it's one of Australia's best known gemstones.

On Mohs scale of mineral hardness mookaite grades 6 to 7 which means it's relatively hard but it's also brittle so will break or fracture quite easily.  The hardness of rocks and minerals is often confused for toughness but the two characteristics are very different.  Hardness relates a stone's resistance to scratching whereas toughness (correctly known as tenacity) is the way it reacts to stress meaning how easily it breaks, cracks or bends for example.     



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