Mookaites aka Radiolarites- are biogenic, marine, finely layered sedimentary rocks. The layers reveal an interchange of clastic mica grains, radiolarian tests, carbonates and organic pigments. Clay minerals are usually not abundant. Radiolarites deposited in relatively shallow depths can interleave with carbonate layers. Yet most often radiolarites are pelagic, deep water sediments.
Radiolarites are very brittle rocks and hard to split. They break conchoidally with sharp edges. During weathering they decompose into small, rectangular pieces. The colors range from light (whitish) to dark (black) via red, green and brown hues.
Radiolarites are composed mainly of radiolarian tests and their fragments. The skeletal material consists of amorphous silica (opal A). Radiolarians are marine, planktonic protists with an inner skeleton. Their sizes range from 0.1 to 0.5 millimeters. Amongst their major orders albaillellaria, ectinaria, the spherical spumellaria and the hood-shaped nassellaria can be distinguished.
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