Moss opal is a type of opal easily identified by its dark, streaky, moss-like inclusions. Another name for it is “dendritic opal”, dendrite meaning “tree” for their branching habit. These streaking marks are a class of minerals called hornblende. This opal specimen was mined from an Australian deposit where 95% of the world’s white opal supply is mined.
• The opal in these rocks can range from milky white to brown and even bright orange.
• Dendritic crystallization forms a natural fractal pattern. A 2-dimensional example of this is frost formation on a window.
• You can add this opal variety to your geology collection.
• Dendritic growth is an important area of ongoing research in material science. NASA has tested forming special materials in the microgravity of low Earth orbit using dendritic growth in metals.
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