Shamanite or North American Black Calcite
by Charles Alan Mark
The name Black Calcite has been applied from time to time to a dark gray to black variety of calcite in metalliferous ore deposits in the western United States. Most of the material shows curved, roughly rhombohedric, scalenohedral crystal structure,typical of calcite. The color is due to dispersed minute grains of carbon,so dispersed that they rarely show any relation to cleavage surfaces or outward crystal forms. This study has concentrated on one of these locations and the specific description of this mineral, chemical makeup, geologic and palynological research and findings that make Shamanite unique.
General Location and Geologic History
Studies have been made by numerous geologists since 1888, involving magniferous black calcite ore in a western mining district located within a broad arc extending from southern Colorado to southwest New Mexico, southern Arizona and southeast California . Areas of diseminated silver and manganese mineralization include the Creede and Silver Cliff districts of Colorado.
The location of this Shamanite deposit and the concentration of carbon as a color source, instead of manganese/silver, is within the general area known as the "Ancestral Rockies. Northern American black calcite was originally formed in a large Pre-Cambrian shallow sea that ranged from present western Canada to the southern part of the United States. The calcite formed on the beds of this shallow sea and contain microscopic Pre-Cambrian life forms that existed a few hundred million years before the uplift of two large mountainous islands, known to geologists as Frontrangia and Umcompahgria. This uplift formed approximately 300 mya during the Pennsylvanian era. These two mountains are located roughly within the current locations of the Front Range and San Juan Mountains. Both consist largely of Pre-Cambrian metamorphic rock forced upward through layers of limestone laid down in the shallow sea throughout the early and late Paleozoic.
Interpretations of modes of origin of mineral deposits are based upon the assemblages of the minerals, their mutual relations,the nature of the host rocks and relations to the host rocks. In summarizing, the black calcite deposits in carbonate rocks that determine mode of origin.
Factors of dating this material to determine age is done in the laboratory, using specific instruments such as Light Microscope and Scanning Electron Microscope . Under the light microscope, extremely thin sections of fossil bearing rock are cemented onto glass microscope slides and searched/scanned to discover tiny three-dimensionally petrified fossils entombed in the mineral matrix. This is a reliable technique.
One of the methods used in this study is "Palynological Maceration." A concentration of the fossils was prepared by disolving the rock in mineral acid. Acid-resistant organic walled fossils abundant in the resultant sludge-like material was then slurried onto a microscope slide for study.
Under the light microscope, forms were observed such as "Small Shelly Fossils" and "Acritarchs" -- single-celled planktonic algae (from the Greek word "Akritos",meaning confused or uncertain). The Acritarchs relation to living groups of algae are difficult to determine. The Acritarchs are abundant in offshore Pre-Cambrian shale deposits,so there is no doubt that they existed as floating phytoplankton in the ancient seas.
The "Small Shelly Fossils" that have been associated with early Pre-Cambrian epoch appeared after simple worm species -- and were subsequently followed by tiny simple shells,the so-called "Small Shell Fauna" of the earliest Cambrian or Manykian Age . This was followed by a more diverse group of shelly animals often referred to as the Tommotian Fauna . The relationships of Tommotian animals to living groups are not understood; but, it is likely that mollusks also evolved at this time. The Tommotian animals disappeared rather quickly and were followed by the "Cambrian Explosion" of modern groups of the last half of the Early Cambrian (Atdabanian Age). By the end of the early Cambrian (450mya), almost all of the modern phylla had evolved: mollusks, annelid worms, arthropods (including trilobites), echinoderms, and chordates.
"Small shelly fossils" were listed as first occuring 543 mya and increased diversity through time. Shamanite's unique variety of small shelly fossils were known as the "Kings of Creation" -- scattered beasties the size of a baby's toenail. The delciate spiral-shell fossils average 1-2 mm across; but, occasionally larger, more substantial variants occur.
Reference Sources and Scientific Footnotes.
The Ancient Life History of Earth: A Comprehensive Outline of the Principles and Facts of Paleontological Science, Henry Alleyne Nicholson,1876.
The spectacular fossil evident on the surface of Shamanite is Spirorbus carbonarius.
From Gordon Woods, Paleontologist with National Petrographic Services (NPS), on his study of Shamanite: "Amorphous looking to possibly 'infected' (bacterially or fungally degraded organics). There are opaque polygonal pieces with short extentions that are the remains of solid hydrocarbon-(bitumen). The slides contain several circular objects that are degraded acritarchs."
From Jeff Stein, Paleontologist with NPS, on his study of Shamanite - "The lack of any pollen/spore grains, including bisaccates, suggests that the sample is early Paleozoic."
Mineral Composition of Shamanite(tm) - North American Black Calcite
The mineral composition of Shamanite-North American Black Calcite, has been determined through laboratory examination using X-Ray diffraction by the Gemological Institute of America -- G.I.A.-Shane McClure,G.G., Lab Director at the Carlsbad,California, USA headquarters.
More examination of the Shamanite was done at Cannon Microprobe by Bart Cannon, Chief Analyst, at their materials characterization laboratory in Seattle,Washington, USA. Cannon used his principle instrument -- a customized ARL SEMQ electron microscope, for high sample throughput. Six real-time audio rate meters provide a Geiger counter-like response for any six elements to which the SEMQ's wavelength spectrometers are tuned; the instrument configuration s tailored for the mining industry's demands,and is well suited for analytical schemes required in the environmental, forensic and materials analysis fields.
Further examinations are being continued now at Cannon Microprobe.
Shamanite-North American Black Calcite
Formula : Ca (CO3) (end member)
Inclusions: Iron Hydroxides - Fe O2 *Rare Baryte- Ba So4
Pyrite - Fe S2 *Very Rare Zircon in Detrital Quartz- Zr Si O4
Euhedral Quartz - Si O2 *Very Rare Chalcocite- Cu2 S
* Rare Chlorite - (Mg,Fe,Al)6(SiAl)4 O10 Unidentified Potassium Aluminum Titanium Silicate
*Rare Orthoclase- K (Al Si 3 O8) Fine Grain Carbon- C
*Rare Strontianite- Sr Co3 Bitumen-A solid of viscous hydrocarbon material
*the term rare is used to denote widely scattered occurence.
Hardness : 3.5 - 4
Crystal Description : Rhombohedral holohedral(hexagonal scalenohedral)
Environment: Formed in ancient ocean,warm seas as sedimentary rock.Relocated through tectonic uplift 300 million years ago.
Luster : Vitreous
Color cause: Minute Carbon Particles
Color : Black, Brown, Grey, Grey Blue
Distinguishing Characteristics : contains small shelly fossils - ie. Spirorbus carbonarius, present on surfaces and throughout. also microscopic acritarchs which existed during formation.-Pre Cambrian 543+mya
Tests : Dissolves with bubbles in hydrochloric acid.
Acid resistant inclusions separate from calcite
Occurrences : RARE combination of minerals that formed in Pre-Cambrian. Through geologic upheaval and uplift , the material relocated from ancient ocean to high altitude location.
Only Known Source - a privately-owned alpine wilderness ranch in Colorado, USA. .
Access is difficult/prohibited.
Uses of Shamanite or North American Black Calcite
In 2005,a rare deposit of unusual Black Calcite, Shamanite, was discovered on privately-owned remote alpine property in the Rocky Mountains. After a year of careful geological research, this is now the only known deposit throughout the entire Rocky Mountain range and North America. The landowner has agreed to release small amounts of Shamanite in exchange for anonymity and maintaining secrecy about his ranch location, for obvious reasons.
Local Ancestral Puebloan cultures appear to have employed this Black Calcite/Shamanite in place of Jet or Obsidian for ceremonial carvings, amulets and bead jewelry. Verifying analysis of known Pre-Columbian artifacts from the Southwest is underway as of Autumn 2007.
In one known case, a 1920s Indian trader erroneously tagged this rare material Shamanite as "Jet", because of the natural appearance, ease of carving and lustrous black color. While Jet can be found in many areas of the Southwest and Canada, Shamanite/North American Black Calcite is very rare and sourced only at the alpine site.
North American Black Calcite material is velvety and dry in texture, and randomly contains tiny pyrites, marcasites, unusual crystal formations and spiralled Paleozoic Acritarchs or "Small Shelly Fossils". The material appears in a range of natural colors, including: black, smoky blue-grey, grey-brown and deep mocha brown. In the past century, one Southwestern tribe reputedly called the grey-brown variety of Shamanite TOHO -- (the Mountain Lion).
Once traded by prehistoric tribes, and now being reintroduced to contemporary artisans and medicine people in the Four Corners region, this lustrous rare material is trademarked/registered by us as Shamanite. Currently, only artists' sculptures, polished spheres, carved beads, pendants, polished tablets, rough slabs, both small and monumental specimen are available.
Note: Why are we non-specific about tribes and locations? Confidentiality and sincere respect for tribal teachings prevent us from exploiting the honored traditions of our Indian friends, family and neighbors. Those with an interest in or sensitivity to rare gemstones, crystals or minerals are welcome to join our on-going research into the mysterious and remarkable qualities of Shamanite. One thing is certain: it cannot possibily be sold by television distributors, replicated or imitated. There is, at this date, only one limited and highly-controlled source of true Shamanite in North America. Examine, touch and experience this ancient treasure. Comments and questions are welcome.
Of Interest: The Metaphysical Legends & Attributes of Shamanite
Warm to the skin, Shamanite emanates a protective and positive ancestral vibration. Paleozoic spiral shells captivate the lapidary imagination, and sparkling pyrites, crystals and marcasites generate a distinctive EM field. Tribal medicine people and Singers from the Four Corners region have verified this material is known to them as a protective stone, and carries with it the power to heal spiritual wounds, ancestral troubles and grief.
Small nuggets of the smoky brown Shamanite called Toho (Mountain Lion) have been used as protective amulets for Indian children in the past.
Within a few years of its discovery by the modern world, Shamanite has been recognized, employed and praised by crystal healers, psychics, therapists and artists in Japan, North America, Britain and Europe. Today, it is on the Top 10 Power Stones list by Japanese spiritual and shamanic crystal healers.
Metaphysical attributes include:
Shielding the wearer from psychic attack, envy and the resentment of others
Purifying; strengthens resistance
Assists with broken hearts, grief and mourning lost loves.
Remembering past lives, submerged memories and critical karmic lessons.
Personal comments about Shamanite:
Red Hawk Akerlow, shaman. Arizona. -- "Strong circles of power come from the heart of this stone. Very deep spiritual protection from the Old Ones for those with no voice. I've heard about Toho stones used in fetish carvings; but, have never seen one before now."
Elka, Bodywork healer & Goddess priestess. Indiana. "Remarkable. The little Shamanite dolphin smolders with warmth. Placed upon a closed chakra, it behaves as a energy key -- opening and healing. The large specimen is cool, like a cave opening, and draws me into the far-distant past. "
D.N. Yazzie, Medicine Singer. New Mexico. "My grandmother had one of these black mountain stones to soak up the bad thoughts of others ... like sorcery, jealousy or envy. She took it with her. I cleanse with this stone now before Blessing Way and Enemy Way sings for those in trouble. It is good."
Arhat Wasserleid, karmic astrologer. Germany. "Something wonderful glows from this Shamanite.An Earth angel. Past lives, lost memories and Karma patterns can be sensed by the querant...best with the eyes closed."
Nonwen Lloyd-Jones, medium. Wales UK. "No one believes until they hold it (polished slab) close to their heart. In every case, a Mountain Spirit or Deva appears and brings a message from Spirit. Thanks again."
Amber Faith, Paleo-shamanic artist, prehistory scholar and seer. Arizona USA & UK. "Shamanite clearly triggers very detailed ancestral DNA and past-life memories ... essential for my art and psychic readings. Both clients and Kindred are touched by Shamanite's deep-level help with grief, past trauma and old karma stories with others." ( www.amberfaith.com )
Crystal healers, Japan. (www.eye-crystal.com ) We consider this one of the strongest Power Stones. Shiyamanaito (Shamanite) helps a person with their helplessness or feelings of grief. Close your eyes when using it. There is help from infinite outer space within it...it will bring a miracle.
1. Shamanite is a U.S. Trademark owned by Charles Mark and Terry Schiefer. ©Sept.2006
2. Evolutionary transition from the Pre-Cambrian to Cambrian
3. Silver Bearing Black Calcite in Western Mining District, Hewitt,DF and Radtke,A.S.,1967.
4. The Oldest Fossil Evidence of Life. The Paleontologist Society
5 Rocks and Minerals. Frederick H. Pough,1988
6. Cannon Microprobe findings. Bart Cannon, Chief Analyst, Seattle,Washington, USA., May 25,2007
7. Gemological Institute of America. Shane McClure,G.G., Director of G.I.A. Laboratory,Carlsbad, California, USA. Report # 15047543 G.I.A.
9. Pharyngula pg.4
10 .Image Spirorbis -- Logo
11. U.S. Patent #4,816,235. Mar.28,1989.pesic.Moscow,Idaho.
12. Geology of the Rocky Mountains : U.S.G.S.
13. Research paper. Shamanite in Southwest Art & Medicine Ways. English -- www.shamanite.com . Prehistory scholar/artist: Amber Faith, Ghost Mare Studio. Arizona, USA. www.amberfaith.com
14. Metaphysical Paper on Shamanite. Japanese. www.shamanite.com.jp
15. National Petrographic Services. John Araiza, Jeff Stein,Gordon Woods. Spring 2006
16. Heliodor 1. Star Van Scriver. Prague, Czech Republic.
17. Cambrian- Wikipedia
18. Mountain-Mark Trading,Ltd. Laboratory, Florida, USA. Charles Mark, Director.