Geology / History

Part of the serpentine group. The olive green colour & smooth or scaly appearance is the basis of the name from the Latin serpentinus, meaning serpent rock according to Best (2003). Their origins lye in metamorphic alterations of peridotite & pyroxene. Serpentines may also pseudomorphously replace other magnesium silicates.

Alterations may be incomplete causing physical properties of serpentines to vary widely. Where they form a significant part of the land surface the soil is unusually high in clay. Antigorite is the polymorph of serpentine that most commonly forms during metamorphism of wet ultramafic rocks & is stable at the highest temperatures to over 600 °C at depths of 60 km or so.

In contrast lizardite & chrysotile typically form near the Earth's surface & break down at relatively low temperatures, probably well below 400 °C. It has been suggested that chrysotile is never stable relative to either of the other two serpentine polymorphs.

In the uppermost mantle of ocean basins the ultramafic rocks commonly contain abundant serpentine. Antigorite contains water in its structure about 13% by weight. Antigorite may play an important role in the transport of water into the earth via subduction zones & in the subsequent release of water to create magmas in island arcs. Some of the water may be carried to greater depths.

Soils derived from serpentine are toxic to many plants due to high levels of nickel, chromium, & cobalt. Areas of serpentine-derived soil will show as strips of shrub land & open, scattered small trees often conifers within otherwise forested areas. The flora is generally very distinctive with specialized slow-growing species. These areas are called serpentine barrens.

Metaphysical Properties

Activates your intuition.  Stimulates structure in your life.  Cleans all Chakras & dissolves stagnant energy. Provides strength & positivity by releasing negativity from the body.  Assists in the removal of attachment from yourself to another. Brings change & positive loving energy to all things. Excellent for manifestation & propulsion into new beginnings.

 

Crystal Healing

Spinal alignment, correction to cellular disorders, releases toxins from the body.

Mineralogy

Group: Serpentine (Silicates/ Phyllosilicates)

Crystal System:  Monoclinic

Composition: Mg3(Si2O5)(OH)4

Form/Habit: Usually massive or pseudomorphous also Minute crystals, typically platy, rarely elongated. Commonly bladed or fibrous.

Hardness:  3.5-4

Cleavage: Perfect

Fracture: Splintery, Conchoidal

Lustre: Greasy, Subvitreous

Streak: Greenish White

Specific Gravity: 2.58-2.8

Transparency: Translucent, Opaque

R.I:  1.530-1.575

Colour: Green, Green-blue, White, Brown, Black.

Varieties: Bowenite & Williamsite