Actynolite Enlarge
Aug 1. 1807. Publishd by Ja.s Sowerby. London.
British Mineralogy
Silex fragilis


  • Class 2. Earths.
  • Order 1. Homogeneous.
  • Gen. 4. Silex.
  • Spec. Fragilis.
  • Div. 2. Imitative fibrous.
  • Syn.
    • Strahlstein. Emmerl. 1. 418.
    • Actynolite. Kirwan, 1. 167, 178.
    • Actynote. Haüy, 3. 73.

Mr. Kirwan seems to have given an excellent description of this substance, perhaps the best extant, I shall, therefore, make use of the following applicable part of it: “Fragments long, splintery, and exceedingly sharp, so as to be difficultly handled without injury. Hardness difficult to estimate, on account of its brittleness.” He also says, “We may vindicate to this species the stone called by Saussure Schorle en fillets brillants et fragiles; so sharp as scarcely to be handled with impunity.” In these characters it is certainly peculiarly different from any other species of Mineral, and its particles are so fine and sharp as to put me in mind of the setaceous spiculæ or hairs on the pod of the Dolichos pruriens. We might even suppose it as good an anthelmintic or vermifuge, by its mechanical action; but its hardness would undoubtedly make it too violent.—It very readily penetrates the skin, and the consequent irritation is more violent than the most troublesome itching, as it gives an aching pain. I have, by favour of the Rev. H. Davies, and the late ingenious Mr. W. Day, received specimens of this Actynolite said to come from the Isle of Skye, where it appears to be abundant, and in great variety.—Spec, Grav. from 2.950 to 3.903.

Saussure found in his specimen,

Silex 0.5525
Argill 0.3018
Magnesia 0.1087
Lime 0.0484
Iron 0.0148

It is often largely or finely and variously striated and undulated; it also varies much in colour.—Tab. 229 is a large undulating dark-green variety. I have received beautiful dark shining green Actynolite, mixed with Copper Ore, from Maudlin mine in Cornwall, by favour of Philip Rashleigh, Esq., Dr. Turton, and J. G. Children, Esq.

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