Mineralogical investigations of agates from Cordón de Lila, Chile.

Stefan Richter, Jens Götze, Hans Niemeyer, Robert Möckel


In the present study a first found of agates in Chile is reported from the Cordón de Lila region in northern Chile. The agates occur as veins and lenses in altered Permian volcanic rocks. The rock composition is rhyodacitic/ dacitic consisting of a fine-grained K-feldspar-quartz groundmass with phenocrysts of plagioclase (An50-60) and pyroxene (augite). The volcanic host rocks show strong features of alteration and brecciation. Results of XRD, polarizing microscopy and cathodoluminescence (CL) microscopy and spectroscopy point to a late- to postvolcanic formation of the agates by hydrothermal fluids and SiO2 which was released during the alteration of unstable minerals and volcanic glass. Strongly varying agate micro-textures and the appearance of euhedral quartz crystals with μm-sized growth lamellae (so called Bambauer quartz) indicate fluctuations in the physico-chemical conditions (SiO2 concentration, pH) during alteration and agate formation. Another indication for the alteration processes is the occurrence of secondary calcite in the agate-bearing rocks.

How to cite this article Richter, S.; Götze, J.; Niemeyer, H.; Möckel, R. 2015, Mineralogical investigations of agates from Cordón de Lila, Chile.. Andean Geology 42 (3): 386-396. [doi:]