Calc silicate skarn
Click the microscope button to view a thin section for this sample.
Click the microscope button to view a thin section for this sample.

Fact sheet

Calc silicate skarn

The intrusion of the main Central complex on Rum caused heating and alteration of the surrounding Precambrian and Cretaceous sediments. Contact metamorphism (probably over 600 °C) and hot fluids created most of the textures in this rock, which has been completely recrystallised. The rock probably originated as a Cretaceous limestone, and the metasomatism transformed it into a calc silicate skarn rock. Skarn is a term applied to rocks that have been transformed by the intrusion of an igneous rock, introducing both heat and fluids and sometime causing mineralisation, which is why skarns are often the sites of ancient mining activity. This sample came from Allt nam Ba on the Isle of Rum.

In thin section most of the rock is composed of metamorphic calcite, although it is rich in impurities. The rock also contains several unusual metamorphic minerals that are difficult to identify. One such mineral is tilleyite, a calcium silicate mineral named after the famous Cambridge academic Cecil Edgar Tilley (1894—1973). Rotation 1 shows lamellar twinned tilleyite.

Additional images
  • Calc silicate skarn - width 2.7 cm
  • Calc silicate skarn - width 6.3 cm
  • Calc silicate skarn - width 6.3 cm
56.9989, -6.3425
Isle of Rum, Scotland
About this collection

The United Kingdom Virtual Microscope (UKVM) collection consists of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks from around the UK.

It is intended as a teaching resource, helping to tell the story of the common rock types and how they form, and reflecting the history of the UK at the margins of the continent of Europe. The collection is a series of teaching sets, for example igneous rocks from the North Atlantic Igneous Province and SW England; high-temperature metamorphic rocks from Scotland and low-temperature metamorphic rocks from Wales; and sedimentary rocks, including English limestones and sandstones.

Sample details

Rock-forming mineral
Category guide  
Category Guide
Refers to any word or phrase that appears in the individual rock names. Names are generally descriptive; they allow users to search for broad terms like ‘granite’ as well as more specific names such as ‘breccia’. However, the adjacent descriptions of the specimens captures a wider range of general words and phrases and is a more powerful search tool.
Refers to any word or phrase that appears anywhere in the descriptions of the specimens
Accessory minerals
Minerals that occur in very low abundance in a rock. They are usually not visible with the naked eye and contribute perhapssver, they often dominate the rare elements such as platinum group metals.
Rock-forming minerals
Minerals that make up the bulk of all rock samples and are also the ones used in rock classi?cation.
Selecting one or more period, for example 'Jurassic'.
A term used to group together related samples that are not already gathered into a single Collection. For instance, there is a ‘SW England granites’ theme that includes such rock types as granite, hydrothermal breccia, skarn and vein samples.
A general term used to label a rock sample. It is a useful way of grouping similar samples throughout a collection. Category names are often, but not exclusively, common rock names (e.g. granite, basalt, dolerite, gabbro, greisen, skarn, gneiss, amphibolite, limestone, sandstone).
The owner of the sample that appears in the collection. For example, NASA owns all the samples that appear in the Moon Rocks collection
We would like to thank the following for the use of this sample: