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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

Possible Copal/amber

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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

hi, so me and my brother and my friend went into the small forest behind my house, and we were digging around in a muddy stream (the mud is very gloopy and your feet can sink in it a bit) , we found this MASSIVE stone (that's what we thought) it had something that looked like wood sticking out of it, although the wood's sides were straight and it looked like some kind of fence post. we smashed open the 'stone' with our spades and behold: a cream-coloured, hard, glass-like substance. it has a strong, almost chemical-like aroma, similar to the aroma of a root we split while digging. it was irregular in shape, and although the outside was covered in clay, the inside was hard and glass-like. however, it did not float. this may be becuase it was a freshwater stream. when hit really hard with the edge of a metal spade, it exhibits behaviur similar to that of amber bieng hit with the same thing. it has swirls of more opaque material, in the form of creamy oranges and yellows. please, if anyone can identify it, that would be a massive help. if you need a picture, wait a few hours or so and i may have found some more. i can't find the original hunk, but it was huge.

sorry i do not have pictures of this, although i may have some soon, i am going out to look for some more.

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painshill

Are you in the northern part of the North Island? Kauri Gum (unfossilized) perhaps?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kauri_gum

Edited by painshill

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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

Yes, but it is the wrong colour for kauri gum,

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painshill

Yes, but it is the wrong colour for kauri gum,

Kauri gum comes in most colours and the appearance will very much depend on how long it has been buried. It ranges from almost colourless, through typical amber yellows and golds and reddish-browns to almost black. Also occasionally dark red and dark green. The opacity varies from almost completely transparent through cloudy and milky to opaque and that has an optical effect on the colouration. Paler colours then may appear chalky-white or creamy for example. With or without swirls or bands.

Does it not fit in that spectrum?

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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

Yes it does. It fits mostly under the creamy section, however the larger chunks have a strong odor. This may have come from some nearby roots with a similar odor. They do not seem to be kauri roots. Apparently we have no kauris in the forest.

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painshill

Yes it does. It fits mostly under the creamy section, however the larger chunks have a strong odor. This may have come from some nearby roots with a similar odor. They do not seem to be kauri roots. Apparently we have no kauris in the forest.

I’m not necessarily trying to make a case for Kauri Gum (and we’re a bit in the dark without pictures or some more tangible information about its properties). However, the fact that you have no Kauri trees now doesn’t rule it out. Most of the North Island was covered with Kauri forests until the Maori and then the Europeans arrived and deforested vast swathes of the island. If it is Kauri Gum and is brittle enough to fracture with a spade then it has been in the ground a long time and could easily predate that. It could be much older, still not fossilized and still have an odour – especially after you broke it up. You describe the smell as “strong and almost chemical-like”. Kauri which is recent generally has a pine-like smell and after a while the lighter fragrant top notes are lost, leaving a heavier odour that is more paraffin- or kerosene-like.

Edited by painshill

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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

yeah, there was a rusty barrel down there, timber company maybe...

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Ash

Best way to get ID is to put some pics up.

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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

I gotta find where I put it first... I found a tiny shard when I went back down but it will just look like white becuase it is not big enough to show much detail.

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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

I should have some after this weekend, my brother has a chunk up where we go fo holidays, I will try for pictures then, I am using an iPod though so I dunno how good they will be.

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NZ_Fossil_Collecta

there were some other thick roots down there, they sometimes oozed some whitish goo when split, and this smells exaclty the same as the copal.

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