A very special friday “riddle”

Montroyalite… ever heard of it?

This is the mystery object for this week’s post, and our mission is to discover what it is. It is a game accessible for the all VC readers, including the ones with a limited knowledge of volcanology, geology or petrology.  You know it’s name.  Now the goal is to find the facts about it. What is it?  Where does it come from? How old or young is it? How was it formed? What does it look like? What’s its formula? We want to know all about it : the what, where, why, when, who and how.  And more.

With its name, anybody can become a detective, and the more knowledgeable readers can confirm or expand on what we find.

So it is up to you to post your discoveries, and at the end of the game, we will summarize our findings about this mysterious object.

Let’s see who can post the most facts about it.



What is life without a riddle. This time it is me who is fiendish.

I am the stony product of music that make Pavarotti mate a canis canis sheep mixture, I am spawned out of the apothecary.

What am I? And what is my origin?



166 thoughts on “A very special friday “riddle”

  1. This post opens the normal weekend-ly Sheepy Dalek.
    I like Summers idea, but i will not be here to do the summing up.
    Please keep posting informations about the current eruption of Fuego. And if this has already been posted, don’t worry, post it again. Things get lost in old threads easily.
    For those who have not been around the last few days, please go back one post and read GeoLurkings excellent post about Icelands “Dead Zone”
    Stay safe while i am on vacation. I am looking forward to the holiday but i will most certainly miss the blog. Posts by Bobbie KarenZ and Talla are waiting to be published next week but posts about news are now up for Carl or other dragons. “I ll be back” *wave*

  2. Montroyalite is a mineral, discovered in Montreal, named after Mount Royal, the mountain which provided the definition sample (wikipedia)

    The chemical formula is Sr4Al8(CO3)3(OH,F)26•10-11(H2O)
    Its molecular Weight = 1,384.60 gm
    and it consists of:
    Strontium 25.31 % Sr
    Aluminum 15.59 % Al
    Hydrogen 2.48 % H
    Carbon 2.60 % C
    Oxygen 37.55 % O
    Fluorine 16.47 % F

    • Just to educate a bit.
      The percentages are by weight, not amount of atoms or volume.
      Strontium is much heavier than aluminium, that is why the 8 aluminium atoms get severely less percentage then the 4 Strontiums.

      Also, this is one of the ores (minerals) that you should not build your house out of, of for that matter eat. Strontium is both radioactive and poisonous. Same goes for the high fluorine content. Fluorine is not radioactive, but it is not good for your health at those levels.

  3. And in a far away country filled with volcanoes one of the volcanoes did not wake up on it’s best side today.
    At 06.29 this morning an earthquake M1.2 happened south of Hekla. After that tremor with harmonic components have been ongoing at Mjoaskerd SIL.

    At roughly ten o’clock there was a sudden increase at negative strain at Hekla.


    • Yupp. Defenetly. Shure. Humm… What the heck etc.
      That is highly unusual.
      And Mila Hvolsvöllur webcam is back online,
      please turn 45 Deg left ( 😉 )

    • For the non-regulars.

      Hekla has a history of giving very little warning before erupting. The last one had seismic activity start about 61 minutes before eruption, and the quakes only got to the level of human perception about 10 to 15 minutes before it went. Provided that you were standing on top of it. (else you never would have felt it)

      Hekla is dangerous.

      • Yes, and MJO SIL is at west end of the mountain ridge. Technically not Hekla, but there is catch. Larger lavas have run in area south and south east of Hekla, than from Hekla itself. Very large eruption in Vatnafjöll area is needed for lava to enter farmlands (apx runs of 10 – 15 km or more) so little imminent danger really, I think. Some ash, black and heavy stuff. No concern for air-traffic in long run.

        • amend: , than from Hekla itself to the north. Most Hekla lavas ran to south/south east in recent eruptions (except Skjólkvíjar 1970; technically).

        • nah, think Torfajökull area. Hope he took clean bags for ash samples 😉 Not expecting anything, but unrest at Mjóskarð continues. I am watching this.

          • *Thank you! Not really trusting one single SIL (but this one has behaved well all summer) but the unrest continiues at MJO. Checking winds and windspped on Vegagerð roadcams, winds are several directions, and Low pressure area is passing. Windy and drizzle all over the area could account for some of this, but seems more, and spiky on other graph I am watching. So far no more quakes. If one appears in Hekla proper I am off to there. But we must not stir the press, probably all is well in Hekla innards.

      • ha. I once had the idea of doing a very English style of catastrophe movie called Dante’s Bottom. … I think I’ll stop now before I go any further.

        • You could probably get Kevin Smith interested. His View Askewniverse series has a character named Dante Hicks. (“Jay and Silent Bob” movies “Dogma” and “Clerks”).

          Left to right, Dante Hicks, Randal Graves, Silent Bob, Jay
          (this is from the animated series and not the movies)

  4. “Some tourist guidebooks, such as the Michelin Guide to Montreal, state that Mount Royal is an extinct volcano. The mountain is not a traditional volcano as such. However, it is the deep extension of a vastly eroded ancient volcanic complex, which was probably active about 125 million years ago.”

    So as not to copy too much, here is the link with the interesting details: hotspot, intrusion, magma, gabbros, etc. See the geology paragraph:


    Also from the link: “The mineral montroyalite, discovered in Montreal, is named after the mountain that provided the definition sample.”

  5. I am the stony product of music that make Pavarotti mate a canis canis sheep mixture, I am spawned out of the apothecary.

    What am I? And what is my origin?

    Sildenafil, developed by British scientists and brought to market by Pfizer. What else could make an opera singer randy enough to mount two dogs and a sheep?

    • Its looks as if the eqs are reprising the 2011 sequence. The most recent have been in the same position as the second swarm in 2011, the deep one. Very well organised magma to follow the same sequence, shallow, deep……

    • Yup, it is more lively today ! I’ll try to do some plots, but at the moment I am (well the puter is) working on some plots just prior to the 2011 eruption

  6. Montréal has a connection to African volcanoes:

    “[There is] a long-distance and long-lived hotspot chain that extends from Canada to undersea volcanoes on the African tectonic plate. The volcanic activity that formed this long chain provides a history of how the North American and African plates have been moving for over 100 million years.”

    “The Monteregian Hills, which share a name with the city of Montréal in Québec, Canada, are the eroded remnants of volcanoes that are the oldest volcanoes of the hotspot track: they were active about 125 million years ago.”


  7. Happy Friday All,
    My guess for the phantom dinger is Ukviggen, he’s on the board for his local Rugby Club…
    Has that been guessed already?
    Off on holidays myself; we’ve a week in Napoli starting Monday; so pizza, Vesuvius, Campi Phlegrei, Ischia, Pompei, Herculaneum; Lizzie fancies the Amalfi Coast, are we missing anything?

      • Hi Peter

        I’m not forgetting you, just plotting the VS/VP before 2011 eruption. Takes time….

        This picture is up to july it would be interesting to get it updated…

      • Hi Peter,
        I remember that’n, good schtuff,
        OK, it’s just one (of many possible) interpretations o’ the data, but it shows (in my opinion) a deep mantle plume source…
        Back in 1971 (I wasn’t even a glint then…) Teneguia went off; photogenicaly but safely…
        The next real action at the Canaries is 40 years later 100kms south of Teneguia at BoB.
        The plot you reference implies a “focus” south of El Hierro; which suggests (to me; Schtrictly Amateur) a “wide-ranging” mantleplume…
        Peter, I’m still keen to see your article bout El Hierro, please would you ask the dragons to forward it.

          • Schteve, oh it would do that !! (and probably heap ridicule on me). I think maybe its a bit too off the wall for carl to contamplate posting – bearing in mind 1million visits here etc. Essentially I dont think its magma pressure/ intrusion for the plume thats generating the eqs and GPS motion.

          • Thanks Carl, I’ll keep my powder dry to defend it against the hoardes of sceptics!
            Land speed record?? – here’s such a car from 1905, on a hillclimb:

            -and being driven home afterwards, number plates fitted:

            sorry, no trucks. But I expect I shall see that Darraqc again tomorrow!

  8. It may be too late,
    but @ Spica, if you fancy seing a grand performance in a magnificent concert hall:
    It’s worth checking the programme;
    The Tenerife Symphony Orchestra is world class, ifn they’re playing, it’s worth going… and I think their home season is now ish…
    Me and Dad saw them do La Valse by Ravel in the concert hall; the piece is as underated as the composer, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… 🙂
    Once again @ all; I don’t work for the Canarian tourist board 😀

  9. Montroyalite is an strontium aluminium hyrdrocarbonate: Sr4Al8(CO3)3(OH,F)26• 10-11H2O from the Francon quarry, Montréal, Québec, Canada (address: 3701 rue Jarry Est, Montréal). The quarry has not been mined since 1981.

    Mount Royal is an alkaline intrusion into limestone. The dawsonite-rich carbonatite sills of the Francon quarry have a rather unique mineralogy, not found anywhere else in the region. (Source Mindat: http://www.mindat.org/loc-597.html). The instrusion is part of a volcanic complex that was active 125 million years ago.

    The complex was formed when the North American Plate moved westward over the New England hotspot. The main rock type is a gabbro composed of pyroxene, olivine and variable amounts of plagioclase. During and after the main stage of intrusion, the gabbros and surrounding rocks were intruded by a series of volcanic dikes and sills. Subsequently, the surrounding softer sedimentary rock was eroded, leaving behind the resistant igneous rock that forms the mountain. (Source: Wiki)

  10. And from: “Montroyalite, a New Sr-Al Hydrocarbonate from Francon quarry, Montreal, Quebec” by John L Jambor, Ann P Sabina, Robert A Ramik and B Darko Sturman published in the Canadian Minerologist Vol 28, pp 147- 153 (1990)

    “Montroyalite ( SraAls(CO3)3[(OH),F]26.10-11H2O), occurs as translucent white l-mm-sized hemispheres in cavities in a silicocarbonatite sill exposed at the Francon quarry, Montreal, Quebec. Major associated minerals are: albite, quartz, strontiodresserite, calcite, dawsonite, ankerite and fluorite.

    Montroyalite hemispheres have a dull surface and a porcelaneous interior with a waxy lustre. Indistinct fibres radiate from the core and produce rough to botryoidal ofierior surfaces. Individual grains are irregular to lath-shaped, up to 0.02 mm long and 0,005 mm thick. The mineral is brittle; it has a white streak, Mohs hardness of 3%, uneven to splintery fracture, no observable cleavage; it is soluble in 1:1 HCI at room temperature (20C), and fluoresces white under both long- and shortwave ultraviolet light. D(meas.) 2.677 g/cml. ”

    There is more but it gets too techie for a Friday night in the bar.

    Can’t paste the link but found it on Google Scholar searching on Montroyalite.

    It also has a friend: Voggite.

  11. If it looks like things are going to kick off again my daughter has promised to get me to the Island no matter what it takes, and this time im going to make sure i travel to the Airport in an Armoured Personel Carrier, i want to make good my promise of good information and Photos of all that happens so that we can keep a really good record of all that takes place, lets keep our fingers crossed.

  12. This is not offficial but there could be a meeting at the moment in the Town Hall of El Pinar something about Raymond Ortiz Team posted by Amelia Ramos?

    ,,Me comentan que el equipo de Ramon Ortiz,esta ahora mismo reunido con mas especialistas y con un tal Jesus,de Emergencias del Ayuntamiento del Pinar,a la espera de mas noticias….quiero dejar claro que no es oficial,solo alguien que me ha pasado la informacion,por si les sirve de algo

    …I commented that the team of Ramon Ortiz, this meeting now with more specialists and with such a Jesus, of emergencies of the Town Hall of el Pinar, waiting of more news….


  13. Magnitude ML 2.8 Region CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION

    Date time 2012-09-14 19:34:42.6 UTC Location 27.71 N ; 18.04 W Depth 18 km

  14. Chemical Formula: Sr4Al8(CO3)3(OH,F)26•10-11(H2O) ;Composition: Molecular Weight = 1,384.60 gm;
    Strontium 25.31 % Sr 29.93 % SrO; Aluminum 15.59 % Al 29.46 % Al2O3 ; Hydrogen 2.48 % H 22.12 % H2O ; Carbon 2.60 % C 9.54 % CO2 ; Oxygen 37.55 % O;
    Fluorine 16.47 % F 16.47 % F ; – % F -6.93 % -O=F2;
    100.00 % 100.58 % = TOTAL OXIDE.
    Empirical Formula: Sr4Al8(CO3)3(OH)13F12•10.5(H2O)
    Environment: Cavities in a silicocarbonate sill.
    IMA Status: Approved IMA 1986
    Locality: Francon quarry, Montreal Island, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Link to MinDat.org Location Data.
    Name Origin: Named for Monteregian Hill, Mont Royal, prominent landmark in Montreal, Canada, from which the city’s name was derived.
    Synonym: IMA1985-001

    Crystal System: TriclinicSpace Group: Unk. X Ray Diffraction: By Intensity(I/Io): 6.57(1), 3.283(0.55), 4(0.5),

    Physical Properties of Montroyalite
    Cleavage: None: Color:White. Density:2.667, Diaphaneity: Translucent, Fracture:Brittle – Splintery – Brittle fracture leaving splintery fragments.; Habit:Fibrous – Crystals made up of fibers.; Hardness: 3.5 – Copper Penny; Luster:Waxy; Streak:white
    Optical Data: Biaxial (-), a=1.515, b=1.53, g=1.545, bire=0.0300, 2V(Calc)=88, 2V(Meas)=80-89.
    Calculated Properties of Montroyalite
    Electron Density: Bulk Density (Electron Density)=2.60 gm/cc
    note: Specific Gravity of Montroyalite =2.67 gm/cc.
    Fermion Index: Fermion Index = 0.01; Boson Index = 0.99;
    Photoelectric: PEMontroyalite = 28.03 barns/electron
    U=PEMontroyalite x rElectron Density= 73.01 barns/cc.
    Radioactivity: GRapi = 0 (Gamma Ray American Petroleum Institute Units)
    Montroyalite is Not Radioactive.
    Montroyalite Classification
    Dana Class: 16b.05.03.01 (16b)Carbonates – Hydroxyl or Halogen(16b.05)with miscellaneous formulae. (16b.05.03)Dana Group: 16b.05.03.01 Montroyalite Sr4Al8(CO3)3(OH,F)26•10-11(H2O)
    Strunz Class: 0 5.DB.35 05 – CARBONATES (NITRATES), 05.D – Carbonates with Additional Anions, with H2O, 05.DB -With large and medium-sized cations,
    05.DB.35 Montroyalite Sr4Al8(CO3)3(OH,F)26•10-11(H2O) Unk. Tri

    Volcanic Association (From Wiki.) Some tourist guidebooks, such as the Michelin Guide to Montreal, state that Mount Royal is an extinct volcano. The mountain is not a traditional volcano as such. However, it is the deep extension of a vastly eroded ancient volcanic complex, which was probably active about 125 million years ago.[1] The mountain was created when the North American Plate moved westward over the New England hotspot,[1] along with the other mountains of the Monteregian Hills, by a process known as intrusion: The magma intruded into the sedimentary rocks underneath the area, producing at least eight igneous stocks. The main rock type is a gabbro composed of pyroxene, olivine and variable amounts of plagioclase. During and after the main stage of intrusion, the gabbros and surrounding rocks were intruded by a series of volcanic dikes and sills. Subsequently, the surrounding softer sedimentary rock was eroded, leaving behind the resistant igneous rock that forms the mountain.
    The mineral montroyalite, discovered in Montreal, is named after the mountain that provided the definition sample
    The quarry that mined the stone is now no longer worked and is located in the city proper. many of the older buildings are constructed from rock from this quarry . The rocks were also used for roadstone and in the construction of the railroads.
    This quarry called the Francon Quarry, Montreal, Quebec, Canada is a one-of-a-kind carbonatite igneous intrusion which has produced several wonderful and unique specimens of exotic species alonside montryalite such as the famous weloganite as well as dawsonite, dresserite, franconite, hydrodresserite, strontiodresserite, sabinaite, cryolite, strontianite and more.
    Why is this quarry so unique? It is because of how the rocks cooled and the composition of the intrusive material.
    The Francon quarry exposes a rare carbonatite sill. The sill, a horizontal intrusion into parallel host rocks, is composed of carbonate minerals, mostly calcite. The Francon Quarry has produced a number of rare carbonate minerals besides montroyalite such as strontianite and dawsonite. Carbonatite is an igneous rock and is not all that well understood by geologists.
    Like other igneous rocks, the carbonatite starts as a molten body, but is composed of carbonates instead of silicates. Like other igneous rocks, carbonatites will crystallize the minerals that are more stable at higher temperatures and pressures first, leaving difficult elements in the left over melt. Difficult elements are those elements that because of their size and/or charge do not fit well into a mineral’s structure and are therefore excluded by most minerals. These elements, like strontium and zirconium, are left to form whatever minerals they can get into as the last bit of crystallization takes place.
    In the case of montroyalite, the sill had already formed most of its minerals when fluids rich in difficult elements and volatile gases rose to the top of the sill and formed bubbles or pockets. When the excavations at the Francon Quarry uncovered the sill, these “petrified” bubbles were found coated in exotic minerals some of which were never before known to science. It is believed that this unusual sill was somehow allowed to cool much more slowly than other carbonatite sills. It is the time to differentiate the difficult elements that may have made the difference in producing these unique minerals. Other carbonatite sills have similar chemistries to the Francon Quarry sill but the difficult elements are incorporated into commoner minerals as trace elements.

  15. It seems like El Hierro is up and about again.
    What I find interesting is that there is no movement yet on the GPS:ses, but something tells me that there will be shortly.
    Either something is moving up through some tube and an eruption is starting or going to start very soon. Or this is the long heralded arrival of the fourth magma blob. We will most likely know very shortly.
    But, as this is at the Tanganasoga site at the usual depth I guess this is a new blob of magma.
    To take people through the stages.
    1. Blob of magma caused Bob to erupt after months of earthquakes. The inflation never drained away, so that magma is mainly there still.
    2. A smaller second blob of magma revigorated Bob in late January early february.
    3. The largest of the Blobs arrived in June, it inflated the island with a 9 centimeters of magma, against all ods it never erupted. Combined uplift after the third blob is 14 centimeters.
    4. Potentially today a fourth blob arrived.

    • CCUM is weak, it’s not Tanganasoga. It’s further west.

      Restored by VC. When you trash things with follow up comments it wreaks havoc to the subsequent posts. Take a look at what happened to the time order of two of my comments below. 22.41 comment was put in before my 22.32 comment.
      If someone have written allready I just empty out the comment.

      Okay then I retract it until I have better data.

      I wanted emphasis, but bold makes it look like I’m yelling, which wasn’t intended.

        • ah ah ! very different patterns compared to last time. Bob has plenty in store to surprise us.

          Released from the Dungeons by VC, have no clue how this happened.

          And the above trashing is what put this one in the Dungeon most likely… Hard to answer to what is trashed.

      • Not according to Lloyd’s of London.
        There was most likely an eruptive episode further out of Bob between 1946 and 1948 according to sea captains that reported Jacuzzis south of El Hierro. Life was better when there was tramp steamers going everywhere.

          • Probably a lot of them, but nobody back then cared.
            We should though remember that the swarms we have seen now have been really small, and with the exception of the above 3s nobody on the island would most likely have cared to write it down back then.
            People back then did not get hysterical on Fezbook, they had actual lives. :mrgreen:

  16. Someone has commented that this is the worry this is happening near CJUL because of the slab of rock perched next to the sea?

  17. The new swarm is east of Tanganasoga, originating about where June-Blob started, now going off at a different direction, where almost nothing happened so far. Dipping down about the same angle as the 2011 deep swarm. Here is the top view. Video is life in a moment.

  18. According to IGN 38 earthquakes as of 21:36. 17 between 2 and 3 mblg, what could be expected from the depth they are mostly occurring, based on the previous swarms.
    IMHO I would say this is fresh magma, look at the speed the swarm is expanding, like June this year.

  19. While I go for a write up… Something to ruminate on.

    Ever wonder where Hurricane Leslie got at?
    It became a tropical storm that slowly ambled over the Atlantic turning into a extra-tropical storm around Iceland and then it happily wobbled onwards and hit Norway. As it went over the mountains it did what extra-tropical storms do. They die while happily dumping on me.
    The thing with extra-tropicals is that they contain equal or even more amounts of rain than they did when they where hurricanes, but they have lost their windspeed oompf.

    So, I am just suffering from a little blow, and a lot of dumping. It is not a good day to take a walk outside. Not at all…

    And the order of the post got normal again when i un-trashed the comment above…

  20. So for anyone still finding things a bit slow today I just felt I had to share this wonderful link:


    Possibly even one for the treasury, Carl?
    I was looking around on’t’internet for info about the area of Portugal around Sagres, where the cliff-tops felt like walking on pumice. I didn’t find the pumice but I found the volcanic origins of the area, dating back to the opening of the Atlantic, and magnetic anomalies which reverse compasses, and hot springs up in the mountains.

    Detailed geological history of the region is in this link which also includes other geological gems.

    I had never heard of montmorillonite before either: ‘The chemical composition of pure Fuller’s Earth [cat litter] consists almost entirely of montmorillonite, a clay mineral with a layer structure, which gives it its absorption properties. It is generally believed that montmorillonite is formed by the decomposition of volcanic tuffs and basic igneous rocks.’

    • Montmorillonite has been used in water softening before the invention of syntethic resins after WW2. Pretty interesting mineral. It has natural ion excahnge properties.

  21. I am the stony product of music that make Pavarotti mate a canis canis sheep mixture, I am spawned out of the apothecary.

    Drug music could possibly inspire people to do unpredictable thingies. The apothecary = the drugman.
    Spawned out of the drugman? The mineral Drugmanite.

    Webmineral.com: Formed at low temperatures in vugs in mineralized limestones, an oxidation product of disseminated sulfides. Location: Found in silicified karst deposits, Richelle (near Visé), 15 km north of Liege, Belgium .

  22. Guess at the riddle – Arsenic (play /ˈɑrsɨnɪk/ AR-sə-nik) is a chemical element with symbol As and atomic number 33. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.[5] Arsenic is a metalloid. It can exist in various allotropes, although only the gray form has important use in industry. (Wiki)
    Arsenic – canis and aries mixed up. Opera – Arsenic and old lace. Small amounts of Arsenic can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer which is what Pavarotti died of.

  23. Riddle answer from me…..
    Wolf (Canis ) Ram (a male sheep) The naming of this of this mineral is ascribed to Johan Gottschalk Wallerius in 1747
    Later it was found the mineral contained a new element “Tungsten”. This name is derived from the two swedish words Tung=Hard Sten=Stone
    This new element was discovered by the Spanish brothers José and Fausto Elhuyar who were chemists (Apothacaries).
    This gives a weak link to Pavarotti one of “The Three Tenors” Pavaotti’s mate (Friend) José Careras also Spanish. Faust was an opera by Gounod in which Pavarotti and Jose would have both performed.

  24. “I am the stony product of music that make Pavarotti mate a canis canis sheep mixture, I am spawned out of the apothecary.”

    Stony product = rock
    Pavarotti = He is(was) heavy (??)

    = Heavy Rock

    Tungsten – from Swedish language “tung sten” = “heavy stone/rock”
    high density – 19.3 times that of water

    Tungsten – also known as wolfram. Wolf and Ram – “canis canis sheep mixture”

    tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds.
    A “compound for chemicals” could be a chemists’ shop or an apothecary.
    “I am spawned out of the apothecary.”

    I might be clutching at straws with some of the above,but worth a go anyway.
    My answer – Tungsten

    • The answer was Tungsten, or WolfRam in another word. The most common ore is Scheelite, discovered by the Swedish apothecar Scheele.
      Sadly the riddle has allready gotten answered in a later post…

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