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Mineralogical and Microstructural Features of Namibia Marbles: Insights about Tremolite Related to Natural Asbestos Occurrences

1
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania, Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania, Italy
2
Department of Physics and Earth Science—University of Ferrara, Via Saragat 1, 44122 Ferrara, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Fibers 2019, 7(4), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7040031
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 7 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Fibres)
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Abstract

The Mg-rich marbles of Precambrian rocks of Namibia are widely exploited and marketed abroad for ornamental purposes. Karibib marbles, named after the locality where the most important quarries are located, are commercially known as “White Rhino Marble”. They formed under greenschist facies metamorphic conditions and may be characterized by the presence of veins of tremolite. Although the quarries, whose exploited marbles contain tremolite, do not seem to be abundant, we decided to carry out a detailed mineralogical and petrographic study on Karibib marbles in order to point out the occurrence of tremolite, whose shape may vary from prismatic to acicular, even sometimes resembling the asbestiform habitus and its geometry within the rock. With this aim, we carried out optical microscopy, X-ray diffractometry, X-ray scanning electron microscopy, and micro-Raman investigations, and also imaged the 3D fabric with micro computed X-ray tomography. The study of white marbles from Namibia and their mineral phases has an important impact, since tremolite might split into thin fibers and, therefore, being potentially harmful, the presence of tremolite requires an analysis of the risks of exposure to asbestos. View Full-Text
Keywords: rhino white marble of Namibia; tremolite; fibrous habitus; health hazard rhino white marble of Namibia; tremolite; fibrous habitus; health hazard
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Punturo, R.; Ricchiuti, C.; Rizzo, M.; Marrocchino, E. Mineralogical and Microstructural Features of Namibia Marbles: Insights about Tremolite Related to Natural Asbestos Occurrences. Fibers 2019, 7, 31.

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