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The Mineralogical History of Mont Saint-Hilaire
Renowned as a mineral-rich locality for scarcely 40 years, Mont Saint-Hilaire has become of the world’s most important and prolific sites thanks to its magnificent rare and unique minerals. In fact, over 370 different minerals can be found on the mountain, including 49 “type species” or minerals discovered for the very first time. Numerous others are being investigated and may turn out to be new species as well.
The first mineralogical reports on Mont Saint-Hilaire’s rare minerals, published by John Jonston O'Neill, a geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada and professor at McGill University, date back to 1914. From 1914 to 1963, no other scientific papers appeared on the subject. Mont Saint-Hilaire was completely unknown to mineralogists and collectors alike.
Not until 1963 did Frank Melanson, an amateur mineralogist, bring back a few rare samples of serandite, catapleite, astrophyllite and eudialyte.
After these minerals and several other rare species were identified, the Geological Survey of Canada and enthusiastic collectors got actively involved in the search for minerals, and remain so today.
A string of spectacular discoveries have produced superb crystals of serandite, catapleite, analcime, leifite, natrolite, elpidite and siderite as well as other important findings for scientific research.