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Graphite

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Colour image of black rock with original specimen label
Graphite. Precambrian. Reversing Rapids area, Saint John, New Brunswick. Collector: A. Gesner, Gesner’s Museum No. 1118, c. 1840. New Brunswick Museum (NBMM 2937). Specimen width 5.5 cm. In 1852 Charles Lyell examined graphite mines that had opened at the Reversing Rapids in 1850. Graphite is carbon, most likely produced during the metamorphosis of organic material (cyanobacteria) as the limestone transformed into marble. Newspapers during Lyell’s visit advertised ‘New Brunswick Pure Black Lead’ from the Saint John Mining Company. Loring Bailey recorded their operation in his 1864 report on mines and minerals in New Brunswick. He noted that in 1853, a total of 89,936 pounds were exported, but that by 1864 work at the mines had been discontinued. The first mines were located near the narrowest part of the gorge just below the suspension bridge.