Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 178

Corsi 178, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 178  
Name and quarry location: Diaspro tenero di Sicilia, from Taormina, Messina, Sicily, Italy  
Geological description: A fractured Rosso ammonitico red limestone with prominent stromatactis cavities filled with grey and white calcite. It has stylolites and white calcite-filled veins.  
Comments: Corsi says that he has followed Borch's 'Lythologie Sicilienne' (1778) in attributing names and quarry locations to his Sicilian soft jaspers, but not all his locations are mentioned by Borch, nor do descriptions always match. Stromatactis development is much more often seen in Palaeozoic rocks (for example no. 208) than Mesozoic rocks as found in Sicily. However, Neuweiler and Bernoulli (2005) describe a Lower Jurassic stromatactis red limestone from Arzo on the Swiss-Italian borders, where a breccia has long been quarried which is markedly like some of Corsi's Sicilian soft jaspers (see for example 461 and note). It is possible Corsi unwittingly obtained specimens from this other location.  
References: Borch (1778) 130-161; Corsi (1845) 155-156; Dubarry de Lassale (2005) 290; Evangelista (1998); Montana (1998) 64-68; Price (2007) 150-151  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 2. Veined marbles; Species 11. Soft jaspers of Sicily  
Corsi's text: 68.18 Diaspro tenero di Sicilia. Rosso, e bianco di Taormina  

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