“We believe we know our planet. Detailed maps, aerial photos, and satellite imagery give us the impression, albeit a false one, that there is no place on Earth unexplored. But who knows what is under our feet? In this way, the researcher from the German Geoscience Center Brian Horsfield draws attention, in the latest international scientific drilling plan, to the poor knowledge of geological diversity. The Department of Crystallography at the University of Seville has wanted to bring that world closer with an initiative that humanizes the rocks by detailing legends that associate some minerals with stories of wishes, love and death and that have served to elevate them to symbolic and mythological objects.
Ana María Alonso, researcher and president of the Geological Society of Spain (SGE), admitted during a visit to the Peñarroya (Córdoba) litoteca on the occasion of the last scientific session of the SGE, that there is more general awareness of biodiversity and threats that it suffers on the geodiversity. Fernando Muñiz, professor of Crystallography and Mineralogy at the University of Seville, had an idea to break that distance during his work in Chile: to collect on stories from the Geology Museum of the academic entity the stories related to minerals that, in some cases, They have become national symbols and, in others, have fueled popular legends for centuries. “The idea is to read through reading,” says Muñiz. These are some of the stories collected with the collaboration of the department in which he works now, the late Emilio Galán (University of Seville) and other geologists from Latin America:
Fire opal (Tectosilicate). A Mexican legend tells that a butterfly cried for its ephemeral life while envying the ancient survival of the stone and that, in turn, regretted its underground existence, hidden and immobile with no other destination than to become dust. Nature made both speak and the insect told the mineral what rivers, forests and other beings were like, while the rock revealed the secrets of the subsoil. The butterfly wished that its wings turned to dust and this to stone. Meanwhile, the rock dreamed that time would make it land and from it a flower would grow that would become a butterfly. Nature took pity on her and created her opal to fulfill her wishes.
Rhodochrosite (Carbonate). Popular belief places the origin of this stone, considered a symbol of Argentina, in the Inca warrior Tupaa Qanai, who broke the barrier formed by a lake and rocks to shield the place where the sun priestesses met. The Ñusta (Princess) Aklla and Tupaa Qanai fell in love and fled the sanctuary to found the Diaguita peoples with their children. The Incas never hunted them down, but the curse killed the princess and the warrior slept forever on a rock. Petrified roses the color of blood emerged from Aklla’s grave and the stone became a symbol of forgiveness and love.
Bolivianite (Tectosilicate). The Spanish soldier Felipe de Urriola raised the wrath of the Ayoreo people by marrying and pretending to return to his country with Princess Anahí, who died in the arms of his beloved by helping her escape death. De Urriola managed to return to his land and took with him a strange purple and yellow gem unique in the world and converted into a symbol of divided love.
Olivine (Nesosilicate). The mineral takes its name from that of Lanzarote’s niece Tomás, The old. The young woman, with brown skin and green eyes, lost a sheep while collecting flowers and found her dead on a precipice. When she returned with the rest of the cattle, Olivina cried green tears that petrified on the beach and formed a rock that symbolizes goodness.
Andalusite (Nesosilicate). During the wars between the Mapuches and the Spanish, an Araucanian warrior captured a young Spanish Christian woman with whom he lived, against the will of the Toquis (military leaders). After a battle, the man was captured, but the leaders of the village near the Laraquete river told the woman that her loved one had died in the conflict. Desperate, she wandered down the estuary and cried tears that became crosses when falling into the water. A machi (shaman) collected the stones and performed a ritual that allowed the liberation of man and marriage.