The mining district of St. Gertraudi near Schwaz in Tyrol
The mines around St. Gertraudi in Tyrol, Austria, are part of the big medieval mining district of Schwaz in the Inn valley. The silver mining of this region began in the 15th century. Especially the historic tunnels and shafts are fascinating mining samples. Handmade tunnels, where it’s impossible to walk upright are followed by huge caverns which can hardly enlightened by the headlights. There are many points where you can find so called Kienspäne (long wooden sticks, which were used as torches), relicts of the hard medieval work underground. For collectors, Schwaz stands for fantastic Azurit crystals and wonderful specimen of Dolomite and Baryt.
The ore bodies are located in fault zones of the Dolomite. They contain smaller and bigger cavities up to more than one meter. These holes are mostly covered with dolomite crystals between 2-10mm. They are often arranged in hedgehog like pieces. In some areas, these specimens are carrying Calcite crystals up to 2 cm. most of the Calcite are shaped as scalenoedric crystals. Although Baryt appears quite often as non-crystalized masses, good specimens, so called Spathauben, are very rare.