Lightning Ridge Web Site

Glossary used by miners in "The Ridge"

Band A hard silicious band of sandstone, usually at the bottom of the sandstone stratum which carries opal
Biscuit Band A flaky sandstone band ,either cropping out on the surface or quite shallow. can contain opal
Bluebottle A blue coloured potch, more commonly found with boulder opal.
Bottomed The bottom of a shaft which has broken through the layer of sandstone which lies immediately above the opal dirt
Boulder opal Opal which has formed in crevices or cracks in iron or sandstone boulders.
Calcareous A geological term to describe chalky types of sands and shales
Claypan A flat open , bare area of country with little or no vegetation
Claim Jumping Using the letter of the law to take another miner's claim for not fulfilling the conditions of the lease
Common Opal Valueless ,lusterless opal which does not show any play of colour
Conglomerate A term used in geology to describe a coherent mass of water worn pebbles and gravel in cement-like material
Datum Post A fixed starting point, to a granted mining area
Deep Country Any area of a field which requires deep shafts to reach the opal level. The opposite to a shallow country
Double Bar Two horizontal parallel bars of colour running through a piece of opal
Duffer A mine or shaft which produces no opal
Face The wall of a mine which usually carrying opal.
Fire Opal A common term used to describe certain forms of Mexican opal which don't necessarily have moving colours. When applied to Australian opal , it implies lively, moving colours.
Floor The bottom of a drive or tunnel
Floater The term used to describe a boulder or a piece of opal which has been released from an opal-bearing level through weathering.
Foul Air Stale air in which ,due to the lack of circulation in the mine,poisonous gases can be built up
Free form A piece of opal where the natural shape of the stone has been kept when cutting
Gouge This term is used to describe a miner digging out opal, or digging with a pick in anticipation of striking opal.
Harlequin When applied to opal, the pattern has nearly ninety degree angles of colour. In the early days, the "harlequin" description was reserved exclusively for a stone exhibiting squares of different colours which changed as the stone was moved
Hyalite A glassy, transparent form of common opal.
Ironstone Much of Queensland's opal is found in a common ironstone boulder, which is usually a combination of aluminium oxide,silicon dioxide and ferrous oxide
Matrix Meaning a mixture ,or enclosing. A common term used to describe a form of boulder in which flecks or veins of colour are seen
Milk Opal A dense white form of opal , either common or precious.
Miner's Right A mining licence which allows certain rights to the holder.( Except for New South Wales , The Miner's Right was changed in N.S.W in 1973 )
Mullock opal dirt which has been brought up from down in the mine
and dumped on the surface around the shaft. Can sometimes
contain pieces of opal missed by the miner
Ratter A word from early days of opal mining for a thief who enters a claim which is known to be producing opal , usually at night or when the owner is away.
Natural Jointed A term used by the miners to describe lumps of the same piece of opal which all join neatly together in the ground
New Chum Or a green horn - someone without experience
Opal Dirt A common name to describe shales and clays which carry opal
Parcel A term used when offering a number of opals for sale at the same time
Potch A common opal which can be in different colours.
Roof The top section of a drive or tunnel.
Rough Is the term used by miners when they offer uncut opal for sale
Rush Hurrying to peg claims after the discovery of a rich opal find.
Rubbing Down The first process in cutting opal where the outer layer of material is removed
Sandstones Strata associated with Australian sedimentary opal, of a felspar base , not quartz.
Semi Opal A term used to describe forms of material which are usually part opal.
Seam Opal Opal found in pockets or long horizontal seams
Sedimentary A geological term for water or wind worn material which has settled and become consolidated
Shin cracker A hard porcelain type of opal dirt, which flies up when hit with a heavy pick, striking the miner in the shins
Siliceous One of many names used in geology to describe silicon dioxide compounds.
Specking To search old mine heaps for traces of opal.
Tailings Material which is left over after the miner has gone through them.
The Level The stratum in which opal is carried.
Windlass A winch for hauling dirt up out of the mine.

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Last Update Pre 2006