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Rust oysters

Somewhere in North Wales
hmm not sure they are the same things. They may be produced by a similar process, but don't seem to result in the clam-shell look we are talking about here.
Of course, there are bateria's that eat iron. This is what they are whitnessing with the Titanic. It should be intact due to low oxygen levels but is slowly being eaten away. THe bacteria seem to leave something similar to that on the chain in your photo.
 

Stones

New member
Some i spotted yesterday inside a N.Wales slate quarry
20230122_153343.jpg
 

tomferry

Active member
Indeed; it may be related to why the steel scaffolding holding open the entrance to Malham Cove Rising is in dire need of replacement (see attached picture). We're asking folk to avoid going there for the time being but we're currently negotiating with various authorities to secure permission for our plan for a new structure and lid, so that future generations of cave divers can enjoy it in safety. If all goes well this work will be completed by late spring or early summer. Incidentally if anyone's interested in time scales of deterioration, these particular scaff tubes went in during 1989. So this represents about 34 years of deterioration. The new structure will not be using ordinary scaff tubes, so it should last much better.

View attachment 15017
I don’t think you have a winner here I think this is


Maybe a two heavy article and just google https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=t...AEAiAEAkgEAmAEAsAEP&sclient=mobile-gws-wiz-hp
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
Very interesting article, but as a layman what I must have missed? is why are the orange tubercules are so very orange, it's an unusual colour. From a little experience years ago looking at rust (what an exciting job :( ) in non marine environments I'd associate chloride with producing particularly dark rust and almost black crustiness on corroding rebar, so why is that stuff very orange, could it be iron-3 chloride being formed there?

Not quite the same rust oysters, but I'd be surprised if things didn't share some mechanism. It also made me think about rust staining. In my lazy ignorance I've always seen ochreous staining and thought "iron" or something yellower/more orangey and thought "must be some sulphur too", but thinking about it, the orangeyer stuff might be fecl3 as often or more than sulphury gunk in the mix I mean slate and mudstones for example are previously marine after all? also I wonder if that is as solution inside an oyster as it would have a slightly foul acidic smell and be slightly murky brown -- which fits the description. If so it should have a pH of 2 but then again so do a lot of other things including mixtures or goodness knows what with chlorine sulphur iron hanging about. I wonder if testing the pH will tell us anything or just confuse us more

This is ripe for a PhD/MSc or something? Surely someone somewhere must need an idea for research and can look into this for us?
 
Very interesting article, but as a layman what I must have missed? is why are the orange tubercules are so very orange, it's an unusual colour. From a little experience years ago looking at rust (what an exciting job :( ) in non marine environments I'd associate chloride with producing particularly dark rust and almost black crustiness on corroding rebar, so why is that stuff very orange, could it be iron-3 chloride being formed there?

Not quite the same rust oysters, but I'd be surprised if things didn't share some mechanism. It also made me think about rust staining. In my lazy ignorance I've always seen ochreous staining and thought "iron" or something yellower/more orangey and thought "must be some sulphur too", but thinking about it, the orangeyer stuff might be fecl3 as often or more than sulphury gunk in the mix I mean slate and mudstones for example are previously marine after all? also I wonder if that is as solution inside an oyster as it would have a slightly foul acidic smell and be slightly murky brown -- which fits the description. If so it should have a pH of 2 but then again so do a lot of other things including mixtures or goodness knows what with chlorine sulphur iron hanging about. I wonder if testing the pH will tell us anything or just confuse us more

This is ripe for a PhD/MSc or something? Surely someone somewhere must need an idea for research and can look into this for us?
I have emailed a lady from MMU that looks into fungii of various types...
 

tomferry

Active member
I suspect this is very much what happens. Now, what is that bacteria and why don't we still see them being formed?
Some essential resource is clearly running out sometime after they are formed. Is it from the hands of miners, or is there some other source, bats roosting, for instance and perhaps you just need the perfect combination of events to trigger the process.

They also seem to be present regardless of the age of the mine, but some areas you'd think they'd be present are void of any sign of the growths.
Yes it’s very strange, I am still trying to figure out why we don’t see them in railway tunnels on metal brackets for example, also bunkers, both of which the can be in natrual rock with minerals occurring and are temperature controlled areas the same as a mine
 
Yes it’s very strange, I am still trying to figure out why we don’t see them in railway tunnels on metal brackets for example, also bunkers, both of which the can be in natrual rock with minerals occurring and are temperature controlled areas the same as a mine
Could be too much airflow, water, other things not condusive to good growing conditions... Whatever it is, it's a whole Phd for someone to pursue as above!
 

Mr Mike

Active member
Do rust oysters occur only in the underground environment ? Specifically are they only down mines? Do they occur on metalwork in caves?
 
Do rust oysters occur only in the underground environment ? Specifically are they only down mines? Do they occur on metalwork in caves?
Never seen them in caves nor above ground, but this might not mean a huge amount. Firstly there is very little undisturbed steelwork in caves, secondly there is often quite a through draught or moving water to varying amounts. I suspect these need a very stable environment.


They might develop shortly after the ventilation systems are shut down in the mines perhaps, when there is little rust on the metal. Maybe this is why we are not seeing them being formed to this day. But why are they not 'rusting' away?
 

tomferry

Active member
I would say 90% of the ones I have seen myself have been in areas of a strong airflow, mostly with water coming in through the roof or from
Stopes above. It makes me wonder more why they are in slate mines the few I have been in “very few” didn’t seem to have loads of minerals like lead mines

Part of me wonders if there is something missing in that report ? Possibly about the metal they was deposited on? Maybe the metal that got took in the mine originally had something in it which modern steel doesn’t .

Dunno just throwing it out there 😵‍💫

Still don’t think we truly understand them !
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Is it perhaps that it's something to do with the various differences between iron and steel? Maybe the higher carbon content of steel prevents them from forming as easily? That's a total guess though. My dad did metallurgy when was younger - maybe I should ask him.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Ooops - lower carbon. Anyway, I just rang my dad and he says he has no real idea either, though most of the sites he saw at work weren't abandoned obviously. He suspects it's primarily bacterial - and reminded me that 'rust' takes up more room than ordinary metal, so rather than them appearing to 'grow', it may just be the stuff moving around into looser configurations.
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
Well.. the volume of rust is greater than the volume of the unoxidised metal and this is why it (e.g. mild steel) rusts and forms a crusty layer which it sheds and continues to rust, or rebar rusts and swells and can crack and spalls of chunks of concrete from buildings.
If the volume of rust was about the same it would form a protective layer limiting or protecting it from further corrosion. There is a steel called coreten (or "core-ten" I think is the trade name) which is some fancy alloy to try to do that and weathers to form a protective layer, although the layer is weak and driving rain will loose it. A good example if you're up north is the "Angel of the North" or down south a big boring sculpture outside Liverpool Street station "Fulcrum" if you want to see coreten. It's not historical so we won't see any examples down abandoned mines. However it'd be interesting if the Angel of the North could be relocated inside Gaping Gill main chamber, maybe it could be inspected for oysters in 100 years, although I'd put a £5 that it wouldn't grow any. I'll add that to my list of things to do in case I become supreme ruler of the world one day, perhaps superglue Jeremy Clarkson to it in case decaying organic matter helps the oystering?
 
I have generally only seen these in areas with little airflow tbh.... Interesting.. Always wet but similar structures elsewhere in the mine under similar looking circumstances have been void of any.

@pwhole there are definately fungal elements as per the artical, but no doubt the fungus would feed off the bacteria waste.. We have a similar thing in West mine which leaves a purple coloured fungus, which relies on bacterial waste for nutrition. Why the bacteria/fungus only occur on a single bed is not known.....
 

CJ

Member
The question of the "rust oyster" is fairly new to me but I'm enjoying the fact that this topic has been resurfaced. I have just been looking into lichen, as I think there may be some vague similarities with regards to the sorts of complex symbiosis involved.
Wikipedia - Lichen: Symbiotic relation

One paragraph from the aforementioned link stood out to me:
"The lichen combination of alga or cyanobacterium with a fungus has a very different form (morphology), physiology, and biochemistry than the component fungus, alga, or cyanobacterium growing by itself, naturally or in culture. The body (thallus) of most lichens is different from those of either the fungus or alga growing separately. When grown in the laboratory in the absence of its photobiont, a lichen fungus develops as a structureless, undifferentiated mass of fungal filaments (hyphae). If combined with its photobiont under appropriate conditions, its characteristic form associated with the photobiont emerges, in the process called morphogenesis. In a few remarkable cases, a single lichen fungus can develop into two very different lichen forms when associating with either a green algal or a cyanobacterial symbiont. Quite naturally, these alternative forms were at first considered to be different species, until they were found growing in a conjoined manner"

As others have said, it would be fascinating to isolate the exact conditions required. I'd also like to know the shortest recorded time period for such oysters
 
The question of the "rust oyster" is fairly new to me but I'm enjoying the fact that this topic has been resurfaced. I have just been looking into lichen, as I think there may be some vague similarities with regards to the sorts of complex symbiosis involved.
Wikipedia - Lichen: Symbiotic relation

One paragraph from the aforementioned link stood out to me:
"The lichen combination of alga or cyanobacterium with a fungus has a very different form (morphology), physiology, and biochemistry than the component fungus, alga, or cyanobacterium growing by itself, naturally or in culture. The body (thallus) of most lichens is different from those of either the fungus or alga growing separately. When grown in the laboratory in the absence of its photobiont, a lichen fungus develops as a structureless, undifferentiated mass of fungal filaments (hyphae). If combined with its photobiont under appropriate conditions, its characteristic form associated with the photobiont emerges, in the process called morphogenesis. In a few remarkable cases, a single lichen fungus can develop into two very different lichen forms when associating with either a green algal or a cyanobacterial symbiont. Quite naturally, these alternative forms were at first considered to be different species, until they were found growing in a conjoined manner"

As others have said, it would be fascinating to isolate the exact conditions required. I'd also like to know the shortest recorded time period for such oysters
Someone needs to expose some fresh metal on the rusted pieces where they are known to grow, and see if any more appear!
 

LJR

Member
I have generally only seen these in areas with little airflow tbh.... Interesting.. Always wet but similar structures elsewhere in the mine under similar looking circumstances have been void of any.

@pwhole there are definately fungal elements as per the artical, but no doubt the fungus would feed off the bacteria waste.. We have a similar thing in West mine which leaves a purple coloured fungus, which relies on bacterial waste for nutrition. Why the bacteria/fungus only occur on a single bed is not known.....
That purple stuff is very weird. It completely ignores the beds above and below, even though they look like the same stuff!
 
That purple stuff is very weird. It completely ignores the beds above and below, even though they look like the same stuff!
Well Nigel says it was all over the sand when they accessed the mines in 1975, and there is a small chamber off the decline that has some in. But for sure, I think it all came from that bed!
 
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