This site was last updated on June, 2010
Definitions and Scope:

The best website on "Herkimer Diamonds"

Here is a list of all the research, and or work, that needs to be added on to this website.  Included is an estimation of it's progress and needs. You can look over the list and see where it is you can help.

Some of the information below is scientific and you may need to read over various sections of this website to understand the material that is discussed below.  Use the links at the top of the page to find more information.

Please help with picture and sample donations!

Herkimer Diamond Research Project List

A public service project always open to input  from the community interested in Herkimer diamonds.

The Name of the Project

Progress Being Made on, and Needs of, the Project

 Regional Mineralization Sequence
 Deposit Mineralization Sequence



Basic information collected.  Photo work and graphic display needed. Photos of minerals "overlapping" are needed.
Information collected on two deposiat (DA and TCR).  Photo work and graphic displays needed for both deposits is being developed.  More donated "junk" samples and mineral specimen photos are needed from all other deposits in the Herkimer District.
 Herkimer District Mapping


Basic maps are available but mineral locations have not been plotted on all the various maps.  Graphic displays are not available showing the deposits on these these maps.  Detailed mapping around each deposits has not been done.

 Herkimer District Dating


Awaiting "uncontaminated" clay samples and samples of galena. Preliminary dating based on relationship to faulting needs to be reexamined. It may be possible to use the uranium in the black carbon for dating.  One cup of sorted black carbon from each deposit is needed.  Where possible multiple samples from a single deposit will help.
 Fluid Inclusion Work


There are clearly multipl quartz phases in the Herkimer districtr.  Fluid inclusion work on all of them across all the deoposits remains to be done.  Although an ambitious goal, it is one that does not require pristine samples.  Just donations from the public of "junk" specimens.  A special part of this study will be the analysis of "golden enydros", or oil within fluid inclusions (John Parnell).  Donations of "enhydros", in particular "golden enhydros", are needed from all deposits. 

 Looking at the "Black Material"


People with field experience collecting Herkimer diamonds know the relationship between the black carbon and the clear Herkimer diamonds.  But why does this relationship occur? It may be that the black material  associated with Herkimer diamonds is not always the same.   It is likely that the "black carbon material" varies in composition and most is due to migrating hydrocarbon fluids and NOT original to the host rock.  Gradually, as this research project unfolds, more evidence will be gathered about the relationship between the carbon material and Herkimer diamonds.  We have made some progress on this (see the New Theory page).
 Special Crystalization Issues


There are several specific crystalization issues that need to be addressed: Why the link between "black material" and clear crystals?  How do the skeletal/hopper crystals form, why the large variation in skeletal patterns and how do they fit into the larger picture? What  is the relation of the "baby floater" stage to the larger picture?  There is research being done (by John Quaif) on trying to grow Herkimer's in the lab and that will help with some of these questions.  There is still more work to be done on factors affecting quartz  crystalization episodes in the Herkimer district and the observed variations.

 Karst versus Shard Breccia


There seems to be clear evidence that both of these events happened in the district, and probably more than once.  Sorting out the features related to each has yet to be done.  It is likely that there were 1) paleokarst events which occured before the Herkimer mineralization - preparing the host rock by making more openings,  and 2) recent karst events after the Herkimer mineralization which created "dry holes" with a smooth and rounded surface.  There are also "shard breccias" or sharp angular fragments that are cemented by minerals.  Shard breccias likely occured in direct association with the Herkimer mineralization.  What is the relationship between the various "opening making" episodes and the formation of Herkimer diamonds?  Some of this may be answerd through a study of the HBQ.  See the link:

 The Stromatolite Question


There is some evidence that stomatolites occur in the same host rock as the Herkimer diamonds, but why is mostly a guess.  There is some research being done on "carbon material" in association with older stromatolites (Russel Shapiro). More research on this association in the Herkimer host rock needs to be done, perhaps looking at the role of "framework" stromatolites which may have helped to create the first large "open holes" in the host rock and at least may have introduced a greater porosity.  The proposed idea that large amounts of "black carbon material"  were original to the time when the stromatolites were formed is very doubtful and needs to be revaluated based on the new evidence linking the carbon material to oil migration.

As stated on the front page of this website, there are many Herkimer diamond theories out on the internet.  Some of the ideas are obviously false.  But others, some in older articles, contain some interesting ideas.  But almost all of this information has not included the most recent research, has not addressed all of the observed features within the Herkimer diamond deposits and in addition has not addressed the above stated research concerns.   It is hoped that with the help of the public the research concerns listed above can be addressed and the result will be a much more complete understanding of how Herkimer diamonds were formed.  If there is a fond place in your heart for Herkimer diamonds, or if you just would like to know more, please take the time to contribute.  Visit the "How can I help page?" and look through the options and decide what you can do.
Click on the link below
Web page author - W. David Hoisington, Ph.D.
There are some basic questions we are examining with the Herkimer diamond research:
Why are the deposits across the district slightly different from each others?
How did the Herkimer deposits form?
Why are some Herkimer diamonds so clear?
What is a reasonable age for when the Herkimer deposits were formed?
Is there a similarity to carbonate gas deposits in NY?  Or to MVT mineral deposits?
Below is a list of the projects we hope to work on in the coming years.  Help from the public is always appreciated.  The Herkimer diamond mining district is over 60 km long, and there is a lot of work to do. If you would like to help with any of this research then please send an email and a description of what you would like to do.
Research Projects That Need to Be Done:
 The Question of Zoning


There is some evidence that zoning may occur within a single pocket with the black carbon material packed at the top and the quartz on the bottom.  There are reports that the larger pockets at HBQ show quartz-calcite zoning. There also appear to be different "zones" on mineralization with different feaetures ( see the page on zones).

Exactly what is the relationship of one zone to another?  Why are there different zones?  How do they behave, or change, across long distances?  Something that could be answered through a study of HBQ.