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Rocks, minerals, crystals and geology of Morocco

Famous Moroccan locations, including Toussit, Mibladen, Bou Azzer, Ouijda, and Aghbar have generated a staggering amount of exquisite minerals and crystals. Morocco has also produced outstanding azurites, cerussites, erythrites, apatites, calcites, wulfenites, acanthites, and other minerals. However, the country is likely best recognized for the premium vanadinites that come from there.

Diamond Transfers and Tours is extremely knowledgeable about the geology of Morocco. Additionally, we are highly educated about rocks, crystals, minerals and precious and semi-precious gems mined in the Kingdom. We have relationships with Morocco's finest and most reputable dealers in rare gemstones and minerals. Should you wish to acquire a piece during your trip, we will connect you with Morocco's foremost experts.

You can be assured of the most high-quality specimens at fair prices that are well below European and American retail prices for lower-quality pieces. The gems can be purchased raw or polished.

Read on to learn about Moroccan crystals, mines, and the history of our geology and tectonics.

Alphabetical list of minerals and crystals found in Morocco

  • Scorodite

  • Tarnowitzite

  • Acanthite

  • Acanthite

  • Amethyst (red)

  • Andalusite

  • Anglesite

  • Argentite

  • Azurite

  • Azurite

  • Baryte

  • Calcite (Cobaltian)

  • Cerussite

  • Chrysocolla

  • Cobaltoan Calcite

  • Coronadite

  • Djurleite

  • Djurleite

  • Dolomite

  • Erythrite

  • Feldspar

  • Galena Touissit

  • Goethite Taouz Caidat

  • Gold spinel

  • Gypsum

  • Hauyne

  • Hematite

  • Karibibite

  • Malachite

  • Meerschaum

  • Nepheline

  • Plumboan Aragonite

  • Quartz

  • Roselite

  • Smithsonite

  • Talmessite

  • Tourmaline

  • Vanadinite

  • Vanadinite (orange)

  • Wendwilsonite

  • Wulfenite

Morocco's geological history

Up to two billion years ago, Morocco's geology was developed during the Paleoproterozoic and maybe much earlier. The Pan-African orogeny impacted it, but the Hercynian orogeny that followed made fewer modifications and left the Maseta Domain, a sizable region of Paleozoic massifs still in place.

Massive sedimentary layers protected marine fossils during the Paleozoic. As Pangaea broke apart to form the Atlantic Ocean during the Mesozoic, basins and fault blocks were formed. These structures were covered in terrestrial and marine sediments, especially after a significant marine transgression submerged most of the area. The Rif area was created during the Cenozoic when a microcontinent composed of sedimentary rocks from the Triassic and Cretaceous clashed with northern Morocco. In addition to vast phosphate and salt reserves, Morocco has access to commodities, including lead, zinc, copper, and silver.

Tectonics of Morocco

North of Kerdous, the Quartzite Series formed thick quartzite layers, along with siltstone, pelite sandstones, and conglomerates in the Neoproterozoic, with intercalated stromatolite limestones. Sills and laccoliths of dolerite and a gabbro tholeiitic magma series intruded the Quartzite Series along sedimentary bedding.

The oldest rocks in Morocco are the Jbel Ouiharem augen gneiss and Oued Assemlil gneiss. The augen gneisses and metadolerite of the Zenaga Series experienced composite foliation, likely related to an ancient orogeny. The Zenaga Series is intruded by Paleoproterozoic granitoids, giving a young age constraint within the Precambrian. Granites from the Anti-Atlas Mountains yielded similar ages.

Morocco was affected by the Pan-African orogeny, which produced the Ouarzazate Series molasse deposits.

Geology of Morocco in the Paleozoic period (539-251 million years ago)

Overlying the Ouarzazate, the Adoudounian Series signaled the beginning of the Cambrian and was developed concurrently with the quick evolution of multicellular life. Conglomerate forms the series' foundation, and then marl, sandstones, and more carbonate sequences are added. Shale and limestone make up the Amouslek Formation, which is part of the Adounian Series and is rich in trilobite and archaeocyathid fossils from an Early Cambrian shallow marine habitat. Trilobites are also found in the Middle Cambrian Goulimine Quartzitic Series, even though the Late Cambrian is not exposed.

Ordovician strata, which are found overlying the Cambrian and contain trilobite and graptolite fossils, are composed of sandstones, micaceous clays, and some limestone. A glaciation visible in tillite occurs between the end of the Ordovician and the beginning of the Silurian.

Sandstones, shales, and black mudstones from the Silurian period are widespread in the middle Anti-Atlas, and they occasionally have carbonate nodules. Graptolites, lamellibranchs, and nautiloid fossils can be found in the eastern Anti-Atlas' black shale formations. In the western Anti-Atlas, Devonian mudstones overrun the Late Silurian with limestone layers, brachiopod, conodont, tentaculite fossils, and basalts found in the east. The Draa plains' cuesta hills and the northern margin of the Tindouf Basin are composed of carboniferous rock. Platforms made of condensed limestone with historical cephalopod fossils can be found in the central and eastern Anti-Atlas.

The Hercynian orogeny, when Euramerica and Gondwana merged to produce the supercontinent Pangaea, had little effect on the tectonic structure of the Anti-Atlas. There is hardly any metamorphism in the mountains and no Hercynian granites.

The Meseta Domain is a region of stable Paleozoic rock that was never disturbed by the Hercynian orogeny and was later covered by Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks. It gets its name from Spain's Meseta Central inner plateau. The Meseta Domain, which makes up Morocco's Central Massif, totally obscures Precambrian rocks, while boreholes have revealed Neoproterozoic stones in a Meseta anticline.

The Middle Atlas fold belt divides the domain in half. The Eastern Meseta, which shares a border with Algeria, features numerous minor Paleozoic massifs, while the Western Meseta has comparatively little sedimentary cover and well-developed massifs. Western Morocco and the Anti-Atlas shared the same depositional environment—molasse redbed deposition and post-orogeny volcanism—from the Neoproterozoic to the Middle Devonian.

Massive shallow marine shelves inundated southern Morocco, accumulating substantial carbonates and mixing them with continental sediments from inland regions today in the Sahara. Western Morocco and the Anti-Atlas divided into fault-bounded basins in the Late Devonian, which underwent deformation during the Hercynian orogeny.

Geology of Morocco in the Mesozoic period (251-66 million years ago)

Evidence of the creation of the Atlantic edge in North Africa is still present in the Western High Atlas. The Atlantic Ocean was first formed by rifting in central Pangaea during the Late Triassic.

Fluvial sandstones, mudstones, and conglomerates intercalated with evaporite sequences of dolomite, halite, and gypsum started to fill the down-dropped grabens as a result of large alluvial fans. The Triassic sequence was completed by the formation of dolerite by a tholeiitic magma series. Throughout the Jurassic, sediments from the Clastic kept accumulating. In the Middle Jurassic, limestone shoals developed simultaneously on fault blocks as olistostrome slump deposits amassed limestone shards in the neighboring deep sea.

The Rifo-Tellian Domain currently covers the entire Maghreb, sometimes referred to as the Rif Domain, which shares a strong relationship with the Baetic System mountains in southern Spain. The Rif Mountains include sediments that were part of a microcontinent that was part of the Triassic era when Tunisia is where it is now.

A large-scale marine transgression caused the maximum extent of the oceans in Morocco in the Cretaceous simultaneously as the sinking in the area. Sea levels in the region were reduced by a marine regression at the end of the Cretaceous as the Atlas Mountains rose. River delta fans prograded and filled the Atlas gulf from east to west. Border faults developed and pushed Mesozoic rock fragments onto adjacent platforms. Marginal foredeep areas were filled in due to the uplifted sedimentary rocks in the trough starting to erode into new alluvial fans.

Geology of Morocco in the Cenozoic period (66 million years ago-present)

In the Oligocene and Miocene eras, the Rift microcontinent moved westward and collided with the African Plate, creating the intricate Rift overthrust. In north Morocco, seismic research has revealed that Carnian sandstones, mudstones, and conglomerates from the Triassic sit unevenly on top of the crystalline basement rock of the microcontinent. Quaternary rocks cover the Doukkala sub-marls basin and carbonates from the Miocene and Pliocene.

Further west, Middle Cretaceous sedimentary strata are surrounded by Quaternary stones, which are incongruously layered on Triassic and Paleozoic groups.

Alphabetical list of mines in Morocco (partial)

  • ACF Mine (incl. Coud'a shaft; Coudia shaft), Mibladene (Mibladen; Mibladan; Miblanden), Upper Moulouya lead district, Midelt, Khenifra Province, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Aghbar Mine (Arhbar Mine), Aghbar, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Souss-Massa-Draa Region, Morocco

  • Aghbar Mine, Aghbar, Zagora Prov., Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Aghbar Mine, Bou Azzer mining district., Drâa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Quarzazate Province, Morocco

  • Agoudal Mines, Bou Azzer mining dist., Drâa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Ait Agmane, Bou Azer District, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco

  • Aouint Ighoman, Assa-Zag Prov., Guelmim-Oued Noun Region, Morocco

  • Bou Azer, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Souss-Massa-Draa Region, Morocco

  • Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco

  • Bou Azzer Mine, Ouarzazate Prov., Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Bou Beker, near Touissit, Morocco

  • Candy Cane Pocket, Beni Bouzra, Chefchaouen, Tangier, Morocco

  • Imiter Mine, Atlas Mountains, Quarzazate Province, Morocco

  • Jebel Bou-Agrao, Khenifra Province, Beni Mellal-Khenifra Region, Morocco

  • Mefis, Taouz, Er Rachidia Province, Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Mibladen mining district, Midelt Province, Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Mibladen, Midelt Province, Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Oumlil Mine, Zagora Province, Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Taouz Caidat, Errachidia Province, Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Taouz, Draa-Tafilalet, Morocco

  • Tinejdad, Errachidia Province, Draa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

  • Touissit Mine, Jerada Province, Oriental Region, Morocco

  • Touissit Mine,South of Ouijda, Atlas Mtns., Morocco

  • Touissit, Touissit District, Jerada Province, Oriental Region, Morocco

  • Touissit-Bou Beker mining district, Jerada Province, Oriental Region, Morocco

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