Definitions

serpentine

serpentine

[sur-puhn-teen, -tahyn]
serpentine, hydrous silicate of magnesium. It occurs in crystalline form only as a pseudomorph having the form of some other mineral and is generally found in the form of chrysotile (silky fibers) and antigorite and lizardite (which are both tabular). Chrysotile is also known as commercial asbestos which has been used for fireproofing and insulating material. It is commonly some shade of green, but may also be reddish, yellowish, black, or nearly white. It has a greasy or silky luster and is often translucent, even in large masses. Serpentine can be found in igneous rock, but it is more often a secondary mineral, usually resulting from the alteration of minerals or rocks containing magnesium, and it occurs very widely throughout the world, mainly as a product of metamorphism in rocks rich in olivine, pyroxene and amphibole. Serpentine rocks and basalts in the central zone of the Appalachian Mts of the eastern United States represent sutures of old oceanic crust, known as ophiolites, crushed between colliding continents. Essentially all lower crust and upper mantle rocks recovered from the mid-ocean ridges have been serpentinized to some degree by reaction with seawater. Serpentine rocks are classified as common serpentine and precious serpentine, the common serpentine being darker, less translucent, and sometimes impure. Serpentine is sometimes used as a gem and the massive varieties are quarried. Used like marble for decorative purposes, when serpentine is mixed with calcite, dolomite, or magnesite, a mottled or veined rock called verd antique is produced, although the masses are frequently jointed and only small slabs can be secured. Serpentine takes a beautiful high polish, but it is easily cracked and discolored by exposure to the weather and is consequently of little value for exterior use. Serpentine deposits are found in Canada, S Africa, and Vermont and Arizona in the United States.

Any of a group of magnesium-rich silicate minerals whose composition resembles Mg3Si2O5(OH)4. Serpentine generally occurs in three forms: as chrysotile, the most common variety of asbestos; and as antigorite or lizardite, both of which are commonly massive and fine-grained. Named in allusion to its resemblance to a snake's skin, serpentine is usually grayish, white, or green but may be yellow or green-blue. It takes a high polish and is sometimes used as an ornamental stone.

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Serpentine is a town located south-southeast of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and 7 km south of Mundijong. Serpentine is located on the South Western Railway between Perth and Bunbury, and was one of the original stations when the line was opened in 1893.

In 1891 the government had opened up land in the area by declaring the Serpentine Agricultural Area, and in 1893 decided there was sufficient demand for town lots by gazetting the Townsite of Serpentine in December 1893. The townsite derives its name from the nearby Serpentine River. The name is descriptive, derived from the "serpentine" nature of the river in its lower reaches where it was discovered and named in the early 1830s.

It is also the location of the Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery.

Serpentine also serves as a stop on the Australind passenger train from Perth to Bunbury.

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