During the Second World War, when this photograph was taken, a shortage of mica sparked a search for possible New Zealand sources as part of the war effort. The mineral was used in radio condensers and in aircraft as spark-plug washers. The search focused on the hills of South Westland, where dykes known as pegmatites occur in the rock. These contain large-grained minerals, including muscovite mica. However, the New Zealand deposits proved too small, and inferior to those overseas.
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Photograph by Harold Wellman
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