NPS Digest is reporting this morning that in September of 2011, park rangers discovered an area just below the Blue Ridge Parkway, near the Mt. Mitchell area, where recent digging into an old gem mine was apparent. The area was monitored as digging continued.
Kyanite is a typically blue silicate mineral, commonly found in aluminium-rich sedimentary rock. It's used primarily in refractory and ceramic products, including porcelain plumbing fixtures and dishware. It's also used in electronics, electrical insulators and abrasives.