|Yowah is a small town in outback western Queensland, Australia. Yowah is located 938 kilometres west of Brisbane and 132 kilometres west of Cunnamulla. The 2006 census revealed a population of 142.|
The town is famous for its opal mining and numerous opal fields that lie around the town as well as the "Yowah Nut" a local type of opal distinctive to the region.
The area was first leased in 1883 to perspective settlers and opal mining has been the main activity ever since.
|The Yowah field is an occurrence of opal in siliceous ironstone nodules generally referred to as Yowah Nuts. These nuts have a spherical or ellipsoidal shape, and show alternate bands of light- and dark-brown siliceous ironstone. There is sometimes a kernel of precious opal, which is the main source of the gem.|
The nuts are found in layers (150–600mm in thickness) at depths up to 20m in a ferruginous sandstone, and are commonly associated with mudstone fragments or clay pellets.
|Billed as the “finest opal ever,” the 'Virgin Rainbow' made its world debut at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide in September 2015.|
It is the centerpiece of a larger exhibition to commemorate the centenary of opal mining in Australia.
|Veteran miner John Dunstan is credited with discovering the Virgin Rainbow in the desert soil of Coober Pedy in South Australia in 2003.|
Dustan has mined opals for 50 years, but the internal fire of the Virgin Rainbow is unlike anything he’s ever seen.
Gibber plain near Coober Pedy
|Dustan explained that the Virgin Rainbow is a Belemnite pipe, which is essentially an opal that formed in the skeleton of an extinct ancestor of the common cuttlefish. As Dustan cleaned it off, he realized he made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.|
“I knew it was one of the best ever,” he said. “You’ll never see another piece like that one, it’s so special.