Zebra rock

Collection Highlights | Updated 2 years ago

A stripy brown and white rock slab
Zebra Rock
Image copyright of WA Museum

This distinctive reddish-brown and white-banded sedimentary rock from the east Kimberley of Western Australia is called ‘zebra rock’ or ‘zebra stone’.

Composed essentially of small particles of quartz and ‘sericite’ (fine-grained white mica), zebra rock also contains the minerals kaolinite, dickite and alunite.

Known localities of the zebra rock lie close to the Ord River where the rock forms lenses and seams within the Johnny Cake Shale Member of the Ranford Formation, which formed during the late Precambrian (around 670 million years ago).
 Some seams of zebra rock are continuous over many kilometres.

The colour banding of zebra rock probably formed by the rhythmic precipitation of iron oxide (hematite) rich bands during the alteration of the rock by percolating fluids (fluids migrating through the rock).

Zebra rock has been used largely as an ornamental stone for carvings, some costume jewellery, inlays, paper weights and figurines. Several unique items of hollow ware, such as decorative vases and lidded pots have been produced from zebra rock, sometimes combined with local Kimberley woods.

Rock Collection