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The Mineral calcite

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Calcite is the one of the most common minerals on earth. It occurs in a seemingly unlimited variety of shapes and colors. It constitutes a major portion of many of the earth's rocks. Calcite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, have perfect rhombohedral cleavage, and exhibit strong double refraction in transparent rhombohedrons. Calcite and Aragonite are polymorphous to each other. Although Calcite and Aragonite contain the same chemical composition, they differ in crystal structure. Calcite forms trigonal crystals, whereas Aragonite forms orthorhombic crystals. Sometimes the crystals of Calcite and Aragonite are too small to be detected, and it is only possible to distinguish these two minerals by complex scientific optical tests. Since the true identity of microcrystalline forms of Calcite or Aragonite may not known, they may be mislabeled as the wrong mineral. A microcrystalline type of Calcite in globular form is common in certain regions. This Calcite forms from precipitating calcium-rich water inside caverns or on limestone cliffs. It exists in the form of stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone, and strange globular growths. These growths constantly accumulate, forming layers. They are frequently impure, trapping in organic matter such as leaves, twigs, and moss as they accumulate. Because of their impure status, they are classified by some as rocks. These calcareous growths have designated names based on their shape, habit, or formation. Most of these growths are Calcite, but some are crystallized as Aragonite. The environment of formation, however, can be a key guide to whether the mineral crystallized as Calcite or Aragonite. Aragonite will generally develop only at hot springs, whereas most other calcareous growths will be Calcite. Calcite may form as an undesirable coating on top of another mineral. The calcite can be easily burned off by soaking it in acid, which will cause it to effervesce and eventually dissolve, leaving the mineral below exposed.

Chemical Formula CaCO3 Composition Calcium carbonate, sometimes with impurities of iron, magnesium, or manganese, and occasionally zinc and cobalt. (Ca,Fe,Mg,Mn,Zn,Co)CO3 Colorless, white, yellow, brown, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, green, gray, black. May also be multicolored or banded. White 3 Hexagonal

Variable Formula Color Streak Hardness Crystal System 3D Crystal Atlas


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Crystal Forms and Aggregates

Occurs in a great variety of shapes, with the most common forms asrhombohedral and scalenohedral crystals. Crystals may be tabular, acicular, prismatic, flaky, and needle-like. May occur as bundles of scalenohedrons, intergrown rhombohedrons, hair-like masses of acicular crystals, grainy, stalactitic, fibrous, massive, and earthy. Scalenohedral twinning is common. Transparent to opaque 2.7 Vitreous 1,3 - rhombohedral Conchoidal. Rarely observed due to the perfect cleavage. Brittle 1) Commonly fluorescent; specimens from different localities fluoresce different colors. Some Calcite is also phosphorescent. 2) Transparent crystals exhibit strong double refraction. 3) May be thermoluminescent. 1) Effervescent in hydrochloric acid and most other acids. 2) Calcite that doesn't fluoresce usually becomes fluorescent upon heating. Carbonates; Calcite Group Hardness, cleavage, fluorescence, and effervescence with hydrochloric acid. Calcite is a constituent of all mineral environment, including sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. 1 1 1

Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Other ID Marks

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Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3) Calcite ON EBAY

OTHER NAMES Calcspar VARIETIES

Agaric Mineral

- Crumbly white Calcite found on cavern floors near stalagmites and stalactites.

Aphrite - Lamellar variety of Calcite.

Cobaltocalcite - Cobaltocalcite refers to an intermediary mineral between Calcite and Sphaerocobaltite in a solid solution series. It is generally looked at as a cobalt-rich variety of Calcite, but can also be looked as a calcium-rich variety of Sphaerocobaltite. The chemical formula of Cobaltocalcite is (Ca,Co)CO3. (Cobaltocalcite may also be mistakenly used as a synonym for Sphaerocobaltite.)

Corn Spar - Calcite aggregate resembling a corn cob with distinct kernels.

Dogtooth Calcite - Calcite in groupings of thick and pointy scalenohedral crystals.

Flowstone - Calcite formed by mineral-rich water that deposits the dissolved mineral on the walls of caverns and cliffs, forming a smooth and humpy growth.

Hog-toothed Spar - Calcite with long, sharp, incisor-like crystals.

Iceland Spar - Large, transparent, colorless to lightly colored, rhombohedral variety of Calcite. Double refraction is especially noted in Iceland Spar crystals. (Iceland Spar may occasionally also be used as a synonym for Calcite.)

Nail Head Spar - Calcite crystals resembling a nail, with a triangular cross section head atop a long and thin prismatic crystal. May also refer to two perpendicular scalenohedral crystals intersecting in the shape of a "T".

Onyx Marble - Travertine or Tufa in the mineral form of Aragonite or Calcite that exhibits color banding.

Optical Calcite - Synonym of Iceland Spar.

Rice Grain Spar - Calcite grouping of small, white scalenohedral crystals appearing as grains of rice.

Salmon Calcite - Orange-red, "salmon" colored variety of Calcite that is usually opaque.

Sand Calcite - Calcite that trapped particles of sand in its interior when it formed

Satin Spar - Fibrous variety of Gypsum. May occasionally also describe a fibrous form of Calcite or Aragonite.

Stalactite

- Icicle-like mineral formation (usually Calcite) found on the roof of caverns, created when mineral-rich water drips down and the dissolved mineral accumulates into the icicle-like formation.

Stalagmite - Tall, domed mineral formation (usually Calcite) on the bottom of caverns that from from the build-up of mineral-rich water that deposits the dissolved mineral on the cavern floor.

Travertine - Mounds of calcium carbonate formed from hot springs that contain calcium-rich water that bubbles up to the earth and cools down, and its capability to hold calcium is reduced. The water eliminates the calcium, and the calcium forms a growing mound of calcium carbonate, which is porous. Travertine is usually Aragonite, although it may also be Calcite.

Tufa - Aragonite (or Calcite) formed from precipitating water that traps in organic matter, such as leaves, twigs, and moss. Also calcareous mounds formed from deposition of hot springs that trap in organic matter. POLYMORPHS Aragonite, Vaterite

USES Calcite is the primary ore of calcium. Calcite is indispensable in the construction industry, forming the base of cement. Many important chemicals are created from Calcite, as well as useful drugs. It is also crucial in the manufacture of fertilizers, metals, glass, rubber, and paint. The transparent Iceland Spar variety, in wh

The Mineral magnesite

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The most common form of Magnesite is white, microcrystalline, porous masses that are dull in luster, and have the appearance of unglazed porcelain. Because they are porous, they adhere to the tongue when licked. An interesting Magnesite occurrence is in Brumado, Brazil, where a deposit of clear, well formed, rhombohedrons similar to Iceland Spar Calcite found. Until this find, such crystals were, although identical in appearance to Iceland Spar Calcite, they are much rarer and sought after. Common Iceland Spar Calcite has been wrongly labeled by some unscrupulous dealers as Magnesite to stimulate sales.

Magnesite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, have perfect rhombohedral cleavage, and exhibit strong double refraction in transparent rhombohedrons.

Chemical Formula MgCO3 Composition Variable Formula Color Streak Hardness Crystal System 3D Crystal Atlas
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Magnesium carbonate, commonly with some iron and calcium (Mg,Fe,Ca)CO3 Colorless, white, gray, yellow, brown, orange, light pink White 3.5 - 4 Hexagonal

Crystal Forms and Aggregates

Magnesite is not common in well formed crystals. Crystals are rhombohedral, sometimes single but more commonly in groupings and as cleavage fragments. Crystals may also be groupings of thin hexagonal plates, or as prismatic crystals. The most common form of Magnesite is in massive, compact, porous masses that are dull in luster. Also occurs grainy, coxcomb, botryoidal, in groups of thin, prismatic needles, and as small rounded balls. Transparent to nearly opaque 3.0 - 3.3 Vitreous to dull 1,3 - rhombohedral Conchoidal to even Brittle 1) Massive, porous specimens will stick to the tongue if licked. 2) Occasionally fluorescent blue or green. Effervesces in hot hydrochloric acid Carbonates; Calcite Group In metamorphic serpentine rock and hornfels, in hydrothermal deposits, and in sedimentary beds. 2 2

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Magnesite ON EBAY

VARIETIES

Breunnerite - Iron rich variety of Magnesite. Synonym of Ferro-magnesite.

Ferro-magnesite - Iron rich variety of Magnesite, containing a greater amount of magnesium over iron. Its chemical formula is (Mg,Fe)CO3. If the amount of iron exceeds the magnesium, the mineral is called Sideroplesite which is a magnesium rich variety of Siderite.

Iceland Spar Magnesite - Clear, transparent, Magnesite rhombohedrons that resemble the Iceland Spar variety of Calcite. USES Magnesite is an important ore of magnesium, and used as insulating material. White Magnesite is also used as a minor collectors gemstone, polished into beads and spheres as well as carved into figures. These forms of Magnesite often have black or brown rock veins running through the mineral.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES Excellent specimens came from Styria, Austria, especially at Oberdorf. Other European occurrences are Laach lake, Eifel Mts, Germany, where it occurs as rounded balls; Monterufoli, Pomarance, Tuscany, Italy; the Azcarate Quarry, Eugui, Navarre, Spain; and Albatera, Alicante, Spain. In Australia good Magnesite comes from Mt. Bischoff, Waratah, Tasmania; and in China good specimens from Shangbao, Hunan Province. Clear crystals identical in appearance to the Iceland Spar variety of Calcite occur in Brumado, Bahia, Brazil, which is perhaps the most famous occurrence of this mineral. U.S. occurencess are the Cedar Hill Quarry, Fulton, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania; Wood's Chrome Mine, Texas, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania; Bisbee, Cochise Co., Arizona; Gabbs,

Nye Co., Nevada; and in Serpentine at Staten Island, (Richmond Co.), New York. COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Calcite, Dolomite, Aragonite, Serpentine, Strontianite, Quartz, Brucite, Artinite DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS Calcite - The rare transparent Magnesite rhombohedrons appear identical to Calcite%, but can be distinguished by the slight hardness difference, and more efficiently by the fact that Calcite effervesces even in cold and diluted hydrochloric acid, whereas Magnesite only in hot, undiluted hydrochloric acid. Dolomite - Cannot be distinguished from Magnesite by ordinary methods. However, Dolomite usually forms as curved crystals, whereas Magnesite does not.

The Mineral siderite

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Siderite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, and have perfect rhombohedral cleavage. Siderite is easily altered to iron oxides. A brown Goethite replacement of Siderite is common. Limonite, an amorphous mineral, is commonly found in rhombohedral crystals, as it frequently pseudomorphs after Siderite. Concretionary Siderite nodules are noted for containing a wide variety of flora and fauna fossils, especially in the open-pit coal mining operations of eastern Illinois and western Indiana, where these concretions are common in the rock removed before the coal veins are exposed.

Chemical Formula FeCO3 Composition Iron carbonate, usually containing some magnesium and calcium, sometimes also magnesium, zinc, and cobalt. (Fe,Mg,Ca,Mn,Zn,Co)CO3 Light to dark brown, yellow-brown, light yellow, yellow-green, greenish-brown, gray, and white. White 3.5 - 4 Hexagonal

Variable Formula Color Streak Hardness Crystal System 3D Crystal Atlas


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Crystal Forms and Aggregates

Occurs as rhombohedral crystals, usually with curved, saddle-like faces, or with completely rounded faces. Seldom occurs in

scalenohedral crystals. Most commonly in coxcomb and platy aggregates of curved crystals. Also massive, botryoidal, mammilary, stalactitic, oolitic, grainy, radial, fibrous, wheat sheaf, nodular, concretionary, and in rounded balls. Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Complex Tests In Group Striking Features Environment Rarely transparent; usually translucent to nearly opaque 3.7 - 3.9 Vitreous, pearly 1,3 - rhombohedral Conchoidal to uneven Brittle 1) Becomes attracted to magnetic fields when heated. 2) Effervesces in hot hydrochloric acid. Carbonates; Calcite Group Color and crystal forms, cleavage, and white streak In sedimentary beds, medium and low temperature hydrothermal ore veins, and in nepheline syenite pegmatites. 2 2 2

Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3) Siderite ON EBAY

OTHER NAMES Chalybite VARIETIES

Clay Ironstone - Concretionary variety of Siderite.

Oligonite - Oligonite, also known as Oligon Spar, is a manganese rich variety of Siderite, containing a greater amount of iron over manganese. Its chemical formula is (Fe,Mn)CO3.

Sideroplesite - Sideroplesite, also known as Magniosiderite, is a magnesium rich variety of Siderite, containing a greater amount of iron over magnesium. Its chemical formula is (Fe,Mg)CO3.

Sphaerosiderite - Spherulitic variety of Siderite, forming rounded masses from radiating crystals. USES Siderite is an ore of iron in some iron deposits. NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES Two classic Siderite occurrences in Europe are Neudorf in the Harz Mountains in Germany, and Panasqueira, Portugal. Excellent gemmy greenish crystals come from Isere, especially Allevard, France. In Romania, many fine specimens have come from numerous mines in Mamarues Co., especially at Kapnik and the Turt Mine. In England specimens have come from the Carn Brea area, in Cornwall. Platy crystals are abundant in China in the Yaogangxian Mine, Hunan Province. Odd, ball shaped Siderite has come from Dal'negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia. Excellent Siderite pseudomorphs after Calcite come from Aggeneys, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. In South America, some of the best examples of this mineral, in transparent gemmy form, is Morro Velho, Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Large and usually dark brown crystals come from the Julcani District, Huancavelica, Peru. In Ivigtut, Greenland, Siderite crystals were found associated with the rare mineral Cryolite. Canada has one of the best occurrences of this mineral in Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec. In the U.S., good Siderite comes from a vein in Roxbury, Litchfield Co., Connecticut, with some specimens altered to Limonite. It has also been found in the Eagle mine, Gilman Co., Colorado; Bisbee, Cochise Co., Arizona; Kellogg, Shoshone Co., Idaho; and Hiddenite, Alexander Co., North Carolina, which is one of the best U.S. localities for this mineral.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Calcite, Limonite, Quartz, Galena, Chalcopyrite, Sphalerite, Stibnite, Barite, Fluorite DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS Dolomite - Lighter in weight, does not become attracted to magnetic fields when heated. Difficult to distinguish by appearance alone. Calcite - Lighter in weight.

Sphalerite - Different cleavage, doesn't effervesce in hydrochloric acid, does not become magnetic when heated. Chabazite - Usually occurs in different mineral environments.

The Mineral rhodochrosite

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Rhodochrosite is one of the prettiest and desirable of all minerals. Its deep red and hot pink crystals are extremely sought after and good crystals command extremely high prices. Especially desirable are the beautiful intensely colored rhombohedrons from the Sweet Home Mine in Colorado. This mine provided a fascinating discovery in the 1960's of some of the largest and most stunning Rhodochrosite crystals ever found. The largest Rhodochrosite crystal, called the "Alma King", is a single 15 cm crystal that was found in the Sweet Home Mine in 1992. South Africa and Peru also produce intense red transparent scalenohedrons that are extremely desirable to collectors and very highly priced. These Rhodochrosite specimens are considered by many to be the most beautiful of all minerals. A very interesting occurrence of this mineral is in Argentina, where Rhodochrosite forms stalagmites and stalactites in the 13th century Inca Silver mines. They formed from precipitating water dripping from the manganese-rich rock inside the ancient mine tunnels, and kept on growing over the centuries into large stalagmites. These stalagmites are beautifully banded with concentric growth layers and are often sliced and polished into slabs for collectors. Rhodochrosite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, have perfect rhombohedral cleavage, and exhibit strong double refraction. When Rhodochrosite is exposed to the atmosphere, it may develop a thin film of manganese oxide on its surface. This may slightly darken the color of a specimen. Rhodochrosite sometimes alters into black manganese oxides (such as Pyrolusite, Manganite, and Psilomelane), and black manganese oxide stains are usually associated with Rhodochrosite.

Chemical Formula MnCO3 Composition Manganese carbonate, sometimes containing some iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and cobalt. (Mn,Fe,Mg,Ca,Zn,Co)CO3 Bright red, hot pink, light pink, orange-red, brown, gray; may also be banded light and dark pink. White 3.5 - 4 Hexagonal

Variable Formula Color Streak Hardness Crystal System 3D Crystal Atlas


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Crystal Forms

Occurs as rhombohedral and scalenohedral crystals. Dense clusters of

and Aggregates

rhombohedral crystals, as well as parallel bundles of scalenohedral crystals also occur. An interesting form is in curved, saddle-shaped crystal groupings. Other habits are botryoidal, grainy, encrusting, radiating, massive, stalactitic, and as veins. Transparent to opaque 3.3 - 3.6 Vitreous to pearly 1,3 - rhombohedral Conchoidal to even Brittle 1) Occasionally darkens upon exposure to air. 2) Occasionally fluorescent dark red. Slowly effervesces and dissolves in cold hydrochloric acid; this effect is much more pronounced in warm acid. Carbonates; Calcite Group Color combined with crystal form, hardness, and cleavage Hydrothermal veins associated with Silver, Copper, and lead sulfides; may also be found in some pegmatites. 2 2 1

Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Other ID Marks

Complex Tests In Group Striking Features Environment Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3)

Rhodochrosite ON EBAY

OTHER NAMES Inca Rose Raspberry Spar VARIETIES

Capillitite - Yellowish and gray banded, iron and zinc-rich variety of Rhodochrosite found in Capillitas, Catamarca, Argentina.

Kutnohorite - Calcium rich variety of Rhodochrosite, or intermediary series mineral between Rhodochrosite and Aragonite. Kutnahorite is scientifically recognized as an individual mineral type.

Rosinca - Banded, stalactitic variety of Rhodochrosite found in Catamarca, Argentina. USES The banded stalactitic material from Catamarca, Argentina is used as a gemstone. It is carved into ornaments and figures, and polished into cabochons and beads for jewelry. Clear transparent Rhodochrosite is faceted into cut gems, but only for collectors. The deeply colored Rhodochrosite specimens are extremely desired by collectors and it is one of the most popular minerals among mineral enthusiasts. Rhodochrosite is also used as an ore of manganese.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES Rhodochrosite comes from a surprisingly varied amount of localities, although good specimens are far less common. Only localities that are well-known are mentioned here. Banded Rhodochrosite stalagmites and stalactites come from the the Capillitas Mine, Catamarca, Argentina. Deeply colored and gemmy scalenohedral crystals come from Peru in the Huayllapon mine in the Pasto Bueno District, Ancash; the Huaron mine, Cerro de Pasco; and in the Uchucchacua Mine, Oyon Province, Lima Dept. Curved, saddle-shaped crystal groupings come from Huachocolpa, Huancavelca Dept., Peru. In Mexico, good crystals come from both Santa Eulalia, Chihuahua, and Cananea, Sonora, while pink rounded aggregates from Los Remedios Mine, Taxco, Guerro. One of the most famous forms of Rhodochrosite are the blood red, clear, scalenohedral crystals that come from the Kalahari Manganese fields of South Africa, in Hotazel and the N'Chwaning Mines of Kuruman. Dark red Rhodochrosite crystals come from the Moanda Mine, Leboumbi-Leyou, Gabon. A recent supplier of outstanding Rhodochrosite specimens including some very large crystals is the Wudong Mine, Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang, China. Banded Rhodochrosite has come from Japan in the Inakuraishi mine, Shiribeshi Province; and from the Oppu mine, Aomori Prefecture. Very strange pseudomorphs of Rhodochrosite over organic material such as shells come from the Kerch peninsula, Crimea, Ukraine. The most classic European locality is the Wolf Mine in Herdorf, Siegerland, Germany, where Rhodochrosite formed in unique botryoidal aggregatess and in long, pointed, terminated

crystals. Specimens from the Wolf Mine are very difficult to obtain. Good, mostly pink specimens have also come from Europe in Kapnik, Romania. The U.S. has many excellent Rhodochrosite localities, and mines yielding the most beautiful crystals are in Colorado, particularly the Sweet Home Mine near Alma, Park Co., which is the most famous and coveted of Rhodochrosite localities. This mine was originally worked for the Silver it produced, but then stunning, bright red Rhodochrosite specimens started coming out of the mine. The mine was reopened until recently strictly for Rhodochrosite specimen production. Fine specimens have also been obtained in Colorado at Climax, Lake Co.; the Mt. Monarch Mine, Ouray Co.; the Eagle Mine, Gilman Co.; and the Silverton mining district (especially the American Tunnel/Sunnyside Mine) in San Juan Co. Large crystals and aggregates, pink in color, were found in Butte, Silver Bow Co., and in Phillipsburg, Granite Co., Montana. In Canada, dark reddish-brown rhombohedrons come from the famous locality of Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Quartz, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Sphalerite, Pyrite, Fluorite, Limonite, Pyrolusite, Manganite, Psilomelane DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS Rhodonite - Harder (5 - 6), crystallizes differently. Pink Calcite - Strongly effervesces in hydrochloric acid. Pink Dolomite - Usually in curved crystals.

The Mineral sphaerocobaltite

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Sphaerocobaltite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, and have perfect rhombohedral cleavage. The variety Cobaltocalcite has two connotations. Scientifically, it refers to an intermediary mineral between Calcite and Sphaerocobaltite in a solid solution series. It may be described as a cobalt rich variety of Calcite or a calcium rich variety of Cobaltocalcite. However, it is sometimes also used as a synonym for Sphaerocobaltite by inexperienced dealers.

Chemical Formula CoCO3 Composition Variable Formula Color Streak Cobalt carbonate, usually with some calcium (Co,Ca)CO3 Intense pink to reddish-white. Oxidizes brown, dark red, dark maroon, or black. Reddish-white

Hardness Crystal System Crystal Forms and Aggregates Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Complex Tests In Group Striking Features Environment Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3)

3.5 - 4 Hexagonal Occurs in small rhombohedral crusts and massive. Transparent to Translucent 4.13 Vitreous 1,3 - rhombohedral Conchoidal Brittle Effervesces in hydrochloric acid Carbonates; Calcite Group Deep pink and red color. In secondary ore veins rich in cobalt and nickel. 3 3 3

Sphaerocobaltite ON EBAY

OTHER NAMES Spherocobaltite VARIETIES

Cobaltocalcite - Cobaltocalcite refers to an intermediary mineral between Calcite and Sphaerocobaltite in a solid solution series. It is generally looked at as a cobalt-rich variety of Calcite, but can also be looked as a calcium-rich variety of Sphaerocobaltite. The chemical formula of Cobaltocalcite is (Ca,Co)CO3. (Cobaltocalcite may also be mistakenly used as a synonym for Sphaerocobaltite.)

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES

Sphaerocobaltite is a rare mineral. The original type locality is the Daniel mine in Neustadtel, Freiberg, Saxony, Germany. The Kolwezi Mines in Shaba (Katanga), Congo (Zaire) is the most abundant and outstanding locality for this mineral. Other occurrences are Bou Azzer, Morocco; Santa Rosalia, Boleo, Baja California, Mexico; and the Cobre Mine, Conception del Oro, Zacatecas, Mexico. COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Calcite, Dolomite, Malachite

The Mineral smithsonite

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Smithsonite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, have perfect rhombohedral cleavage, and exhibit strong double refraction in transparent rhombohedrons. Smithsonite rarely occurs in visible crystals. The only two locations to produce large crystals of significance are Tsumeb, Namibia, and Broken Hill, Zambia. Virtually all other findings of this mineral are in globular or botryoidal-like forms. Many of the rounded forms have a feathery or sparkling light effect. Smithsonite is essentially zinc carbonate, but the zinc may be partially replaced with other elements. This is responsible for the color variations this mineral exhibits. Copper is responsible for green to blue coloring, and cobalt causes a pink to purple color. Cadmium makes Smithsonite yellow, and iron gives it a brown to reddish-brown color. Botryoidal Smithsonite aggregates are occasionally lubricated with oils to enhance luster and appeal to collectors. Smithsonite is named in honor of James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian Institution.

Chemical Formula ZnCO3 Composition Zinc carbonate, usually with some iron, magnesium, and calcium, occasionally with some cadmium, copper, and cobalt. (Zn,Fe,Mg,Ca,Cd,Cu,Co)CO3 Blue, green, yellow, yellow-green, orange-yellow, pink, purple, gray, brown, white, and colorless. May contain multicolored color zoning patterns and banding. White 4-5 Hexagonal

Variable Formula Color

Streak Hardness Crystal System 3D Crystal Atlas


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Crystal Forms

Mainly occurs globular, botryoidal, stalactitic, and concretionary.

and Aggregates

Occasionally occurs as lenticular lumps, encrusting, massive, grainy, and as banded lumps. Masses are sometimes porous. Crystals, which are rare, are rhombohedral and scalenohedral, and usually are rounded with curved faces. Crystals may contain triangular growth patterns. Smithsonite is also known to form pseudomorphs of other minerals such as Calcite, Galena, and Fluorite, assuming the crystal shapes of those minerals.

Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Other ID Marks

Translucent to nearly opaque 4.3 - 4.5 Vitreous, greasy, pearly, dull 1,3 - rhombohedral, usually curving Uneven, splintery. Conchoidal in individual crystals. Brittle 1) May fluoresce pink in shortwave ultraviolet light. 2) Clear, transparent, rhombohedral crystals exhibit a strong double refraction. Effervesces in hydrochloric acid Carbonates; Calcite Group High hardness for a carbonate and interesting crystal habits As a secondary mineral formed from the alteration of primary zinc minerals in the oxidation zone. 2 2 2

Complex Tests In Group Striking Features Environment

Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3)

Smithsonite ON EBAY

OTHER NAMES Calamine was the original name of the mineral Hemimorphite, and described this zinc ore in globular and botryoidal forms. The mineral Smithsonite, which closely resembles Hemimorphite and is also a zinc ore, was also called Calamine by the miners and early collectors. Today use of this term is discouraged because of its confusion of mineral species.

Calamine

VARIETIES

Bonamite - Blue or green globular Smithsonite with a pearly luster. This term is usually used to describe Smithsonite in the gem trade.

Cadmium Smithsonite - Yellow or yellowgreen Smithsonite colored by cadmium impurities.

Copper Smithsonite - Blue to green Smithsonite colored by copper impurities.

Dry Bone Ore - Describes the massive, porous, and dull variety of Smithsonite, which often assumes a honeycomb shape.

Turkey Fat Ore - Describes globular, botryoidal, and stalactitic forms of yellow Smithsonite. USES Smithsonite is an ore of zinc. It is sometimes polished and used as an ornamental stone, which is known as Bonamite in the gem trade. It is a minor gemstone.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES Large crusts are found in a number of areas on the island of Sardinia, Italy, particularly at the Massua and Monteponi Mines, in Iglesias. Blue-green botryoidal masses and crusts are common at the mines at Lavrion, Greece. Individual crystals and crystal clusters of all colors are famous from Tsumeb, Namibia. Two other African localities which provided visible crystals of this mineral are Berg Aukas, Grootfontein, Namibia; and in the Broken Hill Mine in Zambia. The famous Australian locality of Broken Hill, New South Wales, is known for its abundance of minerals including Smithsonite. Mexico has two outstanding localities which contain beautifully colored Smithsonite, including deep pink and electric green colors. These are the Refugio Mine, Choix, Sinaloa; and the San Antonio Mine, Santa Eulalia District, Chihuahua. The U.S. has many fine occurrences; perhaps the most famous being the Kelly Mine,

Magdalena, Socorro Co., New Mexico. The No. 79 Mine, Hayden, Gila Co., Arizona is famous for its dark and apple-green Smithsonite. Bright yellow and orange-yellow specimens have come from Rush, near Yellville, Marion Co., Arkansas. A large industrial zinc deposit is in Leadville, Lake Co., Colorado. Other localities are Cerro Gordo, Inyo Co., California; the Hidden Treasure Mine, Ophir Hill, Tooele Co., Utah; and Mineral Point, Iowa Co., Wisconsin.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Azurite, Malachite, Cerussite, Hemimorphite, Aurichalcite, Anglesite, Pyromorphite, Hydrozincite, Galena DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS Hemimorphite - Lighter in weight (2.4 - 3.5), otherwise very difficult to distinguish. Prehnite - Harder (6 - 6), doesn't effervesce in hydrochloric acid. Wavellite - Softer (3 - 4), lighter in weight, doesn't effervesce at al Calcite - Softer (3), strongly effervesces in hydrochloric acid, even if acid is cold and diluted. Chrysocolla - Softer, usually has a deeper color. Otherwise difficult to distinguish.

The Mineral otavite

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Otavite is named after the famous mineral deposit of Tsumeb, in Otavi Province, Namibia. Otavite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, and have perfect rhombohedral cleavage.

Chemical Formula CdCO3 Composition Color Streak Hardness Crystal System Crystal Forms and Aggregates Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Cadmium carbonate White, yellow-brown, reddish-brown White 3.5 - 4 Hexagonal Occurs as encrustations of tiny rhombohedral crystals. Translucent 5.0 Adamantine to pearly 1,3 - rhombohedral. Cannot be determined. Conchoidal Brittle

Complex Tests In Group Striking Features Environment Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3) Otavite ON EBAY

Effervesces in hydrochloric acid Carbonates; Calcite Group Encrusting crystals, hardness, and crystals A secondary mineral found in cadmium deposits and in the oxidation zone. 4 3 3

USES Otavite is a rare mineral and is only of interest to specialized collectors. It is used as a minor ore of the element cadmium when found in cadmium deposits.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES Otavite is a very rare mineral, and its type locality and main occurrence is Tsumeb, Otavi, Namibia. Other localities include Su Elzu, Ozieri, Sardinia, Italy; Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia; the Blanchard Mine, Bingham, Socorro Co., New Mexico; and the Sterling Hill Mine, Odgensburg, New Jersey. COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Smithsonite, Azurite, Malachite

The Mineral gaspeite


Gaspeite is a rare mineral, and its color is a pretty yellowish-apple-green. It has recently become popular among both mineral and gemstone collectors. Specimens may be polished or sliced into slabs when sold on the market. Gaspeite usually has brownish veins of rock running through the mineral, and these are pronounced in cut or polished specimens. Gaspeite belongs to the calcite group of minerals, a group of related carbonates that are isomorphous with one another. They are similar in many physical properties, and may partially or fully replace one another, forming a solid solution series. All members of the calcite group crystallize in the trigonal system, have perfect rhombohedral cleavage, and exhibit strong double refraction in transparent rhombohedrons.

Chemical Formula (Ni,Mg,Fe)CO3 Composition Color Carbonate of nickel, magnesium and iron Pale green to apple-green

Streak Hardness Crystal System Crystal Forms and Aggregates Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Complex Tests In Group Environment Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3) Gaspeite ON EBAY

Yellow-green 4.5 - 5 Hexagonal Rhombohedrons, as well as compact groups of scalenohedrons occur, although rarely. Mostly occurs as crusts, botryoidal, and as ball shaped aggregates. Transparent to translucent 3.7 Vitreous to dull 1,3 - rhombohedral Uneven Brittle Effervesces in hydrochloric acid Carbonates; Calcite Group In the oxidation zone of nickel deposits. 2 3 1

USES Gaspeite is a minor gemstone and is cut into cabochons and beads for jewelry.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES Gaspeite is a rare mineral and has few occurrences. It is named after its original occurrence in the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, Canada, where it is found in the Gasp mine, Murdochville. It is found in Australia in Kambalda and Widgiemooltha, Western Australia; in Lavrion, Greece; the San Benedetto Mine, Iglesias, Sardinia, Italy; and in the Pafuri nickel deposit, Limpopo Province, South Africa. COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Magnesite, Dolomite, Annabergite, Serpentine, Annabergite

The Mineral aragonite


Aragonite and the more common mineral Calcite are polymorphous to each other. Although Aragonite and Calcite contain the same chemical composition, they differ in crystal structure. Aragonite forms orthorhombic crystals, whereas Calcite forms trigonal crystals. Sometimes the crystals of Aragonite and Calcite are too small to be detected, and it is only possible to distinguish these two minerals by complex scientific optical tests. Since the true identity of microcrystalline forms of Aragonite or Calcite may not be known, they may be mislabeled as the wrong mineral. Almost all Aragonite crystals are twinned growths of three individual crystals that form pseudohexagonal trillings . Therefore, although Aragonite crystallizes in the orthorhombic system, virtually all its crystals are hexagonal shaped. The trillings can be noted from the basal striations on each of the three individual crystals running in different directions, causing a hexagonal crystal to have three striation directions on each base. Other minerals frequently pseudomorph Aragonite. Calcite commonly pseudomorphs after Aragonite, and although it contains the same chemical composition and crystal forms as Aragonite, it is really Calcite. There are many Aragonite crystals sold to collectors that are in fact really Calcite pseudomorphs after Aragonite. A rare but popular pseudomorph of Copper after Aragonite comes from Corocoro, Bolivia. Aragonite frequently contains sand inclusions, which give a specimen a brown color. It forms in many environments, but a particularly interesting one is its formation from deposition of hot, mineral-rich springs. The water releases the calcium it contains upon reaching the air, and forms mounds and thick crusts around the springs. When these deposited mounds and crusts are banded, they are sometimes carved and termed "Onyx Marble", "Suisan Marble", "California Onyx", or "Mexican Onyx". Aragonite is the main component of many organic substances, such as pearl and coral. The iridescent surface of pearl and mother-of-pearl is a layer of Aragonite secreted by mollusks and related invertebrates. Some forms of Aragonite, especially the Flos Ferri variety, are very brittle and fragile and may easily break when touched. Such specimens need to be handled with utmost care to preserve them.

Chemical Formula CaCO3 Composition Variable Formula Color Streak Hardness Crystal System 3D Crystal Atlas
(Click for animated model)

Calcium carbonate, sometimes with some strontium, lead, and zinc. (Ca,Sr,Pb,Zn)CO3 Colorless, white, brown, gray, yellow, red, pink, purple, orange, blue, green White 3.5 - 4 Orthorhombic

Crystal Forms and Aggregates

The most common crystallized form is in pseudohexagonal trillings, which can be in the form of long, slender, prismatic crystals or short stubby ones. Rarely occurs as single, untwinned crystals. Many aggregates exist, such as acicular, radiating, fibrous, columnar, stalactitic, botryoidal, pisolitic, oolitic, tuberose, granular, encrusting, and ball-like protrusions of pseudohexagonal crystals. Transparent to opaque 2.9 - 3.0 Vitreous, dull 3,1 - prismatic ; indiscernible,2 Subconchoidal Brittle 1) May fluoresce blue, pink, yellow, or cream. 2) Clear specimens exhibit a strong double refraction. Effervesces in acids, even if cold and diluted. Carbonates; Aragonite group Poor cleavage, twinning habits, strong effervescence, and low hardness Sedimentary formations and evaporite deposits, hot spring deposits, hydrothermal ore veins, igneous traprock environments, and metamorphic schists. 2 2 2

Transparency Specific Gravity Luster Cleavage Fracture Tenacity Other ID Marks Complex Tests In Group Striking Features Environment

Popularity (1-4) Prevalence (1-3) Demand (1-3)

Aragonite ON EBAY

VARIETIES

Alabaster - Massive, fine grained variety of Gypsum. Occasionally may also refer to a translucent, banded type of Aragonite in the form of Travertine or Tufa.

Flos Ferri

- Filiform variety of Aragonite composed of wormlike intergrowths resembling branching coral.

Mossottite - Strontium rich variety of Aragonite, or mixture of Aragonite and Strontianite. (Ca,Sr)CO3. Also known as Strontian Aragonite.

Nicholsonite - Zinc rich variety of Aragonite. (Ca,Zn)CO3. Also known as Zincian Aragonite.

Onyx Marble - Travertine or Tufa in the mineral form of Aragonite or Calcite that exhibits color banding.

Satin Spar - Fibrous variety of Gypsum. May occasionally also describe a fibrous form of Calcite or Aragonite.

Tarnowitzite - Lead rich variety of Aragonite, or mixture of Aragonite and Cerussite. (Ca,Pb)CO3. Also known as Plumboan Aragonite.

Travertine - Mounds of calcium carbonate formed from hot springs that contain calcium-rich water that bubbles up to the earth and cools down, and its capability to hold calcium is reduced. The water eliminates the calcium, and the calcium forms a growing mound of calcium carbonate, which is porous. Travertine is usually Aragonite, although it may also be Calcite.

Tufa - Aragonite (or Calcite) formed from precipitating water that traps in organic matter, such as

leaves, twigs, and moss. Also calcareous mounds formed from deposition of hot springs that trap in organic matter. POLYMORPHS Calcite, Vaterite

USES Aragonite does not have many practical uses, but interesting specimens are popularly collected by mineral collectors. The "Onyx Marble" formed from mineral springs is cut into cabochon and ornaments. NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES The name Aragonite is derived from the location of Molina de Aragon, Spain, where excellent trillings occur at the Gallo river. Spain has produced some of the finest trillings in locations such as Los Molinillos (Minglanilla), the Retamal ravine, and the Salt Mine in Cuenca. Excellent Aragonite also comes from the Agrigento Province in Sicily, Italy, in the famous Sulfur mines. It occurs in Austria in a Siderite mine in Eisenerz, Styria (mainly in the Flos Ferri variety), and in the salt mines of Salzburg. Classic Aragonite has come from the old iron mines at Frizington, Cumbria, England; and from Vitosov, Moravia, Czech Republic. Much specimen material has recently come from Liupanshui, Guizhou Province, China; and one of the largest producers of specimen crystals in all forms of twinned aggregates of reddish-brown crystals is the Tazouta Mine near Sefrou, Morocco. New Mexico has provided many fine specimens in Kelly and Magdalena, Soccoro Co.; at Lake Arthur, near Roswell, Chaves Co; and at Las Cruces, Dona Ana Co. Fine Aragonite has also come from Bisbee, Cochise Co., Arizona; the Grand Deposit Mine, White Pine Co., Nevada; and the Northern Lights Mine, Hussman Spring, Mineral Co., Nevada. Other Western U.S. occurrences are Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo Co., California; the Oquirrh Mountains, Tooele Co., Utah; and Fort Collins, Larimer Co., Colorado. Midwestern and Eastern occurrences are Cave-in-Rock, Hardin Co., Illinois; Berks Co., Pennsylvania; Sterling Hill, Ogdensburg, Sussex Co., New Jersey; and Paterson and Prospect Park, Passaic Co., New Jersey. COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS Quartz, Calcite, Gypsum, Albite, Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Bornite

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