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Cinnabar

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Formula:
HgS
System:
Trigonal
Colour:
Tint or shade of red; ...
Lustre:
Metallic
Hardness:
2 - 2½
Name:
From Persian "zinjifrah"; original meaning lost (dragon's blood?).
The α phase of HgS. Trimorphous with metacinnabar (the β phase) and hypercinnabar.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Cinnabar.

Classification of Cinnabar

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
2.CD.15a

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
C : Metal Sulfides, M: S = 1: 1 (and similar)
D : With Sn, Pb, Hg, etc.
2.8.14.1

2 : SULFIDES
8 : AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
3.5.1

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
5 : Sulphides etc. of Hg and Tl
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http://www.mindat.org/min-1052.html
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Occurrences of Cinnabar

Geological Setting:
low-temperature hydrothermal, in veins and sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic host rocks

Physical Properties of Cinnabar

Metallic
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Tint or shade of red; cochineal red, brownish red
Streak:
Red-brown to scarlet
Hardness (Mohs):
2 - 2½
Hardness (Vickers):
VHN10=82 - 156 kg/mm2
Tenacity:
Sectile
Cleavage:
Perfect
Perfect {1010}
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
Comment:
slightly sectile
Density:
8.176 g/cm3 (Measured)    8.20 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Cinnabar

Crystal System:
Trigonal
Class (H-M):
3 2 - Trapezohedral
Space Group:
P31 2 1
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.145(2) Å, c = 9.496(2) Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 2.291
Unit Cell Volume:
V 141.29 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
3
Morphology:
Rhombohedral crystals (to 10 cm), thick tabular {0001}, stout to slender prismatic || [1010]; massive, granular, as incrustations
Twinning:
Simple contact twins; plane {0001}, axis [0001]

Crystallographic forms of Cinnabar

Crystal Atlas:
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Click on an icon to view
Cinnabar no.2 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.10 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.26 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.35 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.57 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

View
Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
3.34 (9)
2.85 (10)
2.06 (5)
1.969 (5)
1.725 (5)
1.672 (6)
1.339 (5)

Optical Data of Cinnabar

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 2.905 nε = 3.256
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.351
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Type:
Anisotropic
Anisotropism:
high
Reflectivity:
400nmR1=30.0%R2=33.5%
420nmR1=28.8%R2=32.1%
440nmR1=27.4%R2=30.9%
460nmR1=26.4%R2=29.9%
480nmR1=25.7%R2=29.5%
500nmR1=25.2%R2=29.4%
520nmR1=24.6%R2=29.4%
540nmR1=24.2%R2=29.1%
560nmR1=23.9%R2=28.6%
580nmR1=23.7%R2=27.9%
600nmR1=23.4%R2=27.3%
620nmR1=23.0%R2=26.8%
640nmR1=22.6%R2=26.3%
660nmR1=22.4%R2=26.0%
680nmR1=22.1%R2=25.7%
700nmR1=21.9%R2=25.5%

Reflectance graph
Graph shows reflectance levels at different wavelengths (in nm). Top of box is 100%. Peak reflectance is 33.5%.
R1 shown in black, R2 shown in red

Chemical Properties of Cinnabar

Formula:
HgS
All elements listed in formula:
CAS Registry number:
1344-48-5

CAS Registry numbers are published by the American Chemical Society

Relationship of Cinnabar to other Species

2.CD.05Herzenbergite(Sn,Pb)SnS2
2.CD.05Teallite(Pb,Sn)SnS2
2.CD.10AlabanditeMnS
2.CD.10AltaitePbTe
2.CD.10ClausthalitePbSe
2.CD.10GalenaPbS
2.CD.10Niningerite(Mg,Fe2+,Mn2+)S
2.CD.10Oldhamite(Ca,Mg)S
2.CD.10Keilite(Fe2+,Mg)S
2.CD.15bHypercinnabarHgS
3.5.2HypercinnabarHgS
3.5.3MetacinnabarHgS
3.5.4ImiteriteAg2HgS2
3.5.5TiemanniteHgSe
3.5.6BalkaniteCu9Ag5HgS8
3.5.7Danielsite(Cu,Ag)14HgS8
3.5.8ColoradoiteHgTe
3.5.9GortdrumiteCu18FeHg6S16
3.5.10Polhemusite(Zn,Hg)S
3.5.11CarliniteTl2S
3.5.12CrookesiteCu7(Tl, Ag)Se4
3.5.13SabatieriteCu6TlSe4
3.5.14PicotpauliteTlFe2S3
3.5.15RaguiniteTlFeS2
3.5.16ThalcusiteTl2Cu3FeS4
3.5.17BukoviteTl2(Cu,Fe)4Se4
3.5.18GalliteCuGaS2
3.5.19RoquesiteCuInS2
3.5.20InditeFeIn2S4

Other Names for Cinnabar

Name in Other Languages:
Basque:Zinabrio
Bosnian (Latin Script):Cinabarit
Bulgarian:Цинобър
Catalan:Cinabri
Czech:Cinabarit
Danish:Cinnober
Dutch:Cinnaber
Estonian:Kinaver
Finnish:Sinooperi
French:Cinabre
Galician:Cinabrio
Hungarian:Cinnabarit
Italian:Cinabro
Japanese:辰砂
Latvian:Cinobrs
Lithuanian:Cinoberis
Norwegian (Bokmål):Sinober
Polish:Cynober
Portuguese:Cinábrio
Simplified Chinese:辰砂
Slovak:Cinabarit
Slovenian:Cinabarit
Spanish:Cinabrio
Traditional Chinese:辰砂
Turkish:Zincifre
Ukrainian:Кіновар
Vietnamese:Chu sa

Other Information

Thermal Behaviour:
transition to the β phase (metacinnabar) occurs in the 673-698 K range
Special Storage/
Display Requirements:
Some cinnabar that contains trace amounts of chlorine will darken with exposure to sunlight (photosensitive).
Health Risks:
Contains mercury - always wash hands after handling. Do not inhale dust and use caution when breaking. Do not lick or ingest. Do not heat in unventilated environment - emits toxic Hg fumes. Mercury sulfide is, however, relatively insoluble and toxicity of the pure material is low. But be aware that many samples of cinnabar, especially those which are 'massive' rather than crystalline, also contain traces of native mercury, and this is far more easily absorbed by the body.
Industrial Uses:
Principal ore of mercury. Used as a cosmetic pigment in ancient times.

References for Cinnabar

Reference List:
Theophrastus (315 BC) Cinnabar. in: Caley, E.R., Richards, J.F.C. (1956) Theoprastus On Stones. Introduction, Greek text, English translation and commentary, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Hoffmann, C.A.S (1789) Mineralsystem des Herrn Inspektor Werners mit dessen Erlaubnis herausgegeben von C.A.S. Hoffmann. Bergmännisches Journal: 10(1): 369-398.

Durand, F.E. (1873) Note on crystals of quartz of a red color, by the interposition of cinnabar. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 1: 4(1): 211.

Schrauf, A. (1894) Aphorismen über Zinnobar. Zeitschrift für Praktische Geologie: 10-18.

Auvray, P., Genet, F. (1973) Affinement de la structure cristalline du cinabre α-HgS. Bulletin de Mineralogie et de Cristallographie: 96: 218-219.

Palache, C., Berman, H., Frondel, C. (1944) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 834pp.: 251-255.

Potter, R.W., Barnes, H.L. (1978) Phase relations in the binary Hg-S. American Mineralogist: 63: 1143-1152.

McCormack, J.K. (2000) The darkening of cinnabar in sunlight. Mineralium Deposita: 35(8): 796-798.

Frost, R.L., Martens, W.N., Kloprogge, J.T. (2002) Raman spectroscopic study of cinnabar (HgS), realgar (As4S4), and orpiment (As2S3) at 298 and 77K. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Monatshefte: 2002: 469-480.

Borisov, S.V., Magarill, S.A., Pervukhina, N.V. (2009) Characteristic features of crystal chemistry of natural mercury-containing sulfides and sulfosalts. Journal of Structural Chemistry: 50: 853-860.

Ballirano, P., Botticelli, M., Maras, A. (2013) Thermal behavior of cinnabar, α-HgS, and the kinetics of the β-HgS (metacinnabar) → α-HgS conversion at room temperature. European Journal of Mineralogy: 25: 957-965.

Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W. and Nichols, M.C., Eds. Handbook of Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, VA 20151-1110, USA. http://www.handbookofmineralogy.org/ (2016)

Internet Links for Cinnabar

Specimens:
The following Cinnabar specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Cinnabar

map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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