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Epsomite

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Formula:
MgSO4 · 7H2O
System:
Orthorhombic
Colour:
White, grey, colourless, ...
Lustre:
Vitreous, Silky, Earthy
Hardness:
2 - 2½
Member of:
Name:
Named in 1806 by Jean-Claude Delamétherie for the type locality at Epsom, Surrey, England.
Epsomite Group; Epsomite-Morenosite Series; Epsomite-Goslarite Series.

A complete series exists to Morenosite and to Goslarite.

Usually found as crusts, delicate efflorescences, or botryoidal masses of tiny fibrous to acicular crystals, its color is white but it is often stained a variety of pale hues by impurities.


Classification of Epsomite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
7.CB.40

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
C : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) without additional anions, with H2O
B : With only medium-sized cations
Dana 7th ed.:
29.6.11.1
29.6.11.1

29 : HYDRATED ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
6 : AXO4·xH2O
25.3.6

25 : Sulphates
3 : Sulphates of Mg
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Type Occurrence of Epsomite

Year of Discovery:
1806

Occurrences of Epsomite

Geological Setting:
Typically found growing as efflorescences in sheltered spots on outcrops of dolomitic or calcerous rocks; often found growing on the walls of caves and in salt lake deposits; also often found growing on the walls of coal and metal mines, including on wooden supports and abandoned equipment.

Physical Properties of Epsomite

Vitreous, Silky, Earthy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
White, grey, colourless, or pink, greenish; colourless in transmitted light.
Comment:
Pink = cobaltoan; greenish = nickelian.
Streak:
White
Hardness (Mohs):
2 - 2½
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Fragile
Cleavage:
Perfect
Perfect on {010}, distinct on {101}.
Fracture:
Conchoidal
Translation gliding:
T{110}, t[1_10] ?; T{100}, t[0_10] ?; T{011}, t[011] ?; T{101}, t[_101] ?.
Density:
1.675 - 1.679 g/cm3 (Measured)    1.678 g/cm3 (Calculated)
Comment:
Measured on artificial material.

Crystallography of Epsomite

Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Class (H-M):
2 2 2 - Disphenoidal
Space Group:
P21 21 21
Cell Parameters:
a = 11.86Å, b = 11.99Å, c = 6.858Å
Ratio:
a:b:c = 0.989 : 1 : 0.572
Unit Cell Volume:
V 975.22 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
4
Morphology:
Crystals rare, usually as fibrous to acicular crusts, fibers elongated [001]; may be in botryoidal masses or stalactic; woolly efflorescences. Artificial crystals short prismatic [001] to equant.
Twinning:
On {110}, rare.

Crystallographic forms of Epsomite

Crystal Atlas:
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Epsomite no.23 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Epsomite no.28 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Epitaxial Relationships of Epsomite

Epitaxial Minerals:
MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
MorenositeNiSO4 · 7H2O
GoslariteZnSO4 · 7H2O
Epitaxy Comments:
Oriented overgrowths with zinc (Goslarite) and nickel (Morenosite) analogues. Also on Muscovite with Epsomite {100} or {110} parallel Muscovite {001} and Epsomite [001] parallel to Muscovite [120], [310], [150], [1_20], [3_10], [1_50].
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
5.98(30)
5.34(30)
5.31(20)
4.22(100)
4.20(80)
2.88(20)
2.67(20)
2.66(30)

Optical Data of Epsomite

Type:
Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.433 nβ = 1.455 nγ = 1.461
2V:
Measured: 52° , Calculated: 54°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.028
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Moderate
Dispersion:
none

Chemical Properties of Epsomite

Formula:
MgSO4 · 7H2O
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
Analytical Data:
Effloresces in dry air. Very soluble in water.
Common Impurities:
Ni,Fe,Co,Mn,Zn

Relationship of Epsomite to other Species

Series:
Forms a series with Goslarite (see here)
Forms a series with Morenosite (see here)
Member of:
Other Members of Group:
GoslariteZnSO4 · 7H2O
MorenositeNiSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.05Dwornikite(Ni,Fe)SO4 · H2O
7.CB.05GunningiteZnSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05KieseriteMgSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05Poitevinite(Cu,Fe,Zn)SO4 · H2O
7.CB.05SzmikiteMnSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05SzomolnokiteFeSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05CobaltkieseriteCoSO4 · H2O
7.CB.07SanderiteMgSO4 · 2H2O
7.CB.10BonattiteCuSO4 · 3H2O
7.CB.15Aplowite(Co,Mn,Ni)SO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15Boyleite(Zn,Mg)SO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15Ilesite(Mn,Zn,Fe)SO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15RozeniteFeSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15StarkeyiteMgSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15DrobeciteCdSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15CranswickiteMgSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.20ChalcanthiteCuSO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.20JôkokuiteMnSO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.20PentahydriteMgSO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.20SiderotilFeSO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.25Bianchite(Zn,Fe)SO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25Chvaleticeite(Mn,Mg)SO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25FerrohexahydriteFeSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25HexahydriteMgSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25Moorhouseite(Co,Ni,Mn)SO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25Nickelhexahydrite(Ni,Mg,Fe)SO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.30RetgersiteNiSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.35BieberiteCoSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35BoothiteCuSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35MallarditeMnSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35MelanteriteFeSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35Zincmelanterite(Zn,Cu,Fe)SO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35Alpersite(Mg,Cu)[SO4] · 7H2O
7.CB.40GoslariteZnSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.40MorenositeNiSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.45AlunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
7.CB.45Meta-alunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
7.CB.50AluminocoquimbiteFeAl(SO4)3 · 9H2O
7.CB.55CoquimbiteFe2-xAlx(SO4)3 · 9H2O, x ~0.5
7.CB.55ParacoquimbiteFe2(SO4)3 · 9H2O
7.CB.55Rhomboclase(H5O2)Fe3+(SO4)2 · 2H2O
7.CB.60KorneliteFe2(SO4)3 · 7H2O
7.CB.65QuenstedtiteFe2(SO4)3 · 10H2O
7.CB.70LauseniteFe2(SO4)3·5H2O
7.CB.75LishizheniteZnFe2(SO4)4 · 14H2O
7.CB.75RömeriteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 14H2O
7.CB.80RansomiteCuFe2(SO4)4 · 6H2O
7.CB.85ApjohniteMn2+Al2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85BíliniteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85Dietrichite(Zn,Fe2+,Mn2+)Al2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85HalotrichiteFeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85PickeringiteMgAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85Redingtonite(Fe2+,Mg,Ni)(Cr,Al)2(SO4)4·22H2O
7.CB.85Wupatkiite(Co,Mg,Ni)Al2(SO4)4·22H2O
7.CB.90MeridianiiteMgSO4 · 11H2O
25.3.1KieseriteMgSO4 · H2O
25.3.2SanderiteMgSO4 · 2H2O
25.3.3StarkeyiteMgSO4 · 4H2O
25.3.4PentahydriteMgSO4 · 5H2O
25.3.5HexahydriteMgSO4 · 6H2O
25.3.7CaminiteMg7(SO4)5(OH)4 · H2O
25.3.8VanthoffiteNa6Mg(SO4)4
25.3.9BlöditeNa2Mg(SO4)2 · 4H2O
25.3.10KonyaiteNa2Mg(SO4)2 · 5H2O
25.3.11LöweiteNa12Mg7(SO4)13 · 15H2O
25.3.12UklonskoviteNaMg(SO4)F · 2H2O
25.3.13LangbeiniteK2Mg2(SO4)3
25.3.14LeoniteK2Mg(SO4)2 · 4H2O
25.3.15PicromeriteK2Mg(SO4)2 · 6H2O
25.3.16Efremovite(NH4)2Mg2(SO4)3
25.3.17Boussingaultite(NH4)2Mg(SO4)2 · 6H2O
25.3.18PickeringiteMgAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O

Other Names for Epsomite

Other Information

Magnetism:
Diamagnetic
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for Epsomite

Reference List:
Hermann (1721) De Sale nativo cathartico in fodinis Hungariae recens invento, Posonii (as Sal nativum catharticum).

Wallerius, J.G (1747) Mineralogia, eller Mineralriket. Stockholm: 184 (as Sal neutrum acidulare).

Wallerius, J.G (1747) Mineralogia, eller Mineralriket. Stockholm: 184 (as Sal Anglicanum).

Wallerius, J.G. (1753) French edition of “Mineralogia, eller Mineralriket.” 2 volumes, Paris: 1: 339 (as Sel d'Epsom).

Scopoli (1761) De Hydrarg. Idriense Tent., Venet (as Halotrichum).

Klaproth, M.H. (1802) Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper. vol. 3: 104 (as Halotrichum).

Brooke (1823) Annals of Philosophy, London: 22: 40.

Beudant, F.S. (1824), Trailé élémentaire de Minéralogie, 8vo, Paris: 445.

Miller (1852): 546.

Rammelsberg (1854) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 91: 324.

Krause (1874) Zeitschrift für Naturwissenschaften, Halle: 44: 554 (as Reichardtit).

Krause (1874) Archiv Pharm.: 5: 423 (as Reichardtit).

Krause (1875) Archiv Pharm.: 6: 41 (as Reichardtit).

Dufet (1878) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 1: 58.

Dufet (1880) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 3: 180.

Blasius (1885) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 10: 227.

Dufet (1889) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 12: 22.

Retgers (1889) Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie, Leipzig, Berlin: 3: 534.

Brunlechner (1893) Jahrbuch Nat. Land.-Mus. Klagenfurt: 22: 192 (as Seelandite).

Borel (1895) Arch. sc. phys. nat. Genève: [3]: 34: 230.

Retgers (1895) Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie, Leipzig, Berlin: 16: 580.

Johnsen (1907) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Beil.-Bd.: 23: 315.

Groth, P. (1908) Chemische Krystallographie. Leipzig. 5 volumes: vol. 2: 401.

Lacroix, A. (1910) Minéralogie de la France et des ses colonies, Paris. 5 volumes: vol. 4: 212.

Tenne and Calderón (1910): 2: 235.

Gaudefroy (1913) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 157: 61.

Eyermann (1914) cited in Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 54: 100.

Johnsen (1915) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 33, 289.

Merwin (1915) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 55: 113.

Zsivny (1915) Ann. Hist.-Nat. Mus. Nat. Hungar.: 13: 577.

Goldschmidt, V. (1916) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 3: 151.

Jenkins (1918) American Journal of Science: 46: 638.

Walker (1921) University of Toronto Stud., Geol. Ser., no. 12: 43, 44.

Longchambon (1922) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 45: 238.

Mellor, J.W. (1923) A Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry. 16 volumes, London: 4: 329.

Onorato (1925) Reale accademia nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, Att.: [6]: 2: 204.

Cardoso (1926) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 63: 19.

Westenbrink (1926) Proceedings of the Academy of Science Amsterdam: 29: 1223.

Hintze, Carl (1929) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1[3B]: 4346.

Mahl (1929) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Beil.-Bd.: 59: 273.

Shannon (1929) Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum: 74, Art. 13.

Kokta (1930) Příroda, Brno: 32: 381.

Porter (1930) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 75: 288.

Hey (1931) Mineralogical Magazine: 22: 510.

Barnes and Hunter (1932) Nature: 130: 96.

Royer (1932) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 194: 1088.

Vavrinecz (1932) Magyar Chem. Foly.: 38: 140.

Smythe (1933) The Vasculum, Newcastle-on-Tyne: 19: 12 (Min. Abs.: 5: 283).

Milton and Johnston (1938) Economic Geology: 33: 749.

Mélon (1944) Annales Société géologique de Belgique, Liége: 67: B56.

Hutton (1947) American Mineralogist: 32: 553.

Zirkl (1948) Min. Mitt.: 1: 185.

Meixner, H. (1950): Der Karinthin 11:242-252 (as Seelandite).

Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 1124 pp.: 509-513.

Acta Crystallographica: 17: 1361-1369.

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig (1997), Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 612.

Internet Links for Epsomite

Localities for Epsomite

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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