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Alstonite

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Formula:
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
System:TriclinicColour:Colourless to snow ...
Hardness:4 - 4½
Name:After the original locality near Alston, England.
Polymorph of:Barytocalcite, Paralstonite


Alstonite-Barytocalcite Group

A low-temperature hydrothermal mineral.

Classification of Alstonite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:5/B.04-50
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:5.AB.35

5 : CARBONATES (NITRATES)
A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
B : Alkali-earth (and other M2+) carbonates
Dana 8th edition ID:14.2.5.1

14 : ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
2 : AB(XO3)2
Hey's CIM Ref.:11.5.4

11 : Carbonates
5 : Carbonates of Sr and Ba
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Type Occurrence of Alstonite

Co-type Localities:Brownley Hill Mine (Bloomsberry Horse Level), Nenthead, Alston Moor District, North Pennines, North and Western Region (Cumberland), Cumbria, England, UK
Fallowfield Mine, Acomb, Hexham, Tyne Valley, Northumberland, England, UK
Place of Conservation of Type Material:Mining Academy, Freiberg, Germany, 15818.
Year of Discovery:1841
Geological Setting of type material:Low-temperature hydrothermal deposit.
Associated Minerals at type locality:
WitheriteCalciteBaryte

Occurrences of Alstonite

Geological Setting:Typically in low-temperature hydrothermal Pb–Zn deposits; rare in carbonatites.

Physical Properties of Alstonite

Lustre:Vitreous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent, Translucent
Colour:Colourless to snow white, yellow-gray; pale gray, pale cream, pink to pale rose-red
Comment:may fade on exposure to light; colorless in transmitted light, showing six or twelve domains
Streak:White
Hardness (Mohs):4 - 4½
Cleavage:Imperfect/Fair
On pseudo-orthorhombic {110}, imperfect
Fracture:Irregular/Uneven
Density (measured):3.67 - 3.711 g/cm3
Density (calculated):3.67 g/cm3

Crystallography of Alstonite

Crystal System:Triclinic
Cell Parameters:a = 17.38Å, b = 14.4Å, c = 6.12Å
α = 90.35°, β = 90.12°, γ = 120.08°
Ratio:a:b:c = 1.207 : 1 : 0.425
Unit Cell Volume:V 1,325.34 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Morphology:Crystals are pseudo-dihexagonal dipyramids formed by repeated twinning of individuals bounded by {111} and {021}; also as acute dipyramids bounded by {221}. The evident dipyramidal faces are strongly striated horizontally (perpendicular to pseudohexagonal [0001]) and are divided vertically by a medial, slightly reentrant twinning line parallel to the pseudohexagonal [0001].

Twinning:Common on pseudo-orthorhombic {110} and {301}, forming the pseudohexagonal groups.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
d-spacingIntensity
3.55 (100)
2.835 (10)
2.507 (35)
2.050 (23)
1.941 (19)
1.846 (15)
1.589 (8)
Comments:Powder pattern essentially identical to that of paralstonite.

Optical Data of Alstonite

Type:Biaxial (-)
RI values: nα = 1.526 nβ = 1.671 nγ = 1.672
2V:Measured: 6° , Calculated: 8°
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.146

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:High
Dispersion:r > v weak

Chemical Properties of Alstonite

Formula:
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Simplified for copy/paste:BaCa(CO3)2
Essential elements:Ba, C, Ca, O
All elements listed in formula:Ba, C, Ca, O

Relationship of Alstonite to other Species

Common Associates:
SphaleriteSideriteQuartzPyriteGalena
CalciteBenstoniteBaryteAnkerite
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
5.AB.05Calcite
CaCO
 
3
5.AB.05Gaspéite
(Ni,Mg,Fe)CO
 
3
5.AB.05Magnesite
MgCO
 
3
5.AB.05Otavite
CdCO
 
3
5.AB.05Rhodochrosite
MnCO
 
3
5.AB.05Siderite
FeCO
 
3
5.AB.05Smithsonite
ZnCO
 
3
5.AB.05Spherocobaltite
CoCO
 
3
5.AB.10Ankerite
Ca(Fe
2+
 
,Mg)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.10Dolomite
CaMg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.10Kutnohorite
Ca(Mn,Mg,Fe)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.10Minrecordite
CaZn(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.15Aragonite
CaCO
 
3
5.AB.15Cerussite
PbCO
 
3
5.AB.15Strontianite
SrCO
 
3
5.AB.15Witherite
BaCO
 
3
5.AB.20Vaterite
CaCO
 
3
5.AB.25Huntite
CaMg
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
4
5.AB.30Norsethite
BaMg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.40Olekminskite
Sr(Sr,Ca,Ba)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.40Paralstonite
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.45Barytocalcite
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.50Carbocernaite
(Ca,Na)(Sr,Ce,Ba)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.55Benstonite
(Ba,Sr)
 
6
(Ca,Mn)
 
6
Mg(CO
 
3
)
 
13
5.AB.60Juangodoyite
Na
 
2
Cu(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
11.5.1Strontianite
SrCO
 
3
11.5.2Witherite
BaCO
 
3
11.5.3Norsethite
BaMg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
11.5.5Paralstonite
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
11.5.6Barytocalcite
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
11.5.7Benstonite
(Ba,Sr)
 
6
(Ca,Mn)
 
6
Mg(CO
 
3
)
 
13

Other Names for Alstonite

Synonyms:
Barytocalcite (of Johnston)Bicalcareocarbonate of BarytesBromlite
Other Languages:
German:Alstonit
Bariumaragonit
Bromlit
Spanish:Alstonita
Bromlita

Other Information

Fluorescence in UV light:Weak yellow fluorescence (SW & LW UV).
Other Information:Soluble in dilute HCl.
Health Warning:No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for Alstonite

Reference List:

- +
Johnston (1835) Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 6: 1 (as Barytocalcite).

Thomson (1835) Records of General Science, London: 1: 373 (as Bicalcareocarbonate of Barytes).

Johnston (1837) Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 10: 373.

Thomson (1837) Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 11: 45, 48.

Breithaupt, A. (1841) Vollständige Handbuch der Mineralogie, Vol. 2: 255 (as Alstonite).

Dana, J.D. (1868) System of Mineralogy, 5th. Edition, New York: 698.

Becker (1886) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 12: 222.

Dana, E.S. (1892) System of Mineralogy, 6th. Edition, New York: 284.

Kreutz (1909) Bulletin of the Academy of Science, Krakow: 771.

Spencer (1910) Mineralogical Magazine: 15: 302.

Goldschmidt, V. (1913) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text, vol. 1: 9.

Hintze, Carl (1926) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3A]: 3096.

Gossner and Mussgnug (1930) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 220.

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: Halides, Nitrates, Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Tungstates, Molybdates, Etc. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 218-219.

Lithos (1975): 8: 199.

Internet Links for Alstonite

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  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
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  • Localities for Alstonite

    The 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.
    (TL) indicates type locality. ? indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. All other localities listed without reference should be considered as uncertain and unproven until references can be found.
    Australia
     
    • Tasmania
      • Rosebery district
        • Rosebery
    SUTHERLAND, F. L. and BOTTRILL, R.S., 2004. Zeolites of western Tasmania. Australian Jnl. Mineralogy, 10, 59-72
    Austria
     
    • Styria
      • Weiz
    Carinthia II (2012)
    Brazil
     
    • Santa Catarina
      • Anitápolis
    Comin-Chiaramonti, P., de Barros Gomes, C., Castorina, F., di Censi, P., Antonini, P., Furtado, S., ... & Scheibe, L. F. (2008). Geochemistry and geodynamic implications of the Anitápolis and Lages alkaline-carbonatite complexes, Santa Catarina State, Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Geology, 32(1), 43-58.
    China
     
    • Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
      • Baotou League (Baotou Prefecture)
        • Bayan Obo Mining District
          • Bayan Obo
    Zhang Peishan, Yang Zhuming, Tao Kejie, and Yang Xueming (1996): Mineralogy and Geology of Rare Earths in China. Science Press (Beijing), pp. 226.
    Greenland
     
    • Kitaa Province (West Greenland)
      • Maniitsoq (Sukkertoppen)
    Petersen, O. V. and Secher, K. (1993): The minerals of Greenland, The Mineralogical Record, Vol. 24(2), 1-65
    Namibia
     
    • Karas Region
      • Lüderitz District
        • Rosh Pinah
    Bezing, L. von, Bode, R. & Jahn, S. (2007): Namibia. Minerals and Localities. Edition Schloss Freudenstein, Bode Verlag, Haltern, 395 pp. (in English)
    Russia
     
    • Northern Region
      • Murmanskaja Oblast'
        • Kola Peninsula
    www.koeln.netsurf.de/~w.steffens/khib.htm
    Sorokhtina, N.V., Chukanov, N.V., Voloshin, A.V., Pakhomovsky, Y.A., Bogdanova, A.N., and Moiseev, M.M. (2008): Geology of Ore Deposits 50(7), 620-628.
        • Northern Karelia
    www.koeln.netsurf.de/~w.steffens/vuori.htm; Pekov, I. (1998) Minerals First discovered on the territory of the former Soviet Union 369p. Ocean Pictures, Moscow
    UK
     
    • England
      • Co. Durham
        • Durham Coalfield
          • Deerness Valley
    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: 219.
      • Cumbria
        • North and Western Region (Cumberland)
          • North Pennines
            • Alston Moor District
              • Nent Valley
    BMS Database
              • Nenthead
    Hall, T.M. (1868): The Mineralogist's Directory. Edward Stanford (London), 168 pp.; 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: 219; Lithos 8 (1975), 199; BMS Collection
      • Derbyshire
    Ford, T., A. Sarjeant & M. Smith (1993): The minerals of the Peak district of Derbyshire. UK Jour. Mines & Minerals 13, 16-55.
      • Northumberland
        • Tyne Valley
          • Hexham
            • Acomb
    Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: vi, 1 and xi, 45; 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: 219.
    • Wales
      • Powys (Radnorshire)
        • Old Radnor
          • Wethel
    T.F. Cotterell : "The mineralogy of Dolyhir quarry, Old Radnor, Powys, Wales, U.K. - a major new mineralogical site in Wales", 5th International Conference "Mineralogy & Museums", Paris, Sept. 5-8th 2004, Bull. de Liaison de la Soc. Franç. de Minéralogie et Cristallographie, 2004, Vol 16, N°2.; Cotterell TF et al (2011) The mineralogy of Dolyhir quarry, Old Radnor. Powys, Wales. UKJMM 32:5-61
      • Rhondda-Cynon-Taff (Mid Glamorgan; Glamorgan)
        • Llantrisant
    Alabaster, C. 1990. Alstonite and barytocalcite from Llantrisant, South Wales and barytocalcite from Holwell, Mendip Hills, England. Journal of the Russell Society, 3, 1-6.
    M.Wirth collection
    USA
     
    • Illinois
      • Hardin Co.
        • Illinois - Kentucky Fluorspar District
          • Cave-in-Rock Sub-District
    Rossman, G. R. and Squires, R. L. (1974) The occurence of alstonite at Cave in Rock, Illinois. Mineralogical Record 5: 266-269; Rocks & Minerals: 63: 214.; ; Mineralogical Record (1997) 28:3-49
    • Wyoming
      • Sweetwater Co.
        • Green River Formation
    Am Min 26:646-650
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