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Halite

This page kindly sponsored by George Frederick Huggins
Formula:
NaCl
System:
Isometric
Colour:
Colourless, whitish, ...
Lustre:
Vitreous
Hardness:
Member of:
Name:
From the Greek άλς, sea, for halites, later modified by J.D. Dana to halite.
Natural Salt. Occurs both as evaporite deposits in saline lakes and water courses, or as bedded sedimentary deposits, or as salt domes.

Experimental volcanic gas condensation by Africano et al. (2002) shown halite to be the predominant sublimate in the 450-550oC range.

Recent studies show nanosized halite to be the second phase after aragonite that may primarily be deposited in a coral skeleton (Motai et al., 2016).

Classification of Halite

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
3.AA.20

3 : HALIDES
A : Simple halides, without H2O
A : M:X = 1:1, 2:3, 3:5, etc.
9.1.1.1

9 : NORMAL HALIDES
1 : AX
8.1.3

8 : Halides - Fluorides, Chlorides, Bromides and Iodides; also Fluoborates and Fluosilicates
1 : Halides of the alkali metals and ammonium
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Occurrences of Halite

Geological Setting:
Sedimentary evaporite deposits. In fluid inclusions. As a fumarole product.

Physical Properties of Halite

Vitreous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Colourless, whitish, yellow, red, purple or blue
Streak:
White
Hardness (Mohs):
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Perfect
On {001}
Fracture:
Conchoidal
Density:
2.168 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.165 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Halite

Crystal System:
Isometric
Class (H-M):
m3m (4/m 3 2/m) - Hexoctahedral
Space Group:
Fm3m
Cell Parameters:
a = 5.6404(1) Å
Unit Cell Volume:
V 179.44 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
4
Morphology:
Normally cubic, rarely octahedral. Crystal faces often cavernous and stepped (hopper crystals). Massive. Coarsely granular to compact; columnar, stalactitic or capillary forms rare.
Twinning:
On {111} (artificial crystals).

Crystallographic forms of Halite

Crystal Atlas:
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Halite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Crystal Structure

Structure
Reference
Wyckoff R W G (1963) Second edition. Interscience Publishers, New York, New York rocksalt structure. Crystal Structures 1:85-237.

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More Crystal Structures
Click here to view more crystal structures at the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database

Optical Data of Halite

Type:
Isotropic
RI values:
n = 1.5443
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.000 - Isotropic minerals have no birefringence
Surface Relief:
Low
Dispersion:
Moderately strong
Pleochroism:
Weak
Comments:
The pleochroism id sometimes developed in coloured material after being subjected to pressure.
Comments:
Weakly anisotropic due to stress.

Chemical Properties of Halite

Formula:
NaCl
All elements listed in formula:
Common Impurities:
I,Br,Fe,O

Relationship of Halite to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of Group:
3.AA.05MarshiteCuI
3.AA.05Miersite(Ag,Cu)I
3.AA.05NantokiteCuCl
3.AA.05UM1999-11:I:CuSCu(I,S)
3.AA.10IodargyriteAgI
3.AA.10Tocornalite(Ag,Hg)I
3.AA.15BromargyriteAgBr
3.AA.15ChlorargyriteAgCl
3.AA.20CarobbiiteKF
3.AA.20GriceiteLiF
3.AA.20SylviteKCl
3.AA.20VilliaumiteNaF
3.AA.25SalammoniacNH4Cl
3.AA.25UM1998-03-Cl:TlTlCl
3.AA.25LafossaiteTl(Cl,Br)
3.AA.30Calomel(Hg2)2+Cl2
3.AA.30Kuzminite(Hg22+)(Br,Cl)2
3.AA.30Moschelite(Hg22+)I2
3.AA.35NeighboriteNaMgF3
3.AA.40ChlorocalciteKCaCl3
3.AA.45KolaritePbTeCl2
3.AA.50RadhakrishnaitePbTe3(Cl,S)2
3.AA.55ChallacolloiteKPb2Cl5
3.AA.60HephaistositeTlPb2Cl5

Other Names for Halite

Name in Other Languages:
Basque:Halita
Catalan:Halita
Czech:Halit
Dutch:Haliet
Estonian:Haliit
Hebrew:הליט
Japanese:岩塩
Lithuanian:Halitas
Low Saxon:Halit
Norwegian (Bokmål):Halitt
Polish:Halit
Portuguese:Halita
Romanian:Sare gemă
Russian:Галит
Simplified Chinese:石盐
岩盐
Slovak:Halit
Traditional Chinese:石鹽
Ukrainian:Галіт

Other Information

Red (SW UV)[Searles Lake, CA]. Orange (SW) [Poland]
Thermal Behaviour:
Melts at 804°.
Health Risks:
Licking or ingesting raw halite in the "wild" could cause health problems due to unidentified admixed substances (such as alkaline compounds).
Industrial Uses:
Edible salt, chlorine production

References for Halite

Reference List:
Karsten (1845) Journal für praktische Chemie, Leipzig: 36: 127. [as Martinsite]

Adam, M. (1869) Tableau minéralogique, Paris. [as Natrikalite]

Dana (1868) System of Mineralogy, 5th. ed.: 112.

Exner (1873) Härte an Krystallflächen, Wien.

Raimondi (1876) in: Domeyko, Min. Chili, 5th. Appendix (as Huantajayite).

Cesàro (1888) Société géologique de Belgique, Liége, Memoir: 15: 204.

Brauns (1889) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart: 1: 113.

Bragg (1914) Royal Society of London, Proceedings: 9A: 468.

Straumanis and Ievins (1914) Zeitschrift für Physik, Brunswick, Berlin: 109: 468.

Tertsch (1932) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 81: 264.

Paniche (1933) Periodico de Mineralogia-Roma: 4: 25. [as β-halite]

Murzaev (1941) Ac.sc. Leningrad Comptes rendus (Doklady): 33: 306. [as Saltspar]

Palache, C., Berman, H., Frondel, C. (1951) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Seventh edition, Volume II: 4-7.

Panichi, U. (1933) Sul dimorfismo del salgemma e della silvite. Periodico di Mineralogia: 25-33.

Hunt, G.R., Salisbury, J.W., Lenhoff, C.J. (1972) Visible and near-infrared spectra of minerals and rocks: V. Halides, phosphates, arsenates, vanadates and borates. Modern Geology: 3: 121-132.

Basso R., Della Giusta A., Isetti G. (1977) Anomalie ottiche in cristalli di salgemma. Periodico di mineralogia: 91-98.

Janz, G.J. (1980) Molten-salts data as reference-standards for density, surface-tension viscosity and electrical conductance - KNO3 and NaCl. Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data: 9: 791-829.

Williams-Jones, A.E., Samson, I.M. (1990) Theoretical estimation of halite solubility in the system NaCl-CaCl2-H2O: applications to fluid inclusions. The Canadian Mineralogist: 28: 299-304.

Sonnenfeld, P. (1995) The color of rock salt - a review. Sedimentary Geology: 94: 267-276.

Wang, K., Reeber, R.R. (1996) Thermal expansion of alkali halides at high pressure: NaCl as an example Sample: T = 300 K, Molar volume = 26.98 cc/mol. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 23: 354-360.

Africano, F., Van Rompaey, G., Bernard, A., Le Guern, F. (2002) Deposition of trace elements from high temperature gases of Satsuma-Iwojima volcano. Earth Planets Space: 54: 275-286.

Matsui, M., Higo, Y., Okamoto, Y., Irifune, T., Funakoshi, K.-I. (2012) Simultaneous sound velocity and density measurements of NaCl at high temperatures and pressures: Application as a primary pressure standard. American Mineralogist: 97: 1670-1675.

Sylwia M. Zelek, Aleksandra Wesełucha-Birczyńska, Janusz Szklarzewicz, Katarzyna M. Stadnicka (2015) Spectroscopic properties of halite from Kłodawa salt mine, central Poland. Mineralogy and Petrology: 109: 45-51. [on blue halite]

Motai, S., Kawano, J., Nagai, T., Sowa, K., Watanabe, T. (2016) Precipitation of halite during calcification of the massive reef-building coral Porites lobata. European Journal of Mineralogy: 28 (in press); http://forum.amiminerals.it/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12401 (2016)

Internet Links for Halite

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

Localities for Halite

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.
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