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Magnesite

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Formula:
MgCO
 
3
System:TrigonalColour:Colourless, white, ...
Lustre:VitreousHardness:3½ - 4½
Member of:Calcite Group
Name:In allusion to the composition, containing principally MAGNESium.

Classification of Magnesite

IMA status:Approved
Strunz 8th edition ID:5/B.02-30
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:5.AB.05

5 : CARBONATES (NITRATES)
A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
B : Alkali-earth (and other M2+) carbonates
Dana 8th edition ID:14.1.1.2

14 : ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
1 : A(XO3)
Hey's CIM Ref.:11.3.1

11 : Carbonates
3 : Carbonates of Mg
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Type Occurrence of Magnesite

Co-type Localities:Magnisía Prefecture (Magnesia), Thessalia Department (Thessaly), Greece
Bettolino, Baldissero Canavese, Canavese District, Torino Province, Piedmont, Italy
Year of Discovery:1808

Occurrences of Magnesite

Geological Setting:Primary mineral in igneous and sedimentary rocks. Rarely as a gangue mineral in hydrothermal ore veins, and in oceanic salt deposits. Metamorphism of serpentinites and peridotites.

Physical Properties of Magnesite

Lustre:Vitreous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent, Translucent
Colour:Colourless, white, greyish-white, yellowish, brown, faintly pink, lilac-rose; colourless in transmitted light.
Streak:White
Hardness (Mohs):3½ - 4½
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:Perfect
On {1011}.
Fracture:Conchoidal
Density (measured):2.98 - 3.02 g/cm3
Density (calculated):3.01 g/cm3

Crystallography of Magnesite

Crystal System:Trigonal
Class (H-M):3m (3 2/m) - Hexagonal Scalenohedral
Space Group:R3c
Cell Parameters:a = 4.6632Å, c = 15.015Å
Ratio:a:c = 1 : 3.22
Unit Cell Volume:V 282.76 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:6
Morphology:Crystals usually rhombohedral {1011}, also {0112}; prismatic rare [0001] with {1120} and {0001}, or tabular {0001}. Scalenohedral rare. Massive, coarse- to fine-granular, very compact and porcelainous; earthy to rather chalky; lamellar; coarsely fibrous.
Twinning:Unproven.
Comment:Cell parameters are similar to those of smithsonite.
Crystal Atlas:
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Magnesite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Magnesite no.5 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)

About Crystal Atlas

The mindat.org Crystal Atlas allows you to view a selection of crystal drawings of real and idealised crystal forms for this mineral and, in certain cases, 3d rotating crystal objects. The 3d models and HTML5 code are kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Horizontal Axis: ° to ° Vertical Axis: % Source Data: Filtered Data:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
d-spacingIntensity
2.742 (100)
2.503 (18)
2.102 (45)
1.939 (12)
1.700 (35)
1.338 (8)
0.9134 (8)

Optical Data of Magnesite

Type:Uniaxial (-)
RI values: nω = 1.700 nε = 1.509
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.191

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Moderate
Dispersion:Very strong
Pleochroism:Visible
Comments:Cobaltian material dichroic:
E = Violet-red
O = Flesh-red

Chemical Properties of Magnesite

Formula:
MgCO
 
3
Simplified for copy/paste:MgCO3
Essential elements:C, Mg, O
All elements listed in formula:C, Mg, O
Common Impurities:Fe,Mn,Ca,Co,Ni,ORG

Relationship of Magnesite to other Species

Series:Forms a series with Gaspéite (see here)
Forms a series with Siderite (see here)
Member of:Calcite Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Calcite
CaCO
 
3
Gaspéite
(Ni,Mg,Fe)CO
 
3
Otavite
CdCO
 
3
Rhodochrosite
MnCO
 
3
Siderite
FeCO
 
3
Smithsonite
ZnCO
 
3
Spherocobaltite
CoCO
 
3
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
5.AB.05Calcite
CaCO
 
3
5.AB.05Gaspéite
(Ni,Mg,Fe)CO
 
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.35Alstonite
BaCa(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:

- +
11.3.2Barringtonite
MgCO
 
3
· 2H
 
2
O
11.3.3Nesquehonite
MgCO
 
3
· 3H
 
2
O
11.3.4Lansfordite
MgCO
 
3
· 5H
 
2
O
11.3.5Pokrovskite
Mg
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
11.3.6Artinite
Mg
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
· 3H
 
2
O
11.3.7Hydromagnesite
Mg
 
5
(CO
 
3
)
 
4
(OH)
 
2
· 4H
 
2
O
11.3.8Giorgiosite
Mg
 
5
(CO
 
3
)
 
4
(OH)
 
2
· 5-6H
 
2
O
11.3.9Dypingite
Mg
 
5
(CO
 
3
)
 
4
(OH)
 
2
· 5H
 
2
O
11.3.10Eitelite
Na
 
2
Mg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
11.3.11Mcguinnessite
(Mg,Cu)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2

Other Names for Magnesite

Synonyms:
BaldissériteBandisseriteBaudisseriteCarbonate of MagnesiaGiobertite
MagnesianiteMagnesite (of Karsten)MesititeRoubschite
Other Languages:
Danish:Magnesiumcarbonat
Dutch:Magnesiet
Finnish:Magnesiitti
French:Magnésite
Magnésie carbonatée
German:Magnesiumcarbonat
Baldissérit
Bandisserit
Baudisserit
Bitterspat
Giobertit
Kohlensaure Bittererde
Kohlensaurer Talkerde
Magnesianit
Mesitit
Reine Talkerde
Roubschit
Talkspat
Hebrew:מגנזיט
Hungarian:Magnezit
Italian:Magnesite
Japanese:菱苦土鉱
Latin:Talcum carbonatum
Polish:Magnezyt
Portuguese:Magnesita
Russian:Магнезит
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Магнезијум карбонат
Simplified Chinese:菱镁矿
Slovak:magnezit
Spanish:Baldissérita
Bandisserita
Baudisserita
Giobertita
Magnesianita
Magnesita
Mesitita
Roubschita
Turkish:Magnezit
Varieties:
BreunneriteFerroan MagnesiteGelmagnesiteKolloid-magnesiteMesitine Spar
Nickeloan Magnesite

Other Information

Fluorescence in UV light:May exhibit pale green to pale blue fluorescence and phosphorescence.
Other Information:Triboluminescent at times.

Slightly affected by cold acids. Readily soluble in warm HCl with effervescence. Slightly soluble in water with the solubility increasing with the presence of NaCl, Na2SO4, or CO2.
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 Magnesite

Reference List:

- +
Mitchell and Lampadius (1800): 3: 241 (as Kohlensaurer Talkerde).

Werner: Ludwig, C.F. (1803-1804) Handbuch der Mineralogie nach A.G. Werner. 2 volumes, Leipzig: 2: 154 (as Reine Talkerde, Talcum carbonatum).

Klaproth, M.H. (1810): Untersuchung des Magnesits aus Steiermark, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Fünfter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 97-104

Koksharov, N. von (1875) Materialien zur Mineralogie Russlands. 11 volumes with atlas: vol. 7: 181.

Weiss (1885) Jb. Preuss. Geol. Landesanst.: 113.

Hintze, Carl (1889) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3A]: 3113.

Johnsen (1902) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart: II: 133, 142.

Johnsen (1903) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, StuttgartP: 13.

Ratz analysis in: Redlich and Cornu (1908) Zeitschrift für praktische Geologie, Berlin, hale a.S.: 16: 145.

Bucking (1911) Kali: 5: 221.

Doelter, C. (1911-1931) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 1: 220.

Ford (1917) Trans. Conn. Ac. Arts Sc.: 22: 211.

Gaubert (1917) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 164: 46.

Goldschmidt, V. (1918) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text, vol. 5: 175.

Honess (1918) American Mineralogist: 45: 210.

Gaubert (1919) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 42: 88.

Niggli (1921) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 56: 230.

Dobbel (1923) American Mineralogist: 8: 223.

Rogers (1923) American Mineralogist: 8: 138.

Pardillo (1924) Treballs mus. cienc. nat. Barcelona: 9: 5.

Bradley (1925) California Bureau of Mines Bulletin 79.

Niinomy (1925) Economic Geology: 20: 25.

Barth (1927) Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift, Oslo: 9: 271.

Lonsdale (1930) American Mineralogist: 15: 238.

Pavlovitch (1931) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 54: 95.

Du Rietz (1935) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 57: 133.

Koch and Zombory (1935) Földtani Közlöny, Budapest (Magyarhone Földtani Torsulat): 64: 160.

Schoklitsch (1935) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 90: 433.

Petrascheck (1936) Forschritte der Mineralogie, Kristallographie und Petrographie, Jena: 20: 77.

Fenoglio and Sanero (1941) Periodico de Mineralogia-Roma: 12: 83.

Fornaseri (1941) Rend. Soc. min. ital.: 1: 60.

Lacroix (1941) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 213: 261.

Wayland (1942) American Mineralogist: 27: 614.

Faust and Callaghan (1948) Bulletin of the Geological Society of America: 59: 11.

Murdoch and Webb (1948) California Division of Mines Bulletin 136: 196.

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: 162-166.

Goldsmith, J.R., D.L. Graf, J. Witters & D.A. Northrop (1962), Studies in the system CaCO3•MgCO3•FeCO3: (1) Phase relations; (2) A method for major element spectrochemical analyses; and (3) Composition of some ferroan dolomites: Journal of Geology: 70: 659-688.

Irving, A.J. and Wyllie, P.J. (1975) Subsolidus and melting relationships for calcite, magnesite and the join CaCO3 - MgCO3 to 36 kbar. Geochimica et Cosmochmica Acta: 39: 35-53.

Zeitschrift für Kristallographie (1981): 156: 233-243.

Reviews in Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America: 11.

Katsura, T., Tsuchida, Y., Ito, E., Yagi, T., Utsumi, W., and Akimoto, S. (1991) Stability of magnesite under lower mantle conditions. Proceedings of the Japan Academy: 67: 57-60.

Gillet, P. (1993) Stability of magnesite (MgCO3) at mantle pressure and temperature condition: A Raman spectroscopic study. American Mineralogist: 78: 1328-1331.

Schroll, E. (2002) Genesis of magnesites in the view of isotope geochemistry- IGCP 443 Magnesite and Talc. Bole de Ciencias, Special Issue 54, Newsletter No. 2, Curitiba, Brazil (2002): 59-68.

Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (2003) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume V. Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 813pp.: 421.

E. Boulard, F. Guyot, G. Fiquet (2012): The influence on Fe content on Raman spectra and unit cell parameters of magnesite–siderite solid solutions. Phys. Chem. Minerals 39, 239-246.

Internet Links for Magnesite

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  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Magnesite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
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    Localities for Magnesite

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