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Magnesite

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Formula:
MgCO3
System:
Trigonal
Colour:
Colourless, white, ...
Lustre:
Vitreous
Hardness:
3½ - 4½
Member of:
Name:
In allusion to the composition, containing principally MAGNESium.

Classification of Magnesite

Approved
5.AB.05

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

14 : ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
1 : A(XO3)
11.3.1

11 : Carbonates
3 : Carbonates of Mg
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First Recorded Occurrence of Magnesite

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

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:
2.98 - 3.02 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.01 g/cm3 (Calculated)

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.

Crystallographic forms of Magnesite

Crystal Atlas:
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Magnesite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Magnesite no.5 - 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

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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
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
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.191
Image 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:
MgCO3
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
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:
Other Members of Group:
5.AB.05CalciteCaCO3
5.AB.05Gaspéite(Ni,Mg,Fe)CO3
5.AB.05OtaviteCdCO3
5.AB.05RhodochrositeMnCO3
5.AB.05SideriteFeCO3
5.AB.05SmithsoniteZnCO3
5.AB.05SpherocobaltiteCoCO3
5.AB.10AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
5.AB.10DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2
5.AB.10KutnohoriteCa(Mn,Mg,Fe)(CO3)2
5.AB.10MinrecorditeCaZn(CO3)2
5.AB.15AragoniteCaCO3
5.AB.15CerussitePbCO3
5.AB.15StrontianiteSrCO3
5.AB.15WitheriteBaCO3
5.AB.20VateriteCaCO3
5.AB.25HuntiteCaMg3(CO3)4
5.AB.30NorsethiteBaMg(CO3)2
5.AB.35AlstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.40OlekminskiteSr(Sr,Ca,Ba)(CO3)2
5.AB.40ParalstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.45BarytocalciteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.50Carbocernaite(Ca,Na)(Sr,Ce,Ba)(CO3)2
5.AB.55Benstonite(Ba,Sr)6(Ca,Mn)6Mg(CO3)13
5.AB.60JuangodoyiteNa2Cu(CO3)2
11.3.2BarringtoniteMgCO3 · 2H2O
11.3.3NesquehoniteMgCO3 · 3H2O
11.3.4LansforditeMgCO3 · 5H2O
11.3.5PokrovskiteMg2(CO3)(OH)2
11.3.6ArtiniteMg2(CO3)(OH)2 · 3H2O
11.3.7HydromagnesiteMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 4H2O
11.3.8GiorgiositeMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 5-6H2O
11.3.9DypingiteMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 5H2O
11.3.10EiteliteNa2Mg(CO3)2
11.3.11Mcguinnessite(Mg,Cu)2(CO3)(OH)2

Other Names for Magnesite

Other Information

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 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 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

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

Localities for Magnesite

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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