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Melanterite

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Formula:
FeSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
System:MonoclinicColour:Colorless to white or ...
Hardness:2
Member of:Melanterite Group
Name:Named in 1850 from the Greek μελαντηρία for "copperas," meaning ferrous sulfate.


Melanterite Group.
Iron analogue of chalcanthite and zincmelanterite.

Melanterite is a hydrated iron sulphate formed after the decomposition of pyrite or other iron minerals due to the action of surface waters. It is often found in mines as a post-mining formation on mine walls.

May dehydrate to siderotile.

CAUTION: Melanterite is an indicator of the possible presence of sulfuric acid and should not be handled with bare hands or inhaled.

Classification of Melanterite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:6/C.06-10
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:7.CB.35

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
C : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) without additional anions, with H2O
B : With only medium-sized cations
Dana 7th edition ID:29.6.10.1
Dana 8th edition ID:29.6.10.1

29 : HYDRATED ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
6 : AXO4·xH2O
Hey's CIM Ref.:25.10.5

25 : Sulphates
10 : Sulphates of Fe alone
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Occurrences of Melanterite

Geological Setting:A secondary mineral formed by the oxidation of iron sulfide minerals, such as pyrite and marcasite, it is found occurring naturally in sheltered crevices and cavities in sulfidic sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, and in coal and lignite deposits. It also forms readily on the walls, timbers, and other structures in mines.

Physical Properties of Melanterite

Lustre:Vitreous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Translucent, Opaque
Colour:Colorless to white or green, also greenish-blue to blue with increased Cu content; colourless to pale green in transmitted light.
Comment:Usually a yellowish-white after exposure to air and moisture.
Streak:White.
Hardness (Mohs):2
Hardness Data:Measured
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:Perfect
Perfect on {001}, distinct on {110}.
Fracture:Conchoidal
Density (measured):1.89 g/cm3
Density (calculated):1.893 g/cm3

Crystallography of Melanterite

Crystal System:Monoclinic
Class (H-M):2/m - Prismatic
Space Group:P21/b {P1 1 21/b} {P21/c} {P1 21/c 1} {P21/a}
Cell Parameters:a = 14.077Å, b = 6.509Å, c = 11.054Å
β = 105.6°
Ratio:a:b:c = 2.163 : 1 : 1.698
Unit Cell Volume:V 975.54 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:4
Morphology:Crystals rare, equant to short prismatic parallel to [001] with prominent {110} and {001}; thick tabular {010} or {10_1}, also pseudo-octahedral due to equal development of {110}, {001}, and {_101}; more typically found as beard-like efflorescences, or as capillary to fibrous aggregates; it may also be stalactic or concretionary.
Twinning:None reported.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
d-spacingIntensity
5.49(10)
4.90(100)
4.87(50)
4.03(10)
3.78(60)
3.73(20)
3.29(20)
3.21(10)

Optical Data of Melanterite

Type:Biaxial (+)
RI values: nα = 1.470 - 1.471 nβ = 1.477 - 1.480 nγ = 1.486
2V:Measured: 86° , Calculated: 80°
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.016

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Moderate
Dispersion:none

Chemical Properties of Melanterite

Formula:
FeSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
Simplified for copy/paste:FeSO4·7H2O
Essential elements:Fe, H, O, S
All elements listed in formula:Fe, H, O, S
Analytical Data:Soluble in water.
Common Impurities:Cu,Mg

Relationship of Melanterite to other Species

Member of:Melanterite Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Alpersite
(Mg,Cu)[SO
 
4
] · 7H
 
2
O
Bieberite
CoSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
Boothite
CuSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
Mallardite
MnSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
Zincmelanterite
(Zn,Cu,Fe)SO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
7.CB.05Dwornikite
(Ni,Fe)SO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CB.05Gunningite
ZnSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CB.05Kieserite
MgSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CB.05Poitevinite
(Cu,Fe,Zn)SO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CB.05Szmikite
MnSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CB.05Szomolnokite
FeSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CB.05Cobaltkieserite
CoSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CB.07Sanderite
MgSO
 
4
· 2H
 
2
O
7.CB.10Bonattite
CuSO
 
4
· 3H
 
2
O
7.CB.15Aplowite
(Co,Mn,Ni)SO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CB.15Boyleite
(Zn,Mg)SO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CB.15Ilesite
(Mn,Zn,Fe)SO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CB.15Rozenite
FeSO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CB.15Starkeyite
MgSO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CB.15Drobecite
CdSO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CB.15Cranswickite
MgSO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CB.20Chalcanthite
CuSO
 
4
· 5H
 
2
O
7.CB.20Jôkokuite
MnSO
 
4
· 5H
 
2
O
7.CB.20Pentahydrite
MgSO
 
4
· 5H
 
2
O
7.CB.20Siderotil
FeSO
 
4
· 5H
 
2
O
7.CB.25Bianchite
(Zn,Fe)SO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.25Chvaleticeite
(Mn,Mg)SO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.25Ferrohexahydrite
FeSO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.25Hexahydrite
MgSO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.25Moorhouseite
(Co,Ni,Mn)SO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.25Nickelhexahydrite
(Ni,Mg,Fe)SO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.30Retgersite
NiSO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.35Bieberite
CoSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.35Boothite
CuSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.35Mallardite
MnSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.35Zincmelanterite
(Zn,Cu,Fe)SO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.35Alpersite
(Mg,Cu)[SO
 
4
] · 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.40Epsomite
MgSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.40Goslarite
ZnSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.40Morenosite
NiSO
 
4
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.45Alunogen
Al
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 17H
 
2
O
7.CB.45Meta-alunogen
Al
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 12H
 
2
O
7.CB.50Aluminocoquimbite
FeAl(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 9H
 
2
O
7.CB.55Coquimbite
Fe
 
2-x
Al
 
x
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 9H
 
2
O, x ~0.5
7.CB.55Paracoquimbite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 9H
 
2
O
7.CB.55Rhomboclase
(H
 
5
O
 
2
)Fe
3+
 
(SO
 
4
)
 
2
· 2H
 
2
O
7.CB.60Kornelite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 7H
 
2
O
7.CB.65Quenstedtite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 10H
 
2
O
7.CB.70Lausenite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
·6H
 
2
O
7.CB.75Lishizhenite
ZnFe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 14H
 
2
O
7.CB.75Römerite
Fe
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 14H
 
2
O
7.CB.80Ransomite
CuFe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CB.85Apjohnite
Mn
2+
 
Al
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 22H
 
2
O
7.CB.85Bílinite
Fe
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 22H
 
2
O
7.CB.85Dietrichite
(Zn,Fe
2+
 
,Mn
2+
 
)Al
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 22H
 
2
O
7.CB.85Halotrichite
FeAl
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 22H
 
2
O
7.CB.85Pickeringite
MgAl
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 22H
 
2
O
7.CB.85Redingtonite
(Fe
2+
 
,Mg,Ni)(Cr,Al)
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
·22H
 
2
O
7.CB.85Wupatkiite
(Co,Mg,Ni)Al
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
·22H
 
2
O
7.CB.90Meridianiite
MgSO
 
4
· 11H
 
2
O
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
25.10.1Szomolnokite
FeSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
25.10.2Rozenite
FeSO
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
25.10.3Siderotil
FeSO
 
4
· 5H
 
2
O
25.10.4Ferrohexahydrite
FeSO
 
4
· 6H
 
2
O
25.10.6Rhomboclase
(H
 
5
O
 
2
)Fe
3+
 
(SO
 
4
)
 
2
· 2H
 
2
O
25.10.7Lausenite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
·6H
 
2
O
25.10.8Kornelite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 7H
 
2
O
25.10.9Coquimbite
Fe
 
2-x
Al
 
x
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 9H
 
2
O, x ~0.5
25.10.10Paracoquimbite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 9H
 
2
O
25.10.11Quenstedtite
Fe
 
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 10H
 
2
O
25.10.12Ferricopiapite
Fe
 
5
(SO
 
4
)
 
6
O(OH) · 20H
 
2
O
25.10.13Metahohmannite
Fe
3+
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
2
O · 4H
 
2
O
25.10.14Hohmannite
Fe
3+
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
2
O · 8H
 
2
O
25.10.15Butlerite
Fe
3+
 
(SO
 
4
)(OH) · 2H
 
2
O
25.10.16Parabutlerite
Fe
3+
 
(SO
 
4
)(OH) · 2H
 
2
O
25.10.17Amarantite
Fe
3+
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
2
O · 7H
 
2
O
25.10.18Fibroferrite
Fe
3+
 
(SO
 
4
)(OH) · 5H
 
2
O
25.10.19Hydroniumjarosite
(H
 
3
O)Fe
3+
3
(SO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
 
6
25.10.20Römerite
Fe
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 14H
 
2
O
25.10.21Bílinite
Fe
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
(SO
 
4
)
 
4
· 22H
 
2
O
25.10.22Copiapite
Fe
2+
 
Fe
3+
4
(SO
 
4
)
 
6
(OH)
 
2
· 20H
 
2
O

Other Names for Melanterite

Synonyms:
CopperasGreen VitriolIron VitriolMelantheriteSulphate of Iron
Other Languages:
French:Fer sulfaté
Mélantérie
German:Copperasin
Eisenvitriol
Kupferwasser
Melanterit
Greek:Мελαυτηρία
Хάλκαυθου
Latin:Atramentum
Atramentum sutorium viride
Atramentum viride
Melanteria
Vitriolum
Vitriolum viride
Russian:Мелантерит
Simplified Chinese:水绿矾
Spanish:Alcaparossa Verde
Melanterita
Vitrolo verde
Varieties:
Cuprian MelanteriteCuprokiroviteKiroviteManganoan MelanteriteMg-bearing Melanterite
Zincian Melanterite

Other Information

Special Storage/
Display Requirements from:
Boyd Mine,..., Polk Co., Tennessee, USAWill dehydrate to white
Health Warning:Contains sulfuric acid - avoid contact of dust with skin, especially wet or moist skin, use gloves. Always wash hands after handling. Avoid inhaling dust when handling or breaking. Never lick or ingest. Always treat decrepitated pyrite (pyrite disease) as melanterite / sulfuric acid.

References for Melanterite

Reference List:

- +
Beudant, F.S. (1832), Trailé élémentaire de Minéralogie, second edition, 2 volumes: 2: 482 (as Mélantérie).

Chapman, E.J. (1843) Practical Mineralogy. London, Paris, and Leipzig: 14 (as Melantherite).

Haidinger, Wm. (1850) Handbuch der bestimmenden Mineralogie. Vienna, 2nd. Edition: 489 (as Melanterit).

Erofejeff (1867) Konigliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, Sitzber.: 56: 63.

Raimondi, A. (1878) Minéraux du Pérou: Catalogue raisonné d’une collection des principaux types minéraux de la République. 336pp., Paris: 212 (as Alcaparrosa verde).

Zepharovich (1879) Konigliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, Sitzber.: 79: 183.

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

Michel (1894) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 17: 204.

Edgren (1901) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 23: 329.

Schaller (1903) University of California, Department of Geology Bull.: 3: 191.

Pilipenko (1915) Bull. Imp. Tomsk. Univ., no. 63 [Min. Abs.: 2: 113 (1923)].

Goldschmidt, V. (1916) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 3: 111.

Larsen, E.S. (1921) The Microscopic Determination of the Nonopaque Minerals, First edition, USGS Bulletin 679: 120.

Collins (1923) Mineralogical Magazine: 20: 32.

Niggli and Faesy (1924) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 59: 258.

Vavrinecz (1927) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 66: 167.

Westenbrink (1927) Recueil des travaux chimiques des Pays-Bas et de la Belgique, Leyden: 46: 105.

Zsivny (1928) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 66: 651.

Vavrinecz (1929) Magyar Chemiai Folyóirat, Budapest: 35: 1.

Hey (1930) Mineralogical Magazine: 22: 413.

Eckel (1933) American Mineralogist: 18: 449.

Machatschki (1935) Zbl. Min.: 53.

Ungemach (1935) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 58: 159.

Simpson (1937) Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia: 23: 17.

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

Ness (1940) Naturwissenschaften: 28: 78.

Mélon (1944) Ann. soc. géol. Belgique: 67: B56.

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.: 499-504.

Acta Crystallographica (1964): 17: 1167-1174.

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: 611.

Peterson, R.C. (2003b) Dehydration of mine waste. The relationship among melanterite FeSO4·7H2O, siderotil FeSO4·5H2O and rozenite FeSO4·4H2O. Geological Association of Canada-Mineralogical Association of Canada-Society of Economic Geologists Abstracts Volume 28: 134-135.

Internet Links for Melanterite

Search Engines:
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  • External Links:
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  • Look for Melanterite on Wikipedia
  • Look for Melanterite on Mineralien Atlas
  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Melanterite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
  • Mineral Dealers:
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    Localities for Melanterite

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