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Mirabilite

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Formula:
Na2SO4 · 10H2O
System:
Monoclinic
Colour:
Colourless, white; ...
Lustre:
Vitreous
Hardness:
1½ - 2
Name:
Based on the phrase "Sal mirabile" used by J.R. Glauber (1603-1668) when he inadvertently formed the artificial compound while working with sulfuric acid and salt.
Quickly dehydrates to thenardite in dry air.

Classification of Mirabilite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
7.CD.10

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
C : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) without additional anions, with H2O
D : With only large cations
29.2.2.1

29 : HYDRATED ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
2 : A2XO4·xH2O
25.1.3

25 : Sulphates
1 : Sulphates of the alkali metals and ammonium
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Occurrences of Mirabilite

Geological Setting:
Saline lake deposits, playas and springs; as an efflorescence on clayey, alkalic soils; in caves and sheltered spot on recent lavas. Often deposited from saline waters in cold seasons in sea sprays.

Physical Properties of Mirabilite

Vitreous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Opaque
Colour:
Colourless, white; colourless in transmitted light
Streak:
White
Hardness (Mohs):
1½ - 2
Cleavage:
Perfect
On {100} perfect; also reported on {001}, {010}, and {011}.
Fracture:
Conchoidal
Density:
1.49 g/cm3 (Measured)    

Crystallography of Mirabilite

Crystal System:
Monoclinic
Class (H-M):
2/m - Prismatic
Cell Parameters:
a = 12.84Å, b = 10.37Å, c = 11.52Å
β = 107.77°
Ratio:
a:b:c = 1.238 : 1 : 1.111
Unit Cell Volume:
V 1,460.71 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Morphology:
Crystals short prismatic [001]. Usually prismatic to acicular [010]; also thin tabular {100} or {001}, or lath-like due to flattening on {100} and elongation parallel to [010] (artificial material). Massive; efflorescences or masses of interlocking fibers; granular; stalactitic.
Twinning:
Interpenetration twinning on {001}; also on {100}.

Crystallographic forms of Mirabilite

Crystal Atlas:
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Mirabilite no.8 - 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

Optical Data of Mirabilite

Type:
Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.396 nβ = 1.410 nγ = 1.419
2V:
Measured: 75° , Calculated: 74°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.023
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Moderate
Dispersion:
none

Chemical Properties of Mirabilite

Formula:
Na2SO4 · 10H2O
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:

Relationship of Mirabilite to other Species

7.CD.05MatteucciteNaHSO4 · H2O
7.CD.15Lecontite(NH4,K)NaSO4 · 2H2O
7.CD.20HydroglauberiteNa10Ca3(SO4)8 · 6H2O
7.CD.25EugsteriteNa4Ca(SO4)3 · 2H2O
7.CD.30GörgeyiteK2Ca5(SO4)6 · H2O
7.CD.35Koktaite(NH4)2Ca(SO4)2 · H2O
7.CD.35SyngeniteK2Ca(SO4)2 · H2O
7.CD.40GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
7.CD.45BassaniteCaSO4 · 0.5H2O
7.CD.50Zircosulfate(Zr,Ti)(SO4)2 · 4H2O
7.CD.55SchieffelinitePb8(TeO4)5(SO4)3 · 8H2O
7.CD.60MontaniteBi2(TeO6) · 2H2O
7.CD.65OmongwaiteNa2Ca5(SO4)6 · 3H2O
25.1.1ThénarditeNa2SO4
25.1.2MatteucciteNaHSO4 · H2O
25.1.4ArcaniteK2SO4
25.1.5MercalliteKHSO4
25.1.6MiseniteK8H6(SO4)7
25.1.7Aphthitalite(K,Na)3Na(SO4)2
25.1.8Mascagnite(NH4)2SO4
25.1.9Letovicite(NH4)3H(SO4)2
25.1.10Ammonioalunite(NH4)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6

Other Names for Mirabilite

Other Information

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 Mirabilite

Reference List:
Glauber (1658) Tractatus de natura salium (as Sal mirabile).

Bergmann, T. (1782) Sciagraphia regni mineralis (as Alcali minerale vitriolatum).

Reuss (1791) Crell’s Chemical Journal, London: 2: 18 (as Gediegen Glaubersalz).

Lenz, D.G. (1794) Versuch einer vollständigen Anleitung zur Kenntniss der Mineralien. 2 volumes, Leipzig: 1: 489 (as Natürliches Bittersalz).

Karsten, D.L.G. (1800) Mineralogische Tabellen, Berlin. First edition: 40 (as Reussin).

Haidinger, Wm. (1825) Treatise on Mineralogy, by F. Mohs; translation with considerable additions. 3 volumes, Edinburg: 2: 31.

Beudant, F.S. (1832), Trailé élémentaire de Minéralogie, second edition, 2 volumes: 2: 475 (as Exanthalose).

Haidinger, Wm. (1845) Handbuch der bestimmenden Mineralogie. Vienna: 488.

Hausmann, J.F.L. (1847) Handbuch der Mineralogie 3 volumes, Göttingen. Second edition, vol. 2, in two parts: 2: 1182.

Zepharovich (1879) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 3: 100.

Trechmann (1901) Mineralogical Magazine: 13: 73.

Rosický (1908) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 45: 473.

Pardillo (1915) Bol. r. soc. española hist. nat.: 15: 153; ...(abstract) Min. Abs. (1920): 1: 78.

Peck (1917) American Mineralogist: 2: 62.

Goldschmidt, V. (1918) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text, vol. 4: 49.

Larsen, E.S. (1921) The Microscopic Determination of the Nonopaque Minerals, First edition, USGS Bulletin 679: 111.

Wells (1923) USGS Bulletin 717: 2.

Schaller (1932) USGS Bulletin 833: 81.

Larsen, E.S. and Berman, H. (1934) The Microscopic Determination of the Nonopaque Minerals, Second edition, USGS Bulletin 848: 148.

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: 439-442.

Cocco, G., Rossetti, V. (1959), La cella elementare della mirabilite. Periodico di Mineralogia – Roma pp. 231-232.

Acta Crystallographica (1978): B34: 3502-3510.

Journal of the American Chemical Society: 83: 820-824.

Internet Links for Mirabilite

Localities for Mirabilite

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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