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Mirabilite

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Formula:
Na
 
2
SO
 
4
· 10H
 
2
O
System:MonoclinicColour:Colourless, white; ...
Lustre:VitreousHardness: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

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:6/C.21-80
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:7.CD.10

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
C : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) without additional anions, with H2O
D : With only large cations
Dana 8th edition ID:29.2.2.1

29 : HYDRATED ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
2 : A2XO4·xH2O
Hey's CIM Ref.: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

Lustre: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 (measured):1.49 g/cm3

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}.
Crystal Atlas:
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Mirabilite no.8 - 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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Optical Data of Mirabilite

Type:Biaxial (-)
RI values: nα = 1.396 nβ = 1.410 nγ = 1.419
2V:Measured: 75° , Calculated: 74°
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.023

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 Mirabilite

Formula:
Na
 
2
SO
 
4
· 10H
 
2
O
Simplified for copy/paste:Na2SO4·10H2O
Essential elements:H, Na, O, S
All elements listed in formula:H, Na, O, S

Relationship of Mirabilite to other Species

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
7.CD.05Matteuccite
NaHSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
7.CD.15Lecontite
(NH
 
4
,K)NaSO
 
4
· 2H
 
2
O
7.CD.20Hydroglauberite
Na
 
10
Ca
 
3
(SO
 
4
)
 
8
· 6H
 
2
O
7.CD.25Eugsterite
Na
 
4
Ca(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 2H
 
2
O
7.CD.30Görgeyite
K
 
2
Ca
 
5
(SO
 
4
)
 
6
· H
 
2
O
7.CD.35Koktaite
(NH
 
4
)
 
2
Ca(SO
 
4
)
 
2
· H
 
2
O
7.CD.35Syngenite
K
 
2
Ca(SO
 
4
)
 
2
· H
 
2
O
7.CD.40Gypsum
CaSO
 
4
· 2H
 
2
O
7.CD.45Bassanite
CaSO
 
4
· 0.5H
 
2
O
7.CD.50Zircosulfate
(Zr,Ti)(SO
 
4
)
 
2
· 4H
 
2
O
7.CD.55Schieffelinite
Pb
 
8
(TeO
 
4
)
 
5
(SO
 
4
)
 
3
· 8H
 
2
O
7.CD.60Montanite
Bi
 
2
(TeO
 
6
) · 2H
 
2
O
7.CD.65Omongwaite
Na
 
2
Ca
 
5
(SO
 
4
)
 
6
· 3H
 
2
O
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
25.1.1Thénardite
Na
 
2
SO
 
4
25.1.2Matteuccite
NaHSO
 
4
· H
 
2
O
25.1.4Arcanite
K
 
2
SO
 
4
25.1.5Mercallite
KHSO
 
4
25.1.6Misenite
K
 
8
H
 
6
(SO
 
4
)
 
7
25.1.7Aphthitalite
(K,Na)
 
3
Na(SO
 
4
)
 
2
25.1.8Mascagnite
(NH
 
4
)
 
2
SO
 
4
25.1.9Letovicite
(NH
 
4
)
 
3
H(SO
 
4
)
 
2
25.1.10Ammonioalunite
(NH
 
4
)Al
 
3
(SO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
 
6

Other Names for Mirabilite

Synonyms:
ExanthaloseGlauber SaltNatürliches BittersalzNatürliches WundersalzReussin
Sal mirabileSulfate of Soda
Other Languages:
Catalan:Mirabilita
French:Sel de Glauber
Soude sulfatée
German:Gediegen Glaubersalz
Glaubersalz
Mirabilit
Italian:Mirabilite
Latin:Alcali minerale vitriolatum
Russian:Мирабилит
Simplified Chinese:芒硝
Spanish:Mirabilita

Other Information

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 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.

Best Localities for Mirabilite

Best of Species:Mirabilite

Internet Links for Mirabilite

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

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