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Nepheline

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Formula:
(Na,K)AlSiO
 
4
System:HexagonalColour:White, grey, yellowish
Hardness:5½ - 6
Name:From the Greek "nephele" for "cloud" since it turns cloudy when treated with strong acid.


A rock-forming mineral. Common in nepheline syenite, an igneous rock often found in alkaline complexes.

Compare the related kalsilite.

The presence of satellite reflections seems to be a universal property of nepheline (Vulić et al., 2011); most of samples show a practically complete Si-Al-ordering, but some exhibit disorder up to 20%.

Ebay Warning: Some dealers on Ebay are selling aragonite specimens as 'nepheline'. Avoid any orange-brown hexagonal clusters listed from China as they are not nepheline at all.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Nepheline. Currently in public beta-test.

Classification of Nepheline

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:8/J.02-10
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:9.FA.05

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
F : Tektosilicates without zeolitic H2O
A : Tektosilicates without additional non-tetrahedral anions
Dana 8th edition ID:76.2.1.2

76 : TECTOSILICATES Al-Si Framework
2 : Al-Si Framework Feldspathoids and related species
Hey's CIM Ref.:16.4.1

16 : Silicates Containing Aluminum and other Metals
4 : Aluminosilicates of Na and K
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Type Occurrence of Nepheline

Type Locality:Monte Somma, Somma-Vesuvius Complex, Naples Province, Campania, Italy
Year of Discovery:1801

Occurrences of Nepheline

Geological Setting:Characteristic of alkaline igneous rocks.

Physical Properties of Nepheline

Lustre:Vitreous, Greasy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent, Opaque
Colour:White, grey, yellowish
Comment:Colored by inclusions also.
Hardness (Mohs):5½ - 6
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:Poor/Indistinct
Poor on {1010}, {0001}
Fracture:Sub-Conchoidal
Density (measured):2.55 - 2.66 g/cm3
Density (calculated):2.64 g/cm3

Crystallography of Nepheline

Crystal System:Hexagonal
Class (H-M):6 - Pyramidal
Space Group:P63
Cell Parameters:a = 9.993(2) Å, c = 8.374(3) Å
Ratio:a:c = 1 : 0.838
Unit Cell Volume:V 724.19 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:8
Morphology:Stout prisms, granular, compact, massive
Twinning:On {1010}, {3365}, {1122}
Crystal Atlas:
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Nepheline no.9 - 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.

Optical Data of Nepheline

Type:Uniaxial (-)
RI values: nω = 1.529 - 1.546 nε = 1.526 - 1.542
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.003 - 0.004

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Low

Chemical Properties of Nepheline

Formula:
(Na,K)AlSiO
 
4
Simplified for copy/paste:(Na,K)AlSiO4
Essential elements:Al, Na, O, Si
All elements listed in formula:Al, K, Na, O, Si
Common Impurities:Mg,Ca,H2O

Relationship of Nepheline to other Species

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
9.FA.05Kaliophilite
KAlSiO
 
4
9.FA.05Kalsilite
KAlSiO
 
4
9.FA.05Panunzite
(K,Na)AlSiO
 
4
9.FA.05Trikalsilite
(K,Na)AlSiO
 
4
9.FA.05Yoshiokaite
(Ca,Na)[Al(Al,Si)O
 
4
]
9.FA.05Megakalsilite
KAlSiO
 
4
9.FA.10Malinkoite
NaBSiO
 
4
9.FA.15Virgilite
LiAlSi
 
2
O
 
6
9.FA.25Lisitsynite
KBSi
 
2
O
 
6
9.FA.30Adularia
KAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.30Anorthoclase
(Na,K)AlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.30Buddingtonite
(NH
 
4
)AlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.30Celsian
BaAl
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.30Hyalophane
(K,Ba)[Al(Si,Al)Si
 
2
O
 
8
]
9.FA.30Microcline
KAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.30Orthoclase
KAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.30Sanidine
KAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.30Rubicline
(Rb,K)AlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.30Monalbite
NaAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.35Albite
NaAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.35Andesine
(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si
 
2
O
 
8
]
9.FA.35Anorthite
CaAl
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.35Bytownite
(Ca,Na)[Al(Al,Si)Si
 
2
O
 
8
]
9.FA.35Labradorite
(Ca,Na)[Al(Al,Si)Si
 
2
O
 
8
]
9.FA.35Oligoclase
(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si
 
2
O
 
8
]
9.FA.35Reedmergnerite
Na[BSi
 
3
O
 
8
]
9.FA.40Paracelsian
BaAl
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.45Svyatoslavite
CaAl
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.45Kumdykolite
NaAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.50Slawsonite
(Sr,Ca)Al
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.55Lisetite
CaNa
 
2
Al
 
4
Si
 
4
O
 
16
9.FA.60Banalsite
BaNa
 
2
[Al
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
]
 
2
9.FA.60Stronalsite
SrNa
 
2
[Al
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
]
 
2
9.FA.65Danburite
CaB
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.65Maleevite
BaB
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.65Pekovite
SrB
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
8
9.FA.70Lingunite
(Na,Ca)AlSi
 
3
O
 
8
9.FA.75Kokchetavite
KAlSi
 
3
O
 
8
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
16.4.2Panunzite
(K,Na)AlSiO
 
4
16.4.3Trikalsilite
(K,Na)AlSiO
 
4
16.4.4Anorthoclase
(Na,K)AlSi
 
3
O
 
8
16.4.5Naujakasite
(Na,K)
 
6
(Fe
2+
 
,Mn
2+
 
,Ca)(Al,Fe)
 
4
Si
 
8
O
 
26
16.4.6Montesommaite
(K,Na)
 
9
Al
 
9
Si
 
23
O
 
64
· 10H
 
2
O

Other Names for Nepheline

Synonyms:
BeudantineBeudantite (of Covelli)CaroliniteCavoliniteFatstone
GieseckitNepheliteOelsteinSommite
Other Languages:
German:Carolinit
Cavolinit
Fettstein
Nephelin
Nephelit
Italian:Beudantina
Russian:Нефелин
Simplified Chinese:霞石
Spanish:Carolinita
Cavolinita
Nephelita
Traditional Chinese:霞石
Varieties:
ElaeoliteEleoliteGermanate-nepheline

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 Nepheline

Reference List:

- +
Klaproth, M.H. (1810):Chemische Untersuchung des Elaeoliths, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Fünfter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 176-179

American Mineralogist (1972): 57: 1711-1719.

Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie et de Cristallographie (1984): 107: 499.

Mineralogical Record (1990): 21: 235-248.

Rastsvetaeva, R.K., Aksenov, S.M., Chukanov, N.V. (2010): Disordering of Al and Si in nepheline from Graulai (Germany). Doklady Chemistry, 435, 339-342.

Friese, K., Grzechnik, A., Petrícek, V., Schönleber, A., van Smaalen, S., Morgenroth, W. (2011): Modulated structure of nepheline. Acta Crystallographica, B67, 18-29.

Vulić, P., Balić-Žunić, T., Belmonte, L.J., Kahlenberg, V. (2011): Crystal chemistry of nephelines from ijolites and nepheline-rich pegmatites: influence of composition and genesis on the crystal structure investigated by X-ray diffraction. Mineralogy and Petrology, 101, 185-194.

Internet Links for Nepheline

Search Engines:
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  • External Links:
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  • Look for Nepheline on Wikipedia
  • Look for Nepheline on Mineralien Atlas
  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Nepheline details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
  • Mineral Dealers:
  • Find Nepheline on www.crystalclassics.co.uk
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  • Specimens:The following Nepheline specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

    Localities for Nepheline

    The 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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