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Sphalerite

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Formula:
ZnS
System:IsometricColour:Yellow, light to dark ...
Lustre:Adamantine, ResinousHardness:3½ - 4
Member of:Sphalerite Group
Name:Named in 1847 by Ernst Friedrich Glocker from the Greek σφαλεροζ "sphaleros" = treacherous, in allusion to the ease with which dark varieties were mistaken for galena, but yielded no lead. Originally called blende in 1546 by Georgius Acricola (Georg Bauer). Known by a variety of chemical-based names subsequent to Agricola and before Glocker including "zincum".
Dimorph of:Wurtzite


Sphalerite Group.

Sphalerite, also known as Blende or Zinc Blende, is the major ore of zinc. When pure (with little or no iron) it forms clear crystals with colours ranging from pale yellow (known as Cleiophane) to orange and red shades (known as Ruby Blende), but as iron content increases it forms dark, opaque metallic crystals (known as Marmatite).
Very rare green crystals owe their colour to trace amounts of Co (Henn & Hofmann, 1985; Rager et al., 1996).

Sphalerite may also contain considerable Mn, grading into alabandite. Samples containing up to 0.36 apfu (atoms per formula unit) Mn (21.4 wt.% MnO) have been described by Hurai & Huraiová (2011).

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

Classification of Sphalerite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:2/C.01-10
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:2.CB.05a

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
C : Metal Sulfides, M: S = 1: 1 (and similar)
B : With Zn, Fe, Cu, Ag, etc.
Dana 8th edition ID:2.8.2.1

2 : SULFIDES
8 : AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
Hey's CIM Ref.:3.4.4

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
4 : Sulphides etc. of Group II metals other than Hg (Mg, Ca, Zn, Cd)
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Physical Properties of Sphalerite

Lustre:Adamantine, Resinous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent, Translucent
Colour:Yellow, light to dark brown, black, red-brown, colourless, light blue. green
Streak:Pale yellow to brown.
Hardness (Mohs):3½ - 4
Hardness (Vickers):VHN100=208 - 224 kg/mm2
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:Perfect
Perfect {011}
Fracture:Conchoidal
Density (measured):3.9 - 4.1 g/cm3
Density (calculated):4.096 g/cm3

Crystallography of Sphalerite

Crystal System:Isometric
Class (H-M):4 3m - Hextetrahedral
Space Group:F4 3m
Cell Parameters:a = 5.406Å
Unit Cell Volume:V 157.99 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:4
Twinning:{111}
Crystal Atlas:
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Sphalerite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sphalerite no.3 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sphalerite no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sphalerite no.13 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sphalerite no.33 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sphalerite no.46 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sphalerite no.53 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sphalerite no.162 - 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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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 Sphalerite

Type:Isotropic
RI values: nα = 2.369
Birefringence:May show strain induced birefringence
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 2.369 - Isotropic minerals have no birefringence
Surface Relief:Moderate

Chemical Properties of Sphalerite

Formula:
ZnS
Essential elements:S, Zn
All elements listed in formula:S, Zn
Common Impurities:Mn,Cd,Hg,In,Tl,Ga,Ge,Sb,Sn,Pb,Ag

Relationship of Sphalerite to other Species

Member of:Sphalerite Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
2.CB.05aColoradoite
HgTe
2.CB.05aHawleyite
CdS
2.CB.05aMetacinnabar
HgS
2.CB.05cPolhemusite
(Zn,Hg)S
2.CB.05bSakuraiite
(Cu,Zn,Fe,In,Sn)S
2.CB.05aStilleite
ZnSe
2.CB.05aTiemannite
HgSe
2.CB.05UM1998-15-S:CuFeZn
Cu
 
2
Fe
 
3
Zn
 
5
S
 
10
2.CB.05aRudashevskyite
(Fe,Zn)S
2.CB.10aChalcopyrite
CuFeS
 
2
2.CB.10aEskebornite
CuFeSe
 
2
2.CB.10aGallite
CuGaS
 
2
2.CB.10bHaycockite
Cu
 
4
Fe
 
5
S
 
8
2.CB.10aLenaite
AgFeS
 
2
2.CB.10bMooihoekite
Cu
 
9
Fe
 
9
S
 
16
2.CB.10bPutoranite
Cu
 
9
(Fe,Ni)
 
9
S
 
16
2.CB.10aRoquesite
CuInS
 
2
2.CB.10bTalnakhite
Cu
 
9
(Fe,Ni)
 
8
S
 
16
2.CB.10aLaforêtite
AgInS
 
2
2.CB.15aČernýite
Cu
 
2
(Cd,Zn,Fe)SnS
 
4
2.CB.15aFerrokësterite
Cu
 
2
(Fe,Zn)SnS
 
4
2.CB.15aHocartite
Ag
 
2
(Fe
2+
 
,Zn)SnS
 
4
2.CB.15aIdaite
Cu
 
5
FeS
 
6
2.CB.15aKësterite
Cu
 
2
(Zn,Fe)SnS
 
4
2.CB.15aKuramite
Cu
 
3
SnS
 
4
2.CB.15bMohite
Cu
 
2
SnS
 
3
2.CB.15aPirquitasite
Ag
 
2
ZnSnS
 
4
2.CB.15aStannite
Cu
 
2
(Fe,Zn)SnS
 
4
2.CB.15cStannoidite
Cu
+
6
Cu
2+
2
(Fe
2+
 
,Zn)
 
3
Sn
 
2
S
 
12
2.CB.15aVelikite
Cu
 
2
HgSnS
 
4
2.CB.15cUM2006-11-S:CuFeGeZn
Cu
 
8
(Fe,Zn)
 
3
Ge
 
2
S
 
12
(?)
2.CB.20Chatkalite
Cu
 
6
FeSn
 
2
S
 
8
2.CB.20Mawsonite
Cu
 
6
Fe
 
2
SnS
 
8
2.CB.30Colusite
Cu
 
26
V
 
2
(As,Sn,Sb)
 
6
S
 
32
2.CB.30Germanite
Cu
 
13
Fe
 
2
Ge
 
2
S
 
16
2.CB.30Germanocolusite
Cu
 
26
V
 
2
(Ge,As)
 
6
S
 
32
2.CB.30Nekrasovite
Cu
 
26
V
 
2
(Sn,As,Sb)
 
6
S
 
32
2.CB.30Stibiocolusite
Cu
 
13
V
 
4
(Sb,Sn,As)
 
3
S
 
16
2.CB.30Ovamboite
Cu
 
20
(Fe,Cu,Zn)
 
6
W
 
2
Ge
 
6
S
 
32
2.CB.30Maikainite
Cu
 
20
(Fe,Cu)
 
6
Mo
 
2
Ge
 
6
S
 
32
2.CB.35aHemusite
Cu
 
6
SnMoS
 
8
2.CB.35aKiddcreekite
Cu
 
6
SnWS
 
8
2.CB.35aPolkovicite
(Fe,Pb)
 
3
(Ge,Fe)
 
1-x
S
 
4
2.CB.35aRenierite
(Cu,Zn)
 
11
(Ge,As)
 
2
Fe
 
4
S
 
16
2.CB.35aVinciennite
Cu
+
7
Cu
2+
3
Fe
2+
2
Fe
3+
2
Sn(As,Sb)S
 
16
2.CB.35aMorozeviczite
(Pb,Fe)
 
3
Ge
 
1-x
S
 
4
2.CB.35bCatamarcaite
Cu
 
6
GeWS
 
8
2.CB.40Lautite
CuAsS
2.CB.45Cadmoselite
CdSe
2.CB.45Greenockite
CdS
2.CB.45Wurtzite
(Zn,Fe)S
2.CB.45Rambergite
MnS
2.CB.45Buseckite
(Fe,Zn,Mn)S
2.CB.55aCubanite
CuFe
 
2
S
 
3
2.CB.55bIsocubanite
CuFe
 
2
S
 
3
2.CB.60Picotpaulite
TlFe
 
2
S
 
3
2.CB.60Raguinite
TlFeS
 
2
2.CB.65Argentopyrite
AgFe
 
2
S
 
3
2.CB.65Sternbergite
AgFe
 
2
S
 
3
2.CB.70Sulvanite
Cu
 
3
VS
 
4
2.CB.75Vulcanite
CuTe
2.CB.80Empressite
AgTe
2.CB.85Muthmannite
AuAgTe
 
2
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
3.4.1Niningerite
(Mg,Fe
2+
 
,Mn
2+
 
)S
3.4.2Oldhamite
(Ca,Mg)S
3.4.3Mátraite
ZnS
3.4.5Wurtzite
(Zn,Fe)S
3.4.6Stilleite
ZnSe
3.4.7Greenockite
CdS
3.4.8Hawleyite
CdS
3.4.9Cadmoselite
CdSe

Other Names for Sphalerite

Synonyms:
Black JackBlackjack ZincBrunckiteFalse GalenaGarnet Blende
Granat-BlendeMarasmolitePseudogalenaRuby BlendeRuby Zinc
Wild LeadZinc Blende
Other Languages:
Bosnian (Latin Script):Sfalerit
Catalan:Esfalerita
Czech:Sfalerit
Dutch:Zinkblende
Finnish:Sinkkivälke
French:Sphalérite
German:Sphalerit
Blende
Brunckit
Honigblende
Marasmolit
Zinkblende
Hebrew:ספלריט
Hungarian:Szfalerit
Italian:Sfalerite
Japanese:閃亜鉛鉱
Latvian:Sfalerīts
Lithuanian:Sfaleritas
Low Saxon:Sphalerit
Norwegian (Bokmål):Sinkblende
Norwegian (Nynorsk):Sinkblende
Persian:بلندروی
Polish:Sfaleryt
Portuguese:Blenda
Romanian:Blendă
Russian:Сфалерит
Simplified Chinese:闪锌矿
Slovak:Sfalerit
Spanish:Blenda
Brunckita
Marasmolita
Sphalerita
Swedish:Zinkblände
Traditional Chinese:閃鋅礦
Ukrainian:Сфалерит
Varieties:
CleiophaneGem BlendeMarmatiteMercurian SphaleriteMátraite
Przibramite (of Huot)

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 Sphalerite

Reference List:

- +
Agricola (1546): 465.

Wallerius (1747): 248.

Bergmann (1782).

Glocker (1847): 17.

Headden, William Parker (1906), Mineralogic notes, III, phosphorescent zinc blendes: Colorado Sci. Soc. Proc.: 8: 167-182.

Brown, J.S. (1936) Supergene sphalerite, galena, and willemite at Balmat, NY. Economic Geology: 31: 331-354.

Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 834pp.: 210-215.

Smith. F.G. (1955) Structure of zinc-sulfide minerals. American Mineralogist: 40: 658-675.

Rigault G. - (1956) Gallio e Indio nella blenda. Periodico di Mineralogia – Roma pp. 43-78.

Fleet, M.E. (1975a) Thermodynamic properties of (Zn,Fe)S solid solutions at 850°C. American Mineralogist: 60: 466-470.

Fleet, M.E. (1977b) Structural transformations in natural ZnS. American Mineralogist: 62: 540-546.

Fleet, M.E. (1977c) The birefringence-structural state relation in natural zinc sulfides and its application to the schalenblende from Pribram. Canadian Mineralogist: 15: 303-308.

Schaefer, S.C. (1978) Electrochemical determination of the Gibbs energy of formation of sphalerite (ZnS). U.S. Bureau of Mines, Report of Investigation 8301, 16 pp.

Togari, Kenji (1978): Colour of Sphalerite. Jour. Fac. Sci., Hokkaido Univ., Ser. IV, vol. 18, no. 3, Mar., 1978, pp. 283-290.

Acta Crystallographica (1980): A36: 482.

Augustithis, S.S. and Vgenopoulos, A. (1982) On the hawleyite-sphalerite-wurtzite-galena paragenesis from Ragada, Komotini, (Rhodope) North Greece. Special Publication of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits: 2: 413-417.

Schaefer, S.C. and Gokeen, N.A. (1982) Electrochemical determination of the thermodynamic properties of sphalerite, ZnS (beta). High Temperature Science: 15: 225-237.

Henn, U. & Hofmann, C. (1985): Green sphalerite from Zaire. Journal of Gemmology 19, 416-418.

Rager, H., Amthauer, G., Bernroider, M., Schürmann, K. (1996): Color, crystal chemistry, and mineral association of a green sphalerite from Steinperf, Dill syncline, FRG. European Journal of Mineralogy 8, 1191-1198.

Lusk, J. & Calder, B. O. E. (2004): The composition of sphalerite and associated sulfides in reactions of the Cu–Fe–Zn–S, Fe–Zn–S and Cu–Fe–S systems at 1 bar and temperatures between 250 and 535 °C. Chemical Geology, 203, 319-345.

Deore, S. and Navrotsky, A. (2006) Oxide melt solution calorimetry of sulfides: Enthalpy of formation of sphalerite, galena, greenockite, and hawleyite. American Mineralogist: 91: 400-403.

Cook, N. J.; Ciobanu, C. L.; Pring, A.; Skinner, W.; Shimizu, M.; Danyushevsky, L.; Saini-Eidukat, B.; Melcher, F. (2009): Trace and minor elements in sphalerite: A LA-ICPMS study. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, 4761-4791.

Hurai, V. & Huraiová, M. (2011): Origin of ferroan alabandite and manganoan sphalerite from the Tisovec skarn, Slovakia. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie - Abhandlungen, 188, 119-134.

Internet Links for Sphalerite

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    Localities for Sphalerite

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