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Spinel

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Formula:
MgAl
 
2
O
 
4
System:IsometricColour:Black, blue, red, violet ...
Lustre:VitreousHardness:7½ - 8
Member of:Spinel Group
Name:Named in 1779 by Jean Demeste from latin "spinella", little thorn, alluding to its sharp octahedral crystals. Confused with carbuncle = ruby in former times.


Spinel Group. Spinel-Hercynite Series, Gahnite-Spinel Series, and the Magnesiochromite-Spinel Series.

Intensely coloured varieties due to incorporation of various impurity elements. A few spinels from Sri Lanka can show an alexandrite colour change effect.

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

Classification of Spinel

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:4/B.01-10
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:4.BB.05

4 : OXIDES (Hydroxides, V[5,6] vanadates, arsenites, antimonites, bismuthites, sulfites, selenites, tellurites, iodates)
B : Metal: Oxygen = 3:4 and similar
B : With only medium-sized cations
Dana 8th edition ID:7.2.1.1

7 : MULTIPLE OXIDES
2 : AB2X4
Hey's CIM Ref.:7.4.9

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
4 : Oxides of Be, Mg and the alkaline earths
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Occurrences of Spinel

Geological Setting:As an accessory mineral in igneous rocks, principally basalts, peridotites, kimberlites. In marbles, pegmatites.

Physical Properties of Spinel

Lustre:Vitreous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent, Translucent
Comment:Splendent to dull
Colour:Black, blue, red, violet , green, brown, pink
Streak:Greyish white
Hardness (Mohs):7½ - 8
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:None Observed
Parting:Separation plane {111} indistinct and probably represents parting rather than cleavage.
Fracture:Irregular/Uneven, Splintery, Conchoidal
Density (measured):3.6 - 4.1 g/cm3
Density (calculated):3.578 g/cm3
Comment:Increases with iron and zinc content.

Crystallography of Spinel

Crystal System:Isometric
Class (H-M):m3m (4/m 3 2/m) - Hexoctahedral
Space Group:Fd3m
Cell Parameters:a = 8.0898(9) Å
Unit Cell Volume:V 529.44 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:8
Morphology:Usually octahedral; less often modified by a{010} or d{011}; dodecahedral or cubic rare. Massive, coarse-granular to compact.
Twinning:Common on {111} (spinel law), with twinned aggregates often flattened parallel to {111}, the composite plane. Sixlings due to repeated twinning noted.
Comment:On synthetic material
Crystal Atlas:
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Spinel no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Spinel no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Spinel no.23 - 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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Epitaxial Relationships of Spinel

Epitaxial Minerals:
Magnesiotaaffeite-2N’2S
Mg
 
3
Al
 
8
BeO
 
16
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

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.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
d-spacingIntensity
4.66 (35)
2.858 (40)
2.437 (100)
2.020 (65)
1.5554 (45)
1.4289 (55)
1.0524 (12)

Optical Data of Spinel

Type:Isotropic
RI values: n = 1.719
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.000 - Isotropic minerals have no birefringence
Surface Relief:High
Type:Isotropic
Pleochroism:Visible
Comments:Anomalous in some blue zincian varieties.

Chemical Properties of Spinel

Formula:
MgAl
 
2
O
 
4
Simplified for copy/paste:MgAl2O4
Common Impurities:Ti,Fe,Zn,Mn,Ca

Relationship of Spinel to other Species

Member of:Spinel Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Ceylonite
Chromite
Fe
2+
 
Cr
3+
2
O
 
4
Cochromite
(Co,Ni,Fe)(Cr,Al)
 
2
O
 
4
Coulsonite
Fe
2+
 
V
3+
2
O
 
4
Cuprospinel
Cu
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
Filipstadite
(Sb
 
0.5
Fe
 
0.5
)Mn
 
2
O
 
4
Franklinite
Zn
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
Gahnite
ZnAl
 
2
O
 
4
Galaxite
(Mn,Fe,Mg)(Al,Fe)
 
2
O
 
4
Hercynite
Fe
2+
 
Al
 
2
O
 
4
Jacobsite
Mn
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
Magnesiochromite
Mg(Cr,Al,Fe)
 
2
O
 
4
Magnesiocoulsonite
MgV
 
2
O
 
4
Magnesioferrite
MgFe
3+
2
O
 
4
Magnetite
Fe
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
Manganochromite
(Mn,Fe)(Cr,V)
 
2
O
 
4
Nichromite
(Ni,Co,Fe)(Cr,Fe,Al)
 
2
O
 
4
Qandilite
(Mg,Fe)
 
2
(Ti,Fe,Al)O
 
4
Trevorite
Ni
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
Ulvöspinel
Fe
 
2
TiO
 
4
Vuorelainenite
(Mn,Fe)(V,Cr)
 
2
O
 
4
Zincochromite
ZnCr
 
2
O
 
4
Group Members:
Kenomagnetite 
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
4.BB.05Chromite
Fe
2+
 
Cr
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Cochromite
(Co,Ni,Fe)(Cr,Al)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Coulsonite
Fe
2+
 
V
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Cuprospinel
Cu
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Filipstadite
(Sb
 
0.5
Fe
 
0.5
)Mn
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Franklinite
Zn
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Gahnite
ZnAl
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Galaxite
(Mn,Fe,Mg)(Al,Fe)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Hercynite
Fe
2+
 
Al
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Jacobsite
Mn
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Manganochromite
(Mn,Fe)(Cr,V)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Magnesiocoulsonite
MgV
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Magnesiochromite
Mg(Cr,Al,Fe)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Magnesioferrite
MgFe
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Magnetite
Fe
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Nichromite
(Ni,Co,Fe)(Cr,Fe,Al)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Qandilite
(Mg,Fe)
 
2
(Ti,Fe,Al)O
 
4
4.BB.05Trevorite
Ni
2+
 
Fe
3+
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Ulvöspinel
Fe
 
2
TiO
 
4
4.BB.05Vuorelainenite
(Mn,Fe)(V,Cr)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.05Zincochromite
ZnCr
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.10Hausmannite
MnMn
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.10Hetaerolite
ZnMn
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.10Hydrohetaerolite
ZnMn
 
2
O
 
4
· H
 
2
O
4.BB.10Iwakiite
Mn(Fe,Mn)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.15Maghemite
Fe
3+
2
O
 
3
4.BB.15Titanomaghemite
Fe
3+
 
(Fe
3+
 
,Ti
4+
 
,Fe
2+
 
,◻)
 
2
O
 
4
4.BB.20Tegengrenite
(Mg,Mn
2+
 
)
 
2
Sb
5+
0.5
(Mn
3+
 
,Si,Ti)
 
0.5
O
 
4
4.BB.25Xieite
Fe
2+
 
Cr
 
2
O
 
4
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
7.4.1Bromellite
BeO
7.4.2Behoite
Be(OH)
 
2
7.4.3Clinobehoite
Be(OH)
 
2
7.4.4Chrysoberyl
BeAl
 
2
O
 
4
7.4.5Magnesiotaaffeite-2N’2S
Mg
 
3
Al
 
8
BeO
 
16
7.4.6Magnesiotaaffeite-6N’3S
Mg
 
2
BeAl
 
6
O
 
12
7.4.7Periclase
MgO
7.4.8Brucite
Mg(OH)
 
2
7.4.10Meixnerite
Mg
 
6
Al
 
2
(OH)
 
16
(OH)
 
2
· 4H
 
2
O
7.4.11Lime
CaO
7.4.12Portlandite
Ca(OH)
 
2
7.4.13Chlormayenite
Ca
 
12
Al
 
14
O
 
32
Cl
 
2
7.4.14Hydrocalumite
Ca
 
4
Al
 
2
(OH)
 
12
(Cl,CO
 
3
,OH)
 
2
· 4H
 
2
O
7.4.15Marokite
CaMn
 
2
O
 
4
7.4.16Ranciéite
(Ca,Mn)Mn
 
4
O
 
9
· 3H
 
2
O
7.4.17Hollandite
Ba(Mn
4+
6
Mn
3+
2
)O
 
16
7.4.18Romanèchite
(Ba,H
 
2
O)
 
2
Mn
 
5
O
 
10
7.4.19Todorokite
(Ca,K,Na,Mg,Ba,Mn)(Mn,Mg,Al)
 
6
O
 
12
· 3H
 
2
O

Other Names for Spinel

Synonyms:
AkeriteCanditeCeylaniteRuby SpinelSpinelite
SpinellaSpinel-rubyStrongiteTalcspinelZeilanite
Other Languages:
Basque:Espinela
Czech:Spinel
Dutch:Spinel
Finnish:Spinelli
French:Spinelle
German:Spinell
Akerit
Gelblicher Rubin
Lychnis
Spinelit
Strongit
Zeylanit
Hebrew:ספינל
Hungarian:Spinell
Italian:Gruppo degli spinelli
Spinello
Japanese:スピネル
苦土尖晶石
Latin:Rubis spinelli octaëdre
Polish:Spinel
Portuguese:Espinela
Romanian:Spinel
Russian:Шпинель
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Магнезијум алуминат
Spanish:Espinela
Akerita
Espinella
Spinelita
Strongita
Swedish:Spinell
Varieties:
Alkali-spinelAlmandine SpinelAluminium SpinelCeyloniteChlorospinel
ChromspinelCorundoliteFerropicotiteGahnospinelIron-magnesia Spinel
MagnochromitePleonasteRozirconRubicelleTitano-spinel

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 Spinel

Reference List:

- +
Klaproth, M.H. (1797): Untersuchung des Spinells, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Zweiter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 1-11

Tilley (1923), Geol. Magazine: 40: 101.

Weigel (1923), Jb. Min., Beil.-Bd.: 48: 274.

Schlossmacher (1930), Zs. Kr.: 72: 468.

Anderson and Payne (1937), Mineralogical Magazine: 24: 547.

Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Seventh edition, Volume I: 689-697.

Goodenough, J.B. and Loeb, A.L. (1955) Theory of ionic ordering, crystal distortion, and magnetic exchange due to covalent forces in spinels. Physical Review: 98: 391-408.

Smit, J. and Wijn, H.P.J. (1959) Ferrites. Physical properties of ferrimagnetic oxides in relation to their technical applications. Wley, New York.

Sawatzky, G.A., Van Der Woude, F., and Morrish, A.H. (1969) Recoilness-fraction ratio for 57Fe in octahedral and tetrahedral sites of a spinel and a garnet. Physical Reviews: 183(2): 383-386.

Liu, L-g. (1975), Disproportionation of MgAl2O4 spinel at high pressures and temperatures: Geophysical Research Letters: 2: 9-11.

Schmocker, U. and Waaldner, F. (1976), The inversion parameter with respect to the space group of MgAl2O4 spinels. Journal of Physics C: Solid State Physics: 9: L235-237.

Yamanaka, T. and Takéuchi, Y. (1983) Order-disorder transition in MgAl2O4 spinel at high temperatures up to 1700°C. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 165: 65-78.

Osborne, M.D., Fleet, M.E., and Bancroft, G.M. (1984) Next-nearest neighbor effects in the Mössbauer spectra of (Cr,Al) spinels. Journal of Solid State Chemistry: 53: 174-183.

Yamanaka T., et al. (1984), Acta Crystallographica (1984): B40: 96.

Della Giusta, A., Princivalle, F., and Carbonin, S. (1986) Crystal chemistry of a suite of natural Cr-bearing spinels with 0.15≤Cr≤1.07. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie Abhandlungen: 155: 319-330.

Wood, B.J., Kirkpatrick, R.J., and Montez, B. (1986) Order-disorder phenomena in MgAl2O4 spinel. American Mineralogist: 71: 999-1006.

Wood, B.J. and Virgo, D. (1989) Upper mantle oxidation state: Ferric iron contents of Iherzolite spinels by 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy and resultant oxygen fugacities. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 53: 1277-1291.

Irifune, T., K. Fujino, & E. Ohtani (1991), A new high-pressure form of MgAl2O4: Nature: 349: 409-411.

Peterson R.C., Lager, G.A., and Hitterman, R.L. (1991), A time-of-flight neutron powder diffraction study of MgAl2O4 at temperatures up to 1273 K. American Mineralogist: 76: 1455-1458.

Cynn, H., Sharma, S.K., Cooney, T.F., and Nicol, M. (1992), High-temperature Raman investigaton of order-disorder behavior in the MgAl2O4 spinel. Physical Review B: 45: 500-502.

Millard, R.L., Peterson, R.C., and Hunter, B.K. (1992), Temperature dependence of cation disorder in MgAl2O4 spinel using 27 Al and 17 O magic-angle spinning NMR. American Mineralogist: 77: 44-52.

Askarpour, V., Manghnani, MH., Fassbender, S., and Yoneda, A. (1993), Elasticity of single-crystal MgAl2O4 spinel up to 1273 K by Brillouin spectroscopy. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 19: 511-519.

Cynn, H., Anderson, O.L., and Nicol, M. (1993), Effects of cation disordering in a natural MgAl2O4 spinel observed by rectangular parallelepiped ultrasonic resonance and Raman measurements. Pure and Applied Geophysics: 141: 415-444.

Della Giusta, A. and Ottonello, G. (1993), Energy and long-range disorder in simle spinels Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 20: 228-241.

Carpenter, M.A. and Salje, E.K.H. (1994a), Thermodynamics of nonconvergent cation ordering in minerals: II. Spinels and the orthopyroxene solid solution. American Mineralogist: 79: 1068-1083.

Gillot, B. (1994) Infrared spectrometric investigation of submicron metastable cation-deficient spinels in relation to order-disorder phenomena and phase transition. Vibrational Spectroscopy: 6: 127-148.

Carbonin, S., Russo, U., and Della Giusta, A. (1996) Cation distribution in some natural spinels from X-ray diffraction and Mossbauer spectroscopy. Mineralogical Magazine: 60: 355-368.

Maekawa, H., Kato, S., Kawamura, K. and Yokokawa, T. (1997), Cation mixing in natural MgAl2O4 spinel: a high-temperature 27 Al NMR study. American Mineralogist: 82: 1125-1132.

Menegazzo, G., Carbonin, S., and Della Giusta, A. (1997) Cation vacancy distribution in an artifically oxidized natural spinel. Mineralogical Magazine: 61: 411-421.

Funamori, N., R. Jeanloz, J.H. Nguyen, A. Kavner, W.A. Caldell, K. Fujino, N. Miyajima,, T. Shinmei, & N. Tomioka (1998), High-pressure transformation in MgAl2O4: Journal of Geophysical Research: 103: 20813-20818.

Redfern, S.A.T., Harrison, R.J., O'Neill, H.St.C., and Wood, D.R.R. (1999), Thermodynamics and kinetics of cation ordering in MgAl2O4 spinel up to 1600° C from in situ neutron diffraction. American Mineralogist: 84: 299-310.

Andreozzi, G.B., Princivalle, F., Skogby, H., and Della Giusta, A. (2000). Cation ordering and structural variations with temperature in MgAlO4 spinel: an X-ray single-crystal study. American Mineralogist: 85: 1164-1171.

Suzuki, I., Ohno, I., and Anderson, O.L. (2000) Harmonic and anharmonic properties of spinel MgAl2O4. American Mineralogist: 85: 304-311.

Warren, M.C., Dove, M.T., and Redfern, S.A.T. (2000a) Disordering of MgAl2O4 spinel from first principles. Mineralogical Magazine: 64: 311-317.

Warren, M.C., Dove, M.T., and Redfern, S.A.T. (2000b) Ab initio simulations of cation ordering in oxides: application to spinel. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter: 12: L43-L48.

Andreozzi, G.B., Halenius, U., and Skogby, H. (2001) Spectroscopic active IVFe 3+-VIFe 3+ clusters in spinel-magnesioferrite solid solution crystals: a potential monitor for ordering in oxide spinels. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 28: 435-444.

Andreozzi, G.B. and Lucchesi, S. (2002) Intersite distribution of Fe 2+ and Mg in the spinel (sensu-stricto)-hercynite series by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. American Mineralogist: 87: 1113-1120.

Carbonin, S., Martignago, F., Menegazzo, G., and Dal Negro, A. (2002), X-ray single-crystal study of spinels: in situ heating. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 29: 503-514.

Pattrick, R.A.D., van der Laan, G., Henderson, C.M.B., Kuiper, P., Dudzik, E., and Vaughan, D.J. (2002) Cation site occupancy in spinel ferrites studied by X-ray magnetic circular dichroism: developing a method for mineralogists. European Journal of Mineralogy: 14: 1095-1102.

Da Rocha, S. and Thibaudeau, P. (2003), Ab initio high-pressure thermodynamics of cationic disordered MgAl2O4 spinel. Journal of Physics Condensed Matter: 15: 7103-7115.

Martignago, F., Dal Negro, A., and Carbonin, S. (2003) How Cr 3+ and Fe 3+ affect Mg-Al order disorder transformation at high temperature in natural spinels. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 30: 401-408.

Méducin, F., Redfern, S.A.T., Le Godec, Y., Stone, H.J., Tucker, M.G., Dove, M.T., and Marshall, W.G. (2004), Study of cation order-disorder in MgAl2O4 spinel by in situ neutron diffraction up to 1600 K and 3.2 GPa. American Mineralogist: 89: 981-986.

Van Minh, N. and Yang, I.-S. (2004) A Raman study of cation-disorder transition temperature of natural MgAl2O4 spinel. Vibrational Spectroscopy: 35: 93-96.

Papike, J.J., Karner, J.M., and Shearer, C.K. (2005) Comparative planetary mineralogy: Valence-state partitioning of Cr, Fe, Ti and V among crystallographic sites in olivine, pyroxene, and spinel from planetary basalts. American Mineralogist: 90: 277-290.

Martignago, F., Andreozzi, G.B., and Dal Negro, A. (2006) Thermodynamics and kinetics of cation ordering in natural and synthetic Mg(Al,Fe 3+)2O4 spinels from in situ high-temperature X-ray diffraction. American Mineralogist: 91: 306-312.

Princivalle, F., F. Martignago, and A. Dal Negro (2006) Kinetics of cation ordering in natural Mg(Al,CR 3+)2O4 spinels. American Mineralogist: 91: 313-318.

Internet Links for Spinel

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    Localities for Spinel

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