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Spinel

This page kindly sponsored by Stephanie Martin
Formula:
MgAl2O4
System:
Isometric
Colour:
Black, blue, red, violet ...
Lustre:
Vitreous
Hardness:
7½ - 8
Member of:
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.

Classification of Spinel

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
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
7.2.1.1

7 : MULTIPLE OXIDES
2 : AB2X4
7.4.9

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
4 : Oxides of Be, Mg and the alkaline earths
mindat.org URL:
http://www.mindat.org/min-3729.html
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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

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:
3.6 - 4.1 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.578 g/cm3 (Calculated)
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

Crystallographic forms of Spinel

Crystal Atlas:
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Spinel no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Spinel no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Spinel no.23 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Epitaxial Relationships of Spinel

Epitaxial Minerals:
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
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
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.000 - Isotropic minerals have no birefringence
Surface Relief:
High
Type:
Isotropic
Pleochroism:
Non-pleochroic
Comments:
Anomalous in some blue zincian varieties.

Chemical Properties of Spinel

Formula:
MgAl2O4
Common Impurities:
Ti,Fe,Zn,Mn,Ca

Relationship of Spinel to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of Group:
Ceylonite
ChromiteFe2+Cr23+O4
Cochromite(Co,Ni,Fe)(Cr,Al)2O4
CoulsoniteFe2+V23+O4
CuprospinelCu2+Fe23+O4
Filipstadite(Sb0.5Fe0.5)Mn2O4
FrankliniteZn2+Fe23+O4
GahniteZnAl2O4
Galaxite(Mn,Fe,Mg)(Al,Fe)2O4
HercyniteFe2+Al2O4
JacobsiteMn2+Fe23+O4
MagnesiochromiteMg(Cr,Al,Fe)2O4
MagnesiocoulsoniteMgV2O4
MagnesioferriteMgFe23+O4
MagnetiteFe2+Fe23+O4
Manganochromite(Mn,Fe)(Cr,V)2O4
Nichromite(Ni,Co,Fe)(Cr,Fe,Al)2O4
Qandilite(Mg,Fe)2(Ti,Fe,Al)O4
TrevoriteNi2+Fe23+O4
UlvöspinelFe2TiO4
Vuorelainenite(Mn,Fe)(V,Cr)2O4
ZincochromiteZnCr2O4
Group Members:
4.BB.05ChromiteFe2+Cr23+O4
4.BB.05Cochromite(Co,Ni,Fe)(Cr,Al)2O4
4.BB.05CoulsoniteFe2+V23+O4
4.BB.05CuprospinelCu2+Fe23+O4
4.BB.05Filipstadite(Sb0.5Fe0.5)Mn2O4
4.BB.05FrankliniteZn2+Fe23+O4
4.BB.05GahniteZnAl2O4
4.BB.05Galaxite(Mn,Fe,Mg)(Al,Fe)2O4
4.BB.05HercyniteFe2+Al2O4
4.BB.05JacobsiteMn2+Fe23+O4
4.BB.05Manganochromite(Mn,Fe)(Cr,V)2O4
4.BB.05MagnesiocoulsoniteMgV2O4
4.BB.05MagnesiochromiteMg(Cr,Al,Fe)2O4
4.BB.05MagnesioferriteMgFe23+O4
4.BB.05MagnetiteFe2+Fe23+O4
4.BB.05Nichromite(Ni,Co,Fe)(Cr,Fe,Al)2O4
4.BB.05Qandilite(Mg,Fe)2(Ti,Fe,Al)O4
4.BB.05TrevoriteNi2+Fe23+O4
4.BB.05UlvöspinelFe2TiO4
4.BB.05Vuorelainenite(Mn,Fe)(V,Cr)2O4
4.BB.05ZincochromiteZnCr2O4
4.BB.10HausmanniteMn2+Mn23+O4
4.BB.10HetaeroliteZnMn2O4
4.BB.10HydrohetaeroliteZnMn2O4 · H2O
4.BB.10IwakiiteMn2+Fe23+O4
4.BB.15MaghemiteFe23+O3
4.BB.15TitanomaghemiteFe3+(Fe3+,Ti4+,Fe2+,◻)2O4
4.BB.20Tegengrenite(Mg,Mn2+)2Sb5+0.5(Mn3+,Si,Ti)0.5O4
4.BB.25XieiteFe2+Cr2O4
7.4.1BromelliteBeO
7.4.2BehoiteBe(OH)2
7.4.3ClinobehoiteBe(OH)2
7.4.4ChrysoberylBeAl2O4
7.4.5Magnesiotaaffeite-2N’2SMg3Al8BeO16
7.4.6Magnesiotaaffeite-6N’3SMg2BeAl6O12
7.4.7PericlaseMgO
7.4.8BruciteMg(OH)2
7.4.10MeixneriteMg6Al2(OH)16(OH)2 · 4H2O
7.4.11LimeCaO
7.4.12PortlanditeCa(OH)2
7.4.13ChlormayeniteCa12Al14O32Cl2
7.4.14HydrocalumiteCa4Al2(OH)12(Cl,CO3,OH)2 · 4H2O
7.4.15MarokiteCaMn23+O4
7.4.16Ranciéite(Ca,Mn2+)0.2(Mn4+,Mn3+)O2 · 0.6H2O
7.4.17HollanditeBa(Mn64+Mn23+)O16
7.4.18Romanèchite(Ba,H2O)2Mn5O10
7.4.19Todorokite(Ca,K,Na,Mg,Ba,Mn)(Mn,Mg,Al)6O12 · 3H2O

Other Names for Spinel

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 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

Specimens:
The following Spinel specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Spinel

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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