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Sulphur

This page kindly sponsored by Mathias Stålek
Formula:
S8
System:
Orthorhombic
Colour:
Yellow, sulphur-yellow, ...
Lustre:
Resinous, Greasy
Hardness:
1½ - 2½
Member of:
Name:
A name in Middle English introduced at least as early as 1390. Also known as brimstone. Theophrastus (~300 BCE) wrote μαλώδης (an otherwise unknown word) for what may be sulfur impregnated pumice, but Caley and Richards (1956) in their analysis and translation of Περι Λιθον Peri Lithon suggest that the actual word should have been μηλώδης meaning quince-yellow. Other interpretations have been given.
Polymorph of:
Sulphur Group.

Crystals are usually yellow to yellowish-brown blocky dipyramids, with thick tabular and disphenoidal crystals less common. Also found more typically as powdery yellow coatings. Native sulphur is usually formed from volcanic action - as a sublimate from volcanic gasses associated with realgar, cinnabar and other minerals. It is also found in some vein deposits and as an alteration product of sulphide minerals. It can also be formed biogenically.


Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Sulphur.

Classification of Sulphur

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
1.CC.05

1 : ELEMENTS (Metals and intermetallic alloys; metalloids and nonmetals; carbides, silicides, nitrides, phosphides)
C : Metalloids and Nonmetals
C : Sulfur-selenium-iodine
Dana 7th ed.:
1.3.4.1
1.3.5.1

1 : NATIVE ELEMENTS AND ALLOYS
3 : Semi-metals and non-metals
1.51

1 : Elements and Alloys (including the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au)
mindat.org URL:
http://www.mindat.org/min-3826.html
Please feel free to link to this page.

Occurrences of Sulphur

Geological Setting:
Usually formed from volcanic action - as a sublimate from volcanic gasses associated with realgar, cinnabar and other minerals. It is also found in some vein deposits and as an alteration product of sulphide minerals. It can also be formed biogenically - a major source being salt domes, where it has formed by the bacterial decomposition of calcium sulfate.

Physical Properties of Sulphur

Resinous, Greasy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Yellow, sulphur-yellow, brownish or greenish yellow, orange, white
Streak:
Colourless
Hardness (Mohs):
1½ - 2½
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Imperfect/Fair
Imperfect on {001}, {110} and {111}.
Parting:
Parting on {111}
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Conchoidal
Comment:
Also can be somewhat sectile
Density:
2.07 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.076 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Sulphur

Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Class (H-M):
mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) - Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Fddd
Cell Parameters:
a = 10.468Å, b = 12.870Å, c = 24.49Å
Ratio:
a:b:c = 0.813 : 1 : 1.903
Unit Cell Volume:
V 3,299.37 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
128
Morphology:
Over 50 forms have been noted, blocky dipyramidal ones most common, also tabular and sphenoidal; also found as powdery coatings, massive material, and in reniform and stalactic forms.
Twinning:
On {101}{011}{110} rare.

Crystallographic forms of Sulphur

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
Sulfur no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sulfur no.8 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sulfur no.81 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Sulfur no.116 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation
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
3.85(100)
3.44(40)
3.33(30)
3.21(60)
3.11(30)
3.08(20)
2.84(20)
2.62(10)
Comments:
Data given are for synthetic material.

Optical Data of Sulphur

Type:
Biaxial (+)
RI values:
nα = 1.958 nβ = 2.038 nγ = 2.245
2V:
Measured: 68° , Calculated: 70°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.287
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Dispersion:
relatively weak r< v
Pleochroism:
Visible

Chemical Properties of Sulphur

Formula:
S8
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
Analytical Data:
Sulphur, orthorhombic, is alpha-S, while rosickýite, monoclinic, is gamma-S.
Common Impurities:
Se,Te

Relationship of Sulphur to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of Group:
1.1CopperCu
1.2SilverAg
1.5GoldAu
1.6AuricuprideCu3Au
1.7Tetra-auricuprideAuCu
1.8ZincZn
1.9CadmiumCd
1.10DanbaiteCuZn2
1.11ZhanghengiteCuZn
1.12MercuryHg
1.13KolymiteCu7Hg6
1.14MoschellandsbergiteAg2Hg3
1.15EugeniteAg11Hg2
1.16SchachneriteAg1.1Hg0.9
1.17ParaschachneriteAg3Hg2
1.18LuanheiteAg3Hg
1.19Weishanite(Au,Ag)3Hg2
1.20IndiumIn
1.21AluminiumAl
1.22Khatyrkite(Cu,Zn)Al2
1.23Cupalite(Cu,Zn)Al
1.24DiamondC
1.25GraphiteC
1.26ChaoiteC
1.27LonsdaleiteC
1.28SiliconSi
1.29TinSn
1.30LeadPb
1.31AnyuiiteAu(Pb,Sb)2
1.31NovodnepriteAuPb3
1.32LeadamalgamPb0.7Hg0.3
1.33ArsenicAs
1.34ArsenolampriteAs
1.35PaxiteCuAs2
1.36KoutekiteCu5As2
1.37DomeykiteCu3As
1.38Algodonite(Cu1-xAsx)
1.39NovákiteCu20AgAs10
1.40KutinaiteAg6Cu14As7
1.41AntimonySb
1.42StibarsenAsSb
1.43ParadocrasiteSb3As
1.44HorsforditeCu, Sb
1.45CuprostibiteCu2(Sb,Tl)
1.46Allargentum(Ag1-xSbx)
1.47AurostibiteAuSb2
1.48DyscrasiteAg3Sb
1.49BismuthBi
1.50MaldoniteAu2Bi
1.52RosickýiteS
1.53SeleniumSe
1.54TelluriumTe
1.55ChromiumCr
1.56RheniumRe
1.57IronFe
1.58ChromferideFe3Cr1-x (x=0.6)
1.59FerchromideCr3Fe1-x
1.60WairauiteCoFe
1.61NickelNi
1.62Kamacite(Fe,Ni)
1.63Taenite(Fe,Ni)
1.64TetrataeniteFeNi
1.65AwaruiteNi3Fe
1.66Palladium(Pd,Pt)
1.67PotaritePdHg
1.68PaolovitePd2Sn
1.69Stannopalladinite(Pd,Cu)3Sn2
1.70CabriitePd2CuSn
1.71Taimyrite-I(Pd,Cu,Pt)3Sn
1.72Atokite(Pd,Pt)3Sn
1.73Rustenburgite(Pt,Pd)3Sn
1.74Zvyagintsevite(Pd,Pt,Au)3(Pb,Sn)
1.75PlumbopalladinitePd3Pb2
1.76Osmium(Os,Ir,Ru)
1.77Iridium(Ir,Os,Ru)
1.82PlatinumPt
1.83HongshiitePtCu
1.84NiggliitePtSn
1.85IsoferroplatinumPt3Fe
1.86TetraferroplatinumPtFe
1.87TulameenitePt2CuFe
1.88FerronickelplatinumPt2FeNi
1.89Rhodium(Rh,Pt)

Other Names for Sulphur

Name in Other Languages:
Afrikaans:Swawel
Albanian:Squfuri
Anglo-Saxon:Sulfur
Arabic:كبريت
Armenian:Ծծումբ
Asturian:Azufre
Aymara:Asuphri
Azeri:Kükürd
Basque:Sufre
Belarusian:Сера
Bosnian (Latin Script):Sumpor
Bulgarian:Сяра
Catalan:Sofre
Corsican:Zolfu
Croatian:Sumpor
Czech:Síra
Danish:Svovl
Dutch:Zwavel
Esperanto:Sulfuro
Estonian:Väävel
Finnish:Rikki
French:Soufre
Friulian:Solfar
Galician:Xofre
Greek:Θείο
Guarani:Itaysy
Haitian:Souf
Hungarian:Kén
Icelandic:Brennisteinn
Ido:Sulfo
Indonesian:Belerang
Irish Gaelic:Sulfar
Italian:Zolfo
Solfo
Japanese:自然硫黄
Javanese:Welirang
Kannada:ಗಂಧಕ
Korean:
Kurdish (Latin Script):Kibrît
Latin:Sulphur
Latvian:Sērs
Limburgian:Solfer
Lithuanian:Siera
Lojban:sliri
Low Saxon:Swevel
Luxembourgish:Schwiefel
Macedonian:Сулфур
Maori:Pungatara
Mongolian (Cyrillic Script):Хүхэр
Norwegian (Bokmål):Svovel
Norwegian (Nynorsk):Svovel
Novial:Sulfre
Occitan:Sofre
Persian:گوگرد
Polish:Siarka
Portuguese:Enxofre
Quechua:Salina
Romanian:Sulf
Russian:Сера
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Сумпор
Serbo-Croatian:Sumpor
Sicilian:Sùrfuru
Simplified Chinese:自然硫
硫华
Slovak:Síra
Slovenian:Žveplo
Spanish:Azufre
Sundanese:Walirang
Swahili:Sulfuri
Swedish:Svavel
Traditional Chinese:自然硫
Turkish:Kükürt
Ukrainian:Сірка
Upper Sorbian:Syrik
Uzbek (Latin Script):Oltingugurt
Vietnamese:Lưu huỳnh
Welsh:Sylffwr
West Flemish:Sulfer
Yiddish:שװעבל

Other Information

Thermal Behaviour:
With a low melting point of 113 degrees C, sulphur burns readily in air, with a low blue flame, and gives off choking fumes of sulphur-dioxide - acrid odor (forms sulphurous and eventually sulphuric acid in air).
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:
Used in a great many applications, ranging from matches and fireworks to rubber.

References for Sulphur

Reference List:
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.: 140-144.

Ventriglia U. – (1951) Sulla struttura dello zolfo rombico. Periodico di Mineralogia – Roma pp. 237-255.

Acta Crystallographica (1987): C43: 2260-2262.

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig (1997), Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 30.

Internet Links for Sulphur

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

Localities for Sulphur

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.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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