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Variscite

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Formula:
AlPO4 · 2H2O
System:
Orthorhombic
Colour:
Pale to emerald-green, ...
Lustre:
Vitreous, Waxy
Hardness:
3½ - 4½
Member of:
Name:
For Variscia, an old name for Vogtland, the German district where the mineral was first discovered.
Dimorph of:
Variscite-Strengite Series.
The orthorhombic dimorph of Metavariscite.

Pseudo-tetragonal-dipyramidal crystals may be confused with wardite.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Variscite.

Classification of Variscite

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
Approval Year:
1967
8.CD.10

8 : PHOSPHATES, ARSENATES, VANADATES
C : Phosphates without additional anions, with H2O
D : With only medium-sized cations, RO4:H2O = 1:2
40.4.1.1

40 : HYDRATED NORMAL PHOSPHATES,ARSENATES AND VANADATES
4 : (AB)5(XO4)2·xH2O
19.7.5

19 : Phosphates
7 : Phosphates of Al alone
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Type Occurrence of Variscite

Occurrences of Variscite

Geological Setting:
Deposited from phosphatic waters reacting with aluminous rocks at surface or near-surface conditions.

Physical Properties of Variscite

Vitreous, Waxy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Pale to emerald-green, bluish green, colourless to white, pale shades of brown or yellow, rarely red; Colourless to pale green in transmitted light.
Streak:
White
Hardness (Mohs):
3½ - 4½
Cleavage:
Distinct/Good
Good on {010}, poor on {001}.
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Splintery
Comment:
Sub-conchoidal to conchoidal when fine-grained or glassy.
Density:
2.57 - 2.61 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.59 g/cm3 (Calculated)
Comment:
Density of 2.2 to 2.5 observed in microcrystalline and massive varieties.

Crystallography of Variscite

Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Class (H-M):
mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) - Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Pbca
Cell Parameters:
a = 9.822Å, b = 8.561Å, c = 9.63Å
Ratio:
a:b:c = 1.147 : 1 : 1.125
Unit Cell Volume:
V 808.81 ų
Z:
8
Morphology:
Uncommon in crystals, pseudo-octahedral {111}, with {001} and additional forms as modifying faces only, lathlike. Commonly fine-grained massive, nodular, stalagtitic, crustiform, veinlets; chalcedonic, opaline.
Twinning:
On {201}, rare.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.

Optical Data of Variscite

Type:
Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.563 nβ = 1.588 nγ = 1.594
2V:
Measured: 50° , Calculated: 50°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.031
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Moderate
Dispersion:
r < v perceptible

Chemical Properties of Variscite

Formula:
AlPO4 · 2H2O
All elements listed in formula:
Common Impurities:
Fe,As

Relationship of Variscite to other Species

Series:
Forms a series with Strengite (see here)
Member of:
Other Members of Group:
MansfielditeAlAsO4 · 2H2O
ScoroditeFe3+AsO4 · 2H2O
StrengiteFePO4 · 2H2O
YanomamiteInAsO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.05KolbeckiteScPO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.05MetavarisciteAlPO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.05PhosphosideriteFePO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.05UM2005-02-AsO:AlHPScSiScAsO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.10MansfielditeAlAsO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.10ScoroditeFe3+AsO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.10StrengiteFePO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.10YanomamiteInAsO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.15ParascoroditeFeAsO4 · 2H2O
8.CD.20Ludlamite(Fe,Mn,Mg)3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
8.CD.25SterlinghilliteMn3(AsO4)2 · 4H2O
8.CD.30RollanditeCu3(AsO4)2 · 4H2O
19.7.1BerliniteAlPO4
19.7.2AugeliteAl2(PO4)(OH)3
19.7.3TrolleiteAl4(PO4)3(OH)3
19.7.4SenegaliteAl2(PO4)(OH)(OH)2 · H2O
19.7.6MetavarisciteAlPO4 · 2H2O
19.7.7BolivariteAl2(PO4)(OH)3 · 4-5H2O
19.7.8WavelliteAl3(PO4)2(OH,F)3 · 5H2O
19.7.9EvansiteAl3(PO4)(OH)6 · 6H2O
19.7.10VantasseliteAl4(PO4)3(OH)3 · 9H2O
19.7.11KingiteAl3(PO4)2F2(OH) · 7H2O
19.7.12VashegyiteAl11(PO4)9(OH)6 · 38H2O

Other Names for Variscite

Name in Other Languages:
Dutch:Varisciet
French:Variquoise
Italian:Variscite
Polish:Waryscyt
Simplified Chinese:磷铝石
Slovak:Variscit
Traditional Chinese:磷鋁石

Other Information

Other Information:
Soluble in alkalies. Slightly soluble in HCl (fine-grained or chalcedonic material).

Easily altered by alkaline solutions containing alkaline earths or alkalies, yielding secondary minerals including crandallite, wardite, Montgomeryite, etc.
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:
Gemstones & jewelry.

References for Variscite

Reference List:
Breithaupt (1830) Journal für Chemie und Physik, Nuremberg: 60: 308 (as Peganite).

Breithaupt (1837) Journal für praktische Chemie, Leipzig: 10: 506.

Chester (1878) American Journal of Science: 15: 207.

Kunz (1895) USGS 16th Annual Report, part 4: 602 (as Utahlite).

Tschirwinsky (1904) Ann. géol. min. Russie: 7: 28.


Sterrett (1908) USGS Mineral Resources, part 2: 832 (as Amatrice).

Sterrett (1909) USGS Mineral Resources, part 2: 853 (as Chlor-utahlite).

Pisani analysis in: Lacroix, A. (1910) Minéralogie de la France et des ses colonies, Paris. 5 volumes: vol. 4: 480-481.

Pelloux (1912) Ann. Mus. Genova: 5: 470.

Schaller (1912) Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum: 41: 413.

Schaller (1912) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 50: 321.

Schaller (1916) USGS Bull. 610: 56 (as Lucinite).

Moschetti (1918) Acc. Torino, Att.: 53: 1062.

Loczka analysis in: Ulrich (1922) Rozpr. České Ak., Cl. 2, 31, no. 10.

Larsen, E.S. and Schaller (1925).

Machatschki (1929) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 321.

Ulrich (1930) Rozpr. České Ak., Cl. 2, 39, no. 17 (as Alpha-variscite).

Hintze, Carl (1933) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [4A]: 1283, 1288.

Strunz and Sztrókay (1939) Zentralblatt Mineralien: 272.

McConnell (1940) American Mineralogist: 25: 719.

Kolbeck (1941) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 52: 363.

Larsen, E.S. (1942) American Mineralogist: 27: 281.

Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 1124 pp.: 756-761.

American Mineralogist (1972): 57: 36-44.

Acta Crystallographica (1977): B33: 263.

Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (2000) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume IV. Arsenates, Phosphates, Vanadates. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 680pp.: 621.

Internet Links for Variscite

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

Localities for Variscite

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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