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Named after Heinrich Vater [September 5, 1859 Bremen, Germany - February 10, 1930 Dresden, Germany], Professor of Mineralogy and Chemistry, Tharandt, Saxony (Germany).
Polymorph of:
A rare CaCO3 modification that is metastable below approx. 400°C. May be stabilised by sulphate (Fernández-Díaz et al., 2010).

Vaterite is actually composed of at least two different crystallographic structures that coexist within a pseudo–single crystal. The major structure exhibits hexagonal symmetry; the minor structure, existing as nanodomains within the major matrix, is still unknown (Kabalah-Amitai et al., 2013). The structure is disordered in terms of (1) different orientations of the carbonate groups, (2) different stacking sequences of the carbonate-comprising layers, and (3) possible chiral forms (Demichelis et al., 2013). The OD character leads to polytypism; the OD layer comprises Ca coordination polyhedra and halves of the carbonate groups, and the group symmetry of the layer is C2/m; the known stacking sequences include: P6122, P6522, C2/c, C2/c2/m21/m, and P312 or P322. The type of the OD layering is similar to those observed in bastnäsite-synchysite polysomatic series (Makovicky, 2016).

Not uncommon as a biomineral (other sources: rarely used in hard tissue). As such, it is formed from the precursor - Unnamed (Amorphous Calcium Carbonate) - via dehydration (Bots et al., 2012), the transformation process being inhibited in the presence of PO43- ions (Sugiura et al., 2016). Further dissolution-reprecipitation turns vaterite into calcite.

Classification of Vaterite

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)

A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
B : Alkali-earth (and other M2+) carbonates

1 : A(XO3)

11 : Carbonates
4 : Carbonates of Ca

Physical Properties of Vaterite

Sub-Vitreous, Waxy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Hardness (Mohs):
Irregular/Uneven, Splintery
2.645 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.645 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Vaterite

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) - Dihexagonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.13Å, c = 8.49Å
a:c = 1 : 2.056
Unit Cell Volume:
V 125.41 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Thin fibers, spherulitic aggregates.
Wang, J.W. & Becker, U. (2009): Structure and carbonate orientation of vaterite (CaCO3). Am. Mineral. 94, 380-386.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
3.57 (55)
3.30 (100)
2.73 (95)
2.065 (60)
1.858 (25)
1.823 (70)
1.647 (25)
See also 33-268; 13-192 (synthetic)

Optical Data of Vaterite

Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.550 nε = 1.650
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.100
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Optical Extinction:

Chemical Properties of Vaterite

All elements listed in formula:
CAS Registry number:

CAS Registry numbers are published by the American Chemical Society

Relationship of Vaterite to other Species

11.4.4MonohydrocalciteCaCO3 · H2O
11.4.5IkaiteCaCO3 · 6H2O

Other Names for Vaterite

Name in Other Languages:
Simplified Chinese:六方球方解石

Other Information

Not known to fluoresce.
Thermal Behaviour:
Dry crystals convert to calcite when heated to about 440°.
Other Information:
Converts to aragonite or calcite when boiled in water. Converts to calcite when boiled in NaCl solution.
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 Vaterite

Reference List:
Doelter, C. (1911) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 1: 113.

Meigen, W. (1911): Über kohlensauren Kalk. Verhandl. Ges. Deut. Naturforscher u. Ärtzte, 82, 120-124.

Johnston, Merwin, and Williamson (1916) American Journal of Science: 41: 473.

Gibson, Wyckoff, and Merwin (1925) American Journal of Science: 10: 325 (as Vaterite-B).

Heide (1925) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 198.

Hintze, Carl (1926) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3B]: 2883.

Yoshimura (1930) Japanese Journal of Geology and Geography: 7: 3.

American Mineralogist (1931): 16: 770-772.

Donnay (1936) Société géologique de Belgique, Liége, Bulletin: 59: 215.

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: Halides, Nitrates, Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Tungstates, Molybdates, Etc. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 181-182.

McConnel, J.D.C. (1960): Vaterite from Ballycraigy, Larne, Northern Ireland. Mineralogical Magazine: 32: 534-544.

American Mineralogist (1960): 45: 1316.

Meyer, H.J. (1969): Struktur und Fehlordnung des Vaterits. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, 128, 183–212.

Turnbull, A. G. (1973): Thermochemical study of vaterite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 37, 1593-1601.

Plummer, L. N. & Busenberg, E. (1982): The solubilities of calcite, aragonite, and vaterite in carbon dioxide-water solutions between 0 and 90° C, and an evaluation of the aqueous model for the system calcium carbonate-carbon dioxide-water. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 46, 1011-1040.

De Visscher, A. & Vanderdeelen, J. (2003): Estimation of the Solubility Constant of Calcite, Aragonite, and Vaterite at 25° C Based on Primary Data Using the Pitzer Ion Interaction Approach. Monatshefte für Chemie 134, 769-775.

Wang, J.W. & Becker, U. (2009): Structure and carbonate orientation of vaterite (CaCO3). Am. Mineral. 94, 380-386.

Emilie M. Pouget, Paul H. H. Bomans, Archan Dey, Peter M. Frederik, Gijsbertus de With and Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk (2010): The Development of Morphology and Structure in Hexagonal Vaterite. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 11560–11565.

Lurdes Fernández-Díaz, Ángeles Fernández-González and Manuel Prieto (2010): The role of sulfate groups in controlling CaCO3 polymorphism. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74, 6064-6076.

Bots, P., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Roncal-Herrero, T., Benning, L.G., Shaw, S. (2012): Mechanistic insights into the crystallization of amorphous calcium carbonate to vaterite. Crystal Growth and Design: 12: 3806-3814.

Demichelis, R., Raiteri, P., Gale, J.D. (2013): The multiple structures of vaterite. Goldschmidt Conference 2013, Firenze, Italy

Kabalah-Amitai, L., Mayzel, B., Kauffmann, Y., Fitch, A.N., Bloch, L., Gilbert, P.U.P.A., Pokroy, B. (2013): Vaterite Crystals Contain Two Interspersed Crystal Structures. Science, 340, 454-457.

Sugiura, Y., Onuma, K., Yamazaki, A. (2016): Growth dynamics of vaterite in relation to the physico-chemical properties of its precursor, amorphous calcium carbonate, in the Ca-CO3-PO4 system. American Mineralogist: 101: 289-296.

Makovicky, E. (2016): Vaterite: Interpretation in terms of OD theory and its next of kin. American Mineralogist: 101: 1636-1641; (2016)

Internet Links for Vaterite URL:
Please feel free to link to this page.

Localities for Vaterite

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.
(TL) indicates type locality for a valid mineral species. (FRL) indicates first recorded locality for everything else. ? indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. All other localities listed without reference should be considered as uncertain and unproven until references can be found.
  • Tasmania
    • Central Plateau
Bottrill & Baker (in prep) Catalogue of minerals of Tasmania
  • Salzburg
    • Hohe Tauern
      • Obersulzbach valley
        • Hopffeld area
Schebesta, K. (1986): Neue Mineralien vom Hopffeldboden im Obersulzbachtal. Lapis 11 (4), 9-18; 42; Kolitsch, U. (2011): 1688) „Vaterit“ vom Hopffeldboden, Obersulzbachtal: eine Fehlbestimmung. P. 155-156 in Niedermayr, G. et al. (2011): Neue Mineralfunde aus Österreich LX. Carinthia II, 201./121., 135-186.
  • Nunavut
    • Ellesmere Island
Gleeson, D. F., Williamson, C., Grasby, S. E., Pappalardo, R. T., Spear, J. R., & Templeton, A. S. (2011). Low temperature S0 biomineralization at a supraglacial spring system in the Canadian High Arctic. Geobiology, 9(4), 360-375.
  • Québec
    • Montérégie
      • La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM
        • Mont Saint-Hilaire
HORVÁTH, L. and HORVÁTH-PFENNINGER, E. (2000) Die Mineralien des Mont Saint-Hilaire. Lapis, 25, Nr. 7/8, 23-61 (in German). [p. 61]; HORVÁTH, L., and PFENNINGER‑HORVÁTH, E. (2000) I minerali di Mont-Saint-Hilaire (Québec, Canada) Rivista Mineralogica Italiana, XXIV, 140-202 (in Italian with English summary). [p. 146 & 152]
    • Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
      • Le Fjord-du-Saguenay RCM
        • Saint-Honoré
Fournier, A. (1993)
FOURNIER, A. (1993) Magmat!c and hydrothermal controls of LREE mineralization of the St.-Honoré carbonatite, Québec. M.Sc. thesis, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. 95p.
  • Baden-Württemberg
    • Black Forest
      • Wolfach
        • Oberwolfach
          • Rankach valley
WALENTA, K. (1995): Neue Mineralfunde von der Grube Clara. 6. Folge, 2. Teil. - Lapis 20 (6), 41 und 46-49.
  • Lower Saxony
    • Harz
      • Clausthal-Zellerfeld
        • Bockswies veins
          • Oberschulenberg
Schnorrer-Köhler, G. (1991): Mineralogische Notizen V, Der Aufschluss, Vol. 42, 155-171
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
    • Eifel
      • Daun
        • Üdersdorf
Schüller, W., Betz, V., Die Mineralien vom Emmelberg, Lapis 12/1986
      • Hillesheim
        • Zilsdorf
Hentschel. G., Die Mineralien der Eifelvulkane, Weise Verlag München, 1983
      • Mayen
        • Ettringen
          • Bellerberg volcano
[Hentschel, G., Seltene Minerale in Calcium-reichen Auswürflingen vom Bellerberg bei Mayen/Eifel, Aufschluß 29, 77-83, 1978] [Lapis, 15 (5), 9-36]
            • Southern lava flow
Hentschel, G., Dent Glasser, L.S., Lee, C.K. (1983): Jasmundite. Ca22(Si04)8O4S2. a new mineral, N. Jb. Mineral., Mh., 337-342.
      • Mendig
Hentschel, G., Die Mineralien der Eifelvulkane, Weise Verlag München, 1983
  • Somogy Co.
Szakáll & Gatter: Hun. Min. Spec., 1993
  • Negev
Gross, S. (1977): The Mineralogy of the Hatrurim Formation, Israel. Geological Survey of Israel, Bulletin no. 70, 80 pp.
  • Campania
    • Naples Province
      • Somma-Vesuvius Complex
        • Monte Somma
          • Ercolano
            • San Vito
Pavel M. Kartashov analytical data, Luigi Chiappino material
  • Hokkaido
    • Tokachi Province
      • Ashoro-cho (Asyoro-tyo)
Ito et al. (1999) Ganseki-Koubutsu-Koshogaku Zasshi, 94, 176-182.
  • Amman
Pitty, A. F., & Alexander, W. R. (2010). A natural analogue study of cement buffered, hyperalkaline groundwaters and their interaction with a repository host rock IV: an examination of the Khushaym Matruk (central Jordan) and Maqarin (northern Jordan) sites. NDA-RWMD Technical Report, NDA, Moors Row, UK.
  • Irbid
Khoury, H. N., Salameh, E., & Abdul-Jaber, Q. (1985). Characteristics of an unusual highly alkaline water from the Maqarin area, northern Jordan. Journal of Hydrology, 81(1), 79-91.
  • Otjozondjupa Region
    • Grootfontein District
      • Kombat
ex J Lamond Micro Collection (ex Rob Sielecki)
  • West Bank
    • Hatrurim formation
Shulamit Gross (1977) The mineralogy of the Hatrurim Formation, Israel. Geol. Surv. of Israel, bull. # 70.
  • Upper Silesia (Śląskie)
    • Upper Silesian Coal Basin
      • Katowice area
        • Siemianowice Śląskie
Kruszewski L. 2006: Oldhamite-periclase-portlandite-fluorite assemblage and coexisting minerals of burnt dump in Siemianowice Śląskie - Dąbrówka Wielka area (Upper Silesia, Poland) - preliminary report. Mineralogia Polonica Special Papers, vol.28, 118-120
  • Brașov Co.
    • Racoş Commune
Szakáll, S., Kristály, F., 2010. Mineralogy of Székelyland, Eastern Transylvania, Romania. Sfântu Gheorghe-Miercurea Ciuc-Târgu Mureş. 2010.
  • Harghita Co.
    • Odorheiu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarhely; Oderhellen)
      • Racoş (Racoşu de Jos)
Szakáll, S. & Kristály, F., Eds. (2010): Mineralogy of Székelyland, Eastern Transylvania, Romania. Csík County Nature and Conservation Society, Miercurea-Ciuc, Romania, 321 pp.
  • Hunedoara Co.
    • Hunedoara
      • Boșorod
Dumitras, D.-G., Constantinescu, E., Marincea, S., and Bourgier, V. (2005): Proceedings of the Annual Scientific Session of The Geological Society of Romania, Rosia Montana, 20-21 May 2005, 31-36.; D. Dumitras , Si. Marincea (2000) Phosphates In The Bat Guano Deposit From The "Dry" Cioclovina Cave, Sureanu Mountains, Romania. Romanian Journal of Mineral Devosits Vol 79 Suppl pp 43-45
  • Northern Region
    • Murmanskaja Oblast'
      • Kola Peninsula
      • Northern Karelia
New Data on Minerals (2004): 39: 50-64
  • Urals Region
    • Southern Urals
      • Chelyabinsk Oblast'
Cesnokov, B., Kotrly, M. and Nisanbajev, T. (1998): Brennende Abraumhalden und Aufschlüsse im Tscheljabinsker Kohlenbecken - eine reiche Mineralienküche. Mineralien-Welt, 9 (3), 54-63 (in German).
South Africa
  • Northern Cape Province
    • Kalahari manganese field
      • Hotazel
Minerals of South Africa
  • England
    • Derbyshire
      • Peak Forest
Field, L.P., Milodowski, A.E., Shaw, R.P., Stevens, L.P., Hall, M.R., Kilpatrick, A., Gunn, J., Kemp, S.J., Ellis, M.A. (2016): Unusual morphologies and the occurrence of pseudomorphs after ikaite (CaCO3•6H2O) in fast growing, hyperalkaline speleothem. Mineralogical Magazine: 80 (in press); (2016)
  • Northern Ireland
    • Co. Antrim
      • Larne
Peter G. Embrey (1978) Fourth Supplementary List of British Minerals. Mineralogical Magazine 42:169-177; McConnell J D C (1960) Vaterite from Ballycraigy, Larne, Northern Ireland. Mineralogical Magazine 32, 535-544
  • Arizona
    • Maricopa Co.
Anthony, J.W., et al (1995), Mineralogy of Arizona, 3rd.ed.: 412.
  • Michigan
    • Houghton Co.
      • Osceola
Mineralogy of Michigan (E. W. Heinrich & G. W. Robinson)
  • New Mexico
    • Otero Co.
      • Cornudas Mts
XRD - Laszlo Horvath collection
  • Tennessee
    • Smith Co.
      • Central Tennessee Ba-F-Pb-Zn District
        • Carthage
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