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Witherite

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William Withering
Formula:
BaCO3
System:
Orthorhombic
Colour:
Colourless, white, ...
Lustre:
Vitreous, Resinous
Hardness:
3 - 3½
Member of:
Name:
Named after William Withering (1741-1799), English physician and naturalist, who first described the mineral.
The Ba analogue of strontianite.

Found in low-temperature hydrothermal vein deposits.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Witherite.

Classification of Witherite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
5.AB.15

5 : CARBONATES (NITRATES)
A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
B : Alkali-earth (and other M2+) carbonates
14.1.3.2

14 : ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
1 : A(XO3)
11.5.2

11 : Carbonates
5 : Carbonates of Sr and Ba
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First Recorded Occurrence of Witherite

Year of Discovery:
1789

Occurrences of Witherite

Geological Setting:
Low-temperature hydrothermal veins.

Physical Properties of Witherite

Vitreous, Resinous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Colourless, white, greyish, light yellow; colourless in transmitted light.
Streak:
White
Hardness (Mohs):
3 - 3½
Cleavage:
Distinct/Good
On {010} distinct; on {110} imperfect. Possibly also on {110} and {112}.
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven
Density:
4.289 - 4.293 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.29 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Witherite

Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Class (H-M):
mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) - Dipyramidal
Cell Parameters:
a = 5.31Å, b = 8.9Å, c = 6.43Å
Ratio:
a:b:c = 0.597 : 1 : 0.722
Unit Cell Volume:
V 303.88 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Morphology:
Crystals universally twinned on {110}, yielding pseudo-hexagonal dipyramids; also short prismatic [001] or tabular to lenticular with a convex base. Faces commonly rough and horizontally striated. Globular, tuberose, and botryoidal; structure columnar, granular, or coarse fibrous.
Twinning:
On {110}, universal.

Crystallographic forms of Witherite

Crystal Atlas:
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Witherite no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Witherite no.10 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Witherite no.11 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Witherite no.19 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Witherite no.22 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Epitaxial Relationships of Witherite

Epitaxial Minerals:
BarytocalciteBaCa(CO3)2
BaryteBaSO4
Epitaxi Comments:
Witherites in parallel growth on Barytocalcite (Blagill). Baryte on witherite, with baryte [010]{102} parallel with witherite [100]{011} and {031}; also otherwise oriented.
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
3.72 (100)
3.68 (53)
3.215 (15)
2.628 (24)
2.590 (23)
2.150 (28)
2.019 (21)

Optical Data of Witherite

Type:
Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.529 nβ = 1.676 nγ = 1.677
2V:
Measured: 16° , Calculated: 8°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.148
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
High
Dispersion:
relatively weak

Chemical Properties of Witherite

Formula:
BaCO3
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
CAS Registry number:
513-77-9

CAS Registry numbers are published by the American Chemical Society
Common Impurities:
Ca,Sr

Relationship of Witherite to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of Group:
Common Associates:
5.AB.05CalciteCaCO3
5.AB.05Gaspéite(Ni,Mg,Fe)CO3
5.AB.05MagnesiteMgCO3
5.AB.05OtaviteCdCO3
5.AB.05RhodochrositeMnCO3
5.AB.05SideriteFeCO3
5.AB.05SmithsoniteZnCO3
5.AB.05SpherocobaltiteCoCO3
5.AB.10AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
5.AB.10DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2
5.AB.10KutnohoriteCa(Mn,Mg,Fe)(CO3)2
5.AB.10MinrecorditeCaZn(CO3)2
5.AB.15AragoniteCaCO3
5.AB.15CerussitePbCO3
5.AB.15StrontianiteSrCO3
5.AB.20VateriteCaCO3
5.AB.25HuntiteCaMg3(CO3)4
5.AB.30NorsethiteBaMg(CO3)2
5.AB.35AlstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.40OlekminskiteSr(Sr,Ca,Ba)(CO3)2
5.AB.40ParalstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.45BarytocalciteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.50Carbocernaite(Ca,Na)(Sr,Ce,Ba)(CO3)2
5.AB.55Benstonite(Ba,Sr)6(Ca,Mn)6Mg(CO3)13
5.AB.60JuangodoyiteNa2Cu(CO3)2
11.5.1StrontianiteSrCO3
11.5.3NorsethiteBaMg(CO3)2
11.5.4AlstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
11.5.5ParalstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
11.5.6BarytocalciteBaCa(CO3)2
11.5.7Benstonite(Ba,Sr)6(Ca,Mn)6Mg(CO3)13

Other Names for Witherite

Other Information

Thermal Behaviour:
Inverts under CO2 pressure to a hexagonal (?), and then an isometric modification upon heating.
Other Information:
Soluble in dilute HCl.
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 Witherite

Reference List:
Withering (1783) Phil. Trans.: 293 (as Terra ponderosa aerata).

Watt (1790) Mem. Manchester Society: 3: 599 (as Aerated Barytes).

Werner (1790) Bergmaaennusches Journal, Freiberg (Neues Bergmannische Journal): 2: 225 (as Witherit).

Kirwan, R. (1794) Elements of Mineralogy. (1784), second edition. London: 1: 134 (as Barolite).

Des Cloizeaux, A. (1874) Manuel de minéralogie. 2 volumes and Atlas, Paris. volume 2: 75.

Dana, E.S. (1892) System of Mineralogy, 6th. Edition, New York: 284.

Jackson (1894) Journal of the Chemical Society, London: 65: 734 (luminescence).

Mallard (1895) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 18: 8.

Bary (1900) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 130: 776.

Kunz and Baskerville (1903) Science: 769.

Mügge (1903) Jb. Min., Beil.-Bd.: 16: 399.

Boeke (1906) Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie, Hamburg, Leipzig: 50: 244.

Groth, P. (1908) Chemische Krystallographie. Leipzig. 5 volumes: vol. 2: 209.

Boeke (1913) Mitt. Naturfor. Ges. Halle: 3: 1.

Samojloff (1915) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 161.

Madelung and Fuchs (1921) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 65: 289.

Goldschmidt, V. (1923) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text. Heidelberg. vol. 9: 80.

Hintze, Carl (1926) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3A]: 3045.

Szebellédy (1926) Inaugural Dissertation, Budapest [Min. Abs.: 3: 261 (1927)].

Wilson (1928) Physical Review, a Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics: 31: 305.

Cork and Gerhard (1931) American Mineralogist: 16: 71.

Köhler and Leitmeier (1934) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 87: 146.

Colby and LaCoste (1935) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 90: 1.

Hackspill and Wolf (1937) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 204: 1820.

Faivre (1946) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 222: 227.

Sidorenko (1947) Comptes rendus de l’académie des sciences de l’U.R.S.S., n.s.: 55: 149.

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: 194-196.

American Mineralogist (1971): 56: 758.

Holl C.M., J.R. Smyth, H.M.S. Laustsen, S.D. Jacobsen, & R.T. Downs (2000), Compression of witherite to 8 GPa and the crystal structure of BaCO3-II: Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 27: 467-473.

Reviews in Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America 11.

Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie et de Cristallographie (1988): 111: 139.

Sanchez-Pastor, N. et al. (2011): Raman study of synthetic witherite-strontianite solid solutions. Spectroscopy Letters 44(7-8), 500-504.

Internet Links for Witherite

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

Localities for Witherite

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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