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Bismutite

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Formula:
(BiO)2CO3
System:
Orthorhombic
Colour:
Yellow to brown, ...
Hardness:
2½ - 3½
Name:
In allusion to its bismuth-rich composition.
A common secondary Bi carbonate. Platy forms are visually indistinguishable from the Ca-Bi carbonates Beyerite and Kettnerite.

Classification of Bismutite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
5.BE.25

5 : CARBONATES (NITRATES)
B : Carbonates with additional anions, without H2O
E : With Pb, Bi
16a.3.5.1

16a : ANHYDROUS CARBONATES CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
3 : (AB)2(XO3)Zq
11.10.1

11 : Carbonates
10 : Carbonates of Bi
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First Recorded Occurrence of Bismutite

Year of Discovery:
1841

Occurrences of Bismutite

Geological Setting:
Oxidation zones of Bi-bearing ore deposits such as hydrothermal veins and in pegmatites containing bismuthinite and native bismuth.

Physical Properties of Bismutite

Vitreous, Pearly, Dull, Earthy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Comment:
Lustre grades to pearly in coarse, fibrous, and scaly material.
Colour:
Yellow to brown, greenish, green-grey, grey or black; colourless or tinted in shades of faint yellow, green, etc. in transmitted light.
Streak:
Grey
Hardness (Mohs):
2½ - 3½
Cleavage:
Distinct/Good
On {001} (observed only in microscopic grains).
Density:
6.7 - 7.4 g/cm3 (Measured)    8.15 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Bismutite

Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Class (H-M):
mm2 - Pyramidal
Space Group:
Imm2
Cell Parameters:
a = 3.865Å, b = 3.862Å, c = 13.675Å
α = 90°, β = 90°, γ = 90°
Ratio:
a:b:c = 1.001 : 1 : 3.541
Unit Cell Volume:
V 204.1 ų
Z:
2
Morphology:
Prismatic structure at times. Pulverulent to dense earthy masses; opaline crusts; radially-fibrous crusts or spheroidal aggregates; scaly to lamellar aggregates rare.
Comment:
Pseudo-I4/mmm.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
3.724 (30)
2.953 (100)
2.737 (41)
2.137 (25)
1.9354 (20)
1.7502 (22b)
1.6184 (30b)

Optical Data of Bismutite

Type:
Uniaxial
RI values:
nα = 2.120 - 2.150 nβ = 2.120 - 2.300
Max Birefringence:
δ = 2.120
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High

Chemical Properties of Bismutite

Formula:
(BiO)2CO3
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:

Relationship of Bismutite to other Species

5.BE.05ShannonitePb2OCO3
5.BE.10HydrocerussitePb3(CO3)2(OH)2
5.BE.15PlumbonacritePb5O(OH)2(CO3)3
5.BE.20PhosgenitePb2CO3Cl2
5.BE.30KettneriteCaBiCO3OF
5.BE.35BeyeriteCa(BiO)2(CO3)2

Other Names for Bismutite

Other Information

Other Information:
Soluble in acids with effervescence.
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 Bismutite

Reference List:
Beyer (1805) (as Luftsaures Wismuth)

Werner, A.G. (1817) Letztes Mineral-System. Freiberg and Vienna. A catalogue with notes: 56 (as Arsenikwismuth).

Breithaupt, A. (1841): Ueber das natürliche kohlensaure Wismutoxyd. Poggendorffs Annalen der Physik und Chemie. 53, 627-630 (as Bismutit).

Rammelsberg (1849) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 76: 564.

Weisbach (1877) Jahrbuch für das Berg- und Hüttenwesen im Königreiche Sachsen, Abhandlungen: 49 (as Bismutosphärit).

Winkler in: Weisbach (1882) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart: II: 254.

Sperry in: Wells (1887) American Journal of Science: 34: 271.

Dana, E.S. (1892) System of Mineralogy, 6th. Edition, New York: 307.

Nenadkevich (1917) Bull. Ac. Sc., Petrograd: 11(6), 448, 454 (Hydrobismutite, Basobismutite).

Raoult analysis in: Lacroix, A. (1922) Minéralogie de Madagascar, Paris. 3 volumes: 1: 297.

Hintze, Carl (1929) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3A]: 3404, 3406.

Mountain (1935) Mineralogical Magazine: 24: 62 (as Boksputite).

Frondel, C. (1943): Mineralogy of the oxides and carbonates of Bismuth. American Mineralogist. 28, 521-535.

Heinrich (1947) American Mineralogist: 32: 365.

Lagercrantz and Sillén (1948) Arkiv för Kemi, Mineralogi och Geologi, Stockholm: 25: 1.

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: 259-262.

Arkiv för Kemi, Mineralogi och Geologi: 25A: 21.

Grice (2002): A solution to the crystal structures of bismutite and beyerite. Canadian Mineralogist. 40: 693-698.

Internet Links for Bismutite

Localities for Bismutite

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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