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Cassiterite

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Formula:
SnO
 
2
System:TetragonalColour:Black, yellow, brown, ...
Lustre:Adamantine, Greasy, Sub-MetallicHardness:6 - 7
Member of:Rutile Group
Name:The mineral name is derived from the term “Cassiterides” which was applied 'islands off the western coast of Europe' in pre-Roman times (the exact location of these 'islands' has been hotly debated over the years, current thought is that the source was probably mainland Spain and that even 2000 years ago, traders had a habit of providing misleading locality information to protect their sources).
Isostructural with:Rutile


The primary ore of Tin, this mineral is found in hydrothermal veins and pegmatites associated with granite intrusions. Because of its durability it is also frequently found concentrated in alluvial placer deposits, sometimes in large enough quantities to be commercially exploitable, as in Malaysia, for example.

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Classification of Cassiterite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:4/D.02-40
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:4.DB.05

4 : OXIDES (Hydroxides, V[5,6] vanadates, arsenites, antimonites, bismuthites, sulfites, selenites, tellurites, iodates)
D : Metal: Oxygen = 1:2 and similar
B : With medium-sized cations; chains of edge-sharing octahedra
Dana 8th edition ID:4.4.1.5

4 : SIMPLE OXIDES
4 : AX2
Hey's CIM Ref.:7.11.2

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
11 : Oxides of Sn and Pb
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Occurrences of Cassiterite

Geological Setting:In medium- to high-temperature hydrothermal veins and greisens, alluvial placers.

Physical Properties of Cassiterite

Lustre:Adamantine, Greasy, Sub-Metallic
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent, Translucent, Opaque
Colour:Black, yellow, brown, red or white.
Streak:Brownish white, white, greyish
Hardness (Mohs):6 - 7
Hardness (Vickers):VHN200=1239 - 1467 kg/mm2
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:Imperfect/Fair
{100} imperfect, {110} indistinct.
Parting:More or less distinct on {111} or {011}.
Fracture:Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
Density (measured):6.98 - 7.01 g/cm3
Density (calculated):6.993 g/cm3

Crystallography of Cassiterite

Crystal System:Tetragonal
Class (H-M):4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) - Ditetragonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:P42/mnm {P42/m 21/n 2/m}
Cell Parameters:a = 4.7382(4) Å, c = 3.1871(1) Å
Ratio:a:c = 1 : 0.673
Unit Cell Volume:V 71.55 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:2
Morphology:Untwinned crystals usually short prismatic [001] with {110} and {100} prominent. Long prismatic at times, or with acute terminations. Less commonly pyramidal. Faces {001} and {110} frequently uneven; faces in zone [10_1] and in zone [001] often striated parallel to their intersections. Fibrous, botryoidal crusts or concretionary masses. Granular, coarse to fine.
Twinning:1. On {011}, very common. Both contact and penetration twins; often repeated producing complex forms. Stellate fivelings at times. 2. Reported on {{031}.
Crystal Atlas:
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Cassiterite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.19 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.175 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.177 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.178 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.207 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)

About Crystal Atlas

The mindat.org Crystal Atlas allows you to view a selection of crystal drawings of real and idealised crystal forms for this mineral and, in certain cases, 3d rotating crystal objects. The 3d models and HTML5 code are kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Epitaxial Relationships of Cassiterite

Epitaxial Minerals:
Quartz
SiO
 
2
Nordenskiöldine
CaSn
4+
 
[BO
 
3
]
 
2
Epitaxi Comments:Oriented overgrowths of cassiterite on nordenskioldine; oriented growths of quartz on cassiterite.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Horizontal Axis: ° to ° Vertical Axis: % Source Data: Filtered Data:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.

Optical Data of Cassiterite

Type:Uniaxial (+)
RI values: nω = 1.990 - 2.010 nε = 2.093 - 2.100
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.103

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Very High
Type:Anisotropic
Anisotropism:Strong
Colour in reflected light:Light gray
Internal Reflections:white to brownish
Pleochroism:Weak
Comments:Pleochroic haloes have been observed. Dichroic in yellow, green, red, brown, usually weak, or absent, but strong at times.
Comments:Anomalously biaxial.

Chemical Properties of Cassiterite

Formula:
SnO
 
2
Simplified for copy/paste:SnO2
Essential elements:O, Sn
All elements listed in formula:O, Sn
Common Impurities:Fe,Ta,Nb,Zn,W,Mn,Sc,Ge,In,Sc,Ga

Relationship of Cassiterite to other Species

Member of:Rutile Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Argutite
GeO
 
2
Paratellurite
TeO
 
2
Plattnerite
PbO
 
2
Pyrolusite
MnO
 
2
Rutile
TiO
 
2
Stishovite
SiO
 
2
Tripuhyite
Fe
3+
 
Sb
5+
 
O
 
4
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
4.DB.05Argutite
GeO
 
2
4.DB.05Plattnerite
PbO
 
2
4.DB.05Pyrolusite
MnO
 
2
4.DB.05Rutile
TiO
 
2
4.DB.05Tripuhyite
Fe
3+
 
Sb
5+
 
O
 
4
4.DB.05Tugarinovite
MoO
 
2
4.DB.05Varlamoffite
(Sn,Fe)(O,OH)
 
2
4.DB.10Byströmite
MgSb
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.10Tapiolite-(Fe)
(Fe,Mn)(Ta,Nb)
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.10Tapiolite-(Mn)
(Mn,Fe)(Ta,Nb)
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.10Ordoñezite
ZnSb
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.15bAkhtenskite
ε-Mn
4+
 
O
 
2
4.DB.15cNsutite
(Mn
4+
 
,Mn
2+
 
)(O,OH)
 
2
4.DB.15aParamontroseite
V
4+
 
O
 
2
4.DB.15aRamsdellite
Mn
4+
 
O
 
2
4.DB.20Scrutinyite
alpha-PbO
 
2
4.DB.25Ishikawaite
U
4+
 
Fe
2+
 
Nb
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.25Ixiolite
(Ta,Nb,Sn,Fe,Mn)
 
4
O
 
8
4.DB.25Samarskite-(Y)
(Y,Fe
3+
 
,Fe
2+
 
,U,Th,Ca)
 
2
(Nb,Ta)
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.25Srilankite
ZrTi
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.25Yttrocolumbite-(Y)
Y(U
4+
 
,Fe
2+
 
)Nb
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.25Calciosamarskite
(Ca,Fe
3+
 
,Y)
 
2
(Nb,Ta,Ti)
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.25Samarskite-(Yb)
(Yb,Y,Fe
3+
 
,Fe
2+
 
,U,Th,Ca)
 
2
(Nb,Ta)
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.30Ferberite
FeWO
 
4
4.DB.30Hübnerite
MnWO
 
4
4.DB.30Sanmartinite
(Zn,Fe)WO
 
4
4.DB.30Krasnoselskite
CoWO
 
4
4.DB.30Heftetjernite
ScTaO
 
4
4.DB.30Huanzalaite
MgWO
 
4
4.DB.35Columbite-(Fe)
FeNb
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Fe)
FeTa
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.35Columbite-(Mn)
(Mn,Fe)(Nb,Ta)
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Mn)
MnTa
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.35Columbite-(Mg)
(Mg,Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.35Qitianlingite
(Fe,Mn)
 
2
(Nb,Ta)
 
2
WO
 
10
4.DB.35Magnocolumbite
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Mg)
(Mg,Fe
2+
 
)(Ta,Nb)
 
2
O
 
6
4.DB.40Ferrowodginite
FeSnTa
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.40Lithiotantite
Li(Ta,Nb)
 
3
O
 
8
4.DB.40Lithiowodginite
LiTa
 
3
O
 
8
4.DB.40Titanowodginite
MnTiTa
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.40Wodginite
Mn(Sn,Ta)Ta
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.40Ferrotitanowodginite
Fe
2+
 
TiTa
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.40Wolframowodginite
Mn(Mn,Sn,Fe,Ta)(W,Ta,Nb)
 
2
O
 
8
4.DB.45Tivanite
V
3+
 
TiO
 
3
(OH)
4.DB.50Carmichaelite
(Ti,Cr,Fe)[O
 
2-x
(OH)
 
x
]
4.DB.55Alumotantite
AlTaO
 
4
4.DB.60Biehlite
((Sb,As)O)
 
2
[MoO
 
4
]
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
7.11.1Romarchite
SnO
7.11.4Schoenfliesite
Mg[Sn(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.5Burtite
Ca[Sn(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.6Vismirnovite
Zn[Sn(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.7Wickmanite
Mn
2+
 
[Sn(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.8Tetrawickmanite
Mn
2+
 
[Sn
4+
 
(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.9Jeanbandyite
(Fe
2+
 
,Mn
2+
 
)[Sn
4+
 
(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.10Natanite
Fe
2+
 
[Sn(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.11Mushistonite
(Cu,Zn,Fe
2+
 
)[Sn(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.12Ferronigerite-2N1S
Sn(Fe,Mg)Al
 
6
O
 
11
(OH)
7.11.13Magnesionigerite
7.11.14Argutite
GeO
 
2
7.11.15Brunogeierite
Fe
2+
2
Ge
4+
 
O
 
4
7.11.16Stottite
Fe
2+
 
[Ge
4+
 
(OH)
 
6
]
7.11.17Carboirite
FeAl
 
2
(GeO
 
4
)O(OH)
 
2
7.11.18Otjisumeite
PbGe
 
4
O
 
9
7.11.19Bartelkeite
PbFe
2+
 
Ge
 
3
O
 
8
7.11.20Massicot
PbO
7.11.21Litharge
PbO
7.11.22Minium
Pb
 
3
O
 
4
7.11.23Plattnerite
PbO
 
2
7.11.24Scrutinyite
alpha-PbO
 
2
7.11.25Murdochite
PbCu
 
6
O
 
8-x
(Cl,Br)
 
2x
where x<=0.5
7.11.26Macedonite
PbTiO
 
3
7.11.27Cesàrolite
Pb(Mn
4+
 
)
 
3
O
 
6
(OH)
 
2
7.11.28Coronadite
Pb(Mn
4+
6
Mn
3+
2
)O
 
16
7.11.29Quenselite
PbMnO
 
2
(OH)
7.11.30Plumboferrite
Pb
 
2
Fe
3+
11-x
Mn
2+
x
O
 
19-2x
, x = 1/3
7.11.31Magnetoplumbite
(Pb,Mn)(Fe,Mn)
 
12
O
 
19
7.11.32Senaite
Pb(Ti,Fe,Mn)
 
21
O
 
38

Other Names for Cassiterite

Synonyms:
NadelzinnerzNeedle-tin oreSparable tinStannum calciformeTin Spar
Tinstone
Other Languages:
Asturian:Casiterita
Basque:Kasiterita
Catalan:Cassiterita
Czech:Kasiterit
Dutch:Cassiteriet
Finnish:Kassiteriitti
French:Cassitérite
Etain oxydé
German:Kassiterit
Cassiterit
Sperlingsschnabel
Visiererz
Visiergraupen
Zinngranate
Zinngraupen
Zinnschlich
Zinnspat
Zinnstein
Zwitter
Hebrew:קסיטריט
Hungarian:Kassziterit
Italian:Cassiterite
Stagno ossidato
Japanese:錫石
Korean:석석
Lithuanian:Kasiteritas
Malay:Kasiterit
Polish:Kasyteryt
Portuguese:Cassiterita
Russian:Касситерит
Spanish:Casiterita
Cassiterita
Swedish:Tennmalm
Zinnsten
Ukrainian:Каситерит
Varieties:
AinaliteToad's Eye TinWood Tin

Other Information

Health Warning:No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for Cassiterite

Reference List:

- +
Klaproth, M.H. (1797): Untersuchung der Zinnsteine, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Zweiter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 245-256

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: 574-581.

Cecchini A., Franzini M., Troysi M.(1990): La microdurezza della cassiterite. Atti Soc. Tosc. Sc. Nat., Mem., Serie A, 97, 85-92.

Maldener, J., Rauch, F., Gavranic, M., and Beran, A. (2001) OH absorption coefficients of rutile and cassiterite deduced from nuclear reaction analysis and FTIR spectroscopy. Mineralogy and Petrology: 71: 21-29.

Mindat.org articles about Cassiterite

Article entries:
Pseudomorphous crystals of oxide of tin, found in Huel Coates mine, in St. AgnesJolyon & Katya Ralph

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Best of Species:Cassiterite

Internet Links for Cassiterite

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    Localities for Cassiterite

    The 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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