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Cassiterite

This page kindly sponsored by Keith Compton
Formula:
SnO2
System:
Tetragonal
Colour:
Black, yellow, brown, ...
Lustre:
Adamantine, Greasy, Sub-Metallic
Hardness:
6 - 7
Member of:
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:
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.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Cassiterite.

Classification of Cassiterite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
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
4.4.1.5

4 : SIMPLE OXIDES
4 : AX2
7.11.2

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
11 : Oxides of Sn and Pb
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http://www.mindat.org/min-917.html
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Occurrences of Cassiterite

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

Physical Properties of Cassiterite

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:
6.98 - 7.01 g/cm3 (Measured)    6.993 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Cassiterite

Crystal System:
Tetragonal
Class (H-M):
4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) - Ditetragonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
P42/mnm
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}.

Crystallographic forms of Cassiterite

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
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)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

View
Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

Epitaxial Relationships of Cassiterite

Epitaxial Minerals:
QuartzSiO2
NordenskiöldineCaSn4+[BO3]2
Epitaxy Comments:
Oriented overgrowths of cassiterite on nordenskioldine; oriented growths of quartz on cassiterite.
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 Cassiterite

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.990 - 2.010 nε = 2.093 - 2.100
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.103
Image 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:
SnO2
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
Common Impurities:
Fe,Ta,Nb,Zn,W,Mn,Sc,Ge,In,Sc,Ga

Relationship of Cassiterite to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of Group:
4.DB.05ArgutiteGeO2
4.DB.05PlattneritePbO2
4.DB.05PyrolusiteMnO2
4.DB.05RutileTiO2
4.DB.05TripuhyiteFe3+Sb5+O4
4.DB.05TugarinoviteMoO2
4.DB.05Varlamoffite(Sn,Fe)(O,OH)2
4.DB.10ByströmiteMgSb2O6
4.DB.10Tapiolite-(Fe)(Fe,Mn)(Ta,Nb)2O6
4.DB.10Tapiolite-(Mn)(Mn,Fe)(Ta,Nb)2O6
4.DB.10OrdoñeziteZnSb2O6
4.DB.15bAkhtenskiteε-Mn4+O2
4.DB.15cNsutite(Mn4+,Mn2+)(O,OH)2
4.DB.15aParamontroseiteV4+O2
4.DB.15aRamsdelliteMn4+O2
4.DB.20Scrutinyiteα-PbO2
4.DB.25IshikawaiteU4+Fe2+Nb2O8
4.DB.25Ixiolite(Ta,Nb,Sn,Fe,Mn)4O8
4.DB.25Samarskite-(Y)(Y,Fe3+,Fe2+,U,Th,Ca)2(Nb,Ta)2O8
4.DB.25SrilankiteZrTi2O6
4.DB.25Yttrocolumbite-(Y)Y(U4+,Fe2+)Nb2O8
4.DB.25Calciosamarskite(Ca,Fe3+,Y)2(Nb,Ta,Ti)2O8
4.DB.25Samarskite-(Yb)(Yb,Y,Fe3+,Fe2+,U,Th,Ca)2(Nb,Ta)2O8
4.DB.30FerberiteFeWO4
4.DB.30HübneriteMnWO4
4.DB.30Sanmartinite(Zn,Fe)WO4
4.DB.30KrasnoselskiteCoWO4
4.DB.30HeftetjerniteScTaO4
4.DB.30HuanzalaiteMgWO4
4.DB.35Columbite-(Fe)FeNb2O6
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Fe)FeTa2O6
4.DB.35Columbite-(Mn)(Mn,Fe)(Nb,Ta)2O6
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Mn)MnTa2O6
4.DB.35Columbite-(Mg)(Mg,Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)2O6
4.DB.35Qitianlingite(Fe,Mn)2(Nb,Ta)2WO10
4.DB.35Magnocolumbite
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Mg)(Mg,Fe2+)(Ta,Nb)2O6
4.DB.40FerrowodginiteFeSnTa2O8
4.DB.40LithiotantiteLi(Ta,Nb)3O8
4.DB.40LithiowodginiteLiTa3O8
4.DB.40TitanowodginiteMnTiTa2O8
4.DB.40WodginiteMn(Sn,Ta)Ta2O8
4.DB.40FerrotitanowodginiteFe2+TiTa2O8
4.DB.40WolframowodginiteMn(Mn,Sn,Fe,Ta)(W,Ta,Nb)2O8
4.DB.45TivaniteV3+TiO3(OH)
4.DB.50Carmichaelite(Ti,Cr,Fe)[O2-x(OH)x]
4.DB.55AlumotantiteAlTaO4
4.DB.60Biehlite((Sb,As)O)2[MoO4]
7.11.1RomarchiteSnO
7.11.4SchoenfliesiteMg[Sn(OH)6]
7.11.5BurtiteCa[Sn(OH)6]
7.11.6VismirnoviteZn[Sn(OH)6]
7.11.7WickmaniteMn2+[Sn(OH)6]
7.11.8TetrawickmaniteMn2+[Sn4+(OH)6]
7.11.9Jeanbandyite(Fe2+,Mn2+)[Sn4+(OH)6]
7.11.10NataniteFe2+[Sn(OH)6]
7.11.11Mushistonite(Cu,Zn,Fe2+)[Sn(OH)6]
7.11.12Ferronigerite-2N1S(Al,Fe,Zn)2(Al,Sn)6O11(OH)
7.11.13Magnesionigerite
7.11.14ArgutiteGeO2
7.11.15BrunogeieriteFe22+Ge4+O4
7.11.16StottiteFe2+[Ge4+(OH)6]
7.11.17CarboiriteFeAl2(GeO4)O(OH)2
7.11.18OtjisumeitePbGe4O9
7.11.19BartelkeitePb(Fe2+Ge)[Ge2O7](OH)2 · H2O
7.11.20MassicotPbO
7.11.21LithargePbO
7.11.22MiniumPb3O4
7.11.23PlattneritePbO2
7.11.24Scrutinyiteα-PbO2
7.11.25MurdochitePbCu6O8-x(Cl,Br)2x where x<=0.5
7.11.26MacedonitePbTiO3
7.11.27CesàrolitePb(Mn4+)3O6(OH)2
7.11.28CoronaditePb(Mn64+Mn23+)O16
7.11.29QuenselitePbMnO2(OH)
7.11.30PlumboferritePb2Fe3+11-xMnx2+O19-2x, x = 1/3
7.11.31Magnetoplumbite(Pb,Mn)(Fe,Mn)12O19
7.11.32SenaitePb(Ti,Fe,Mn)21O38

Other Names for Cassiterite

Other Information

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 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.

Internet Links for Cassiterite

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

Localities for Cassiterite

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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