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The Mines and Minerals of Lavrion - Anatase

Last Updated: 21st Mar 2020

By Branko Rieck

ANATASE, TiO2, tetragonal

General Appearance
This mineral was named in 1801 by Rene Just Haüy from the Greek ανάτασις ("anatasis") for "extension," in allusion to the length of the pyramidal faces being longer in relation to their bases than in many tetragonal minerals. The appearance in the Lavrion Mining District is exactly as seen by Haüy as the reason for naming anatase. As can be seen in Figure 1, the crystals commonly are stacked into very long (in relation to their diameter) aggregates along the c-axis resulting in maximum dimensions of up to 8 mm. Individual crystals primarily present the thermodynamically most stable face (Assadi and Hanaor, 2016), the ditetragonal dipyramid {101}, with the ditetragonal prism {100} a distant second. The crystals are medium brown and – as opposed to other localities for anatase – no other hues have been observed. They are grown on open surfaces of narrow clefts in the host rock (“alpinotype” clefts).

The minerals generally found in “alpinotype” clefts are also present in the paragenesis in the Lavrion Mining District: quartz, synchysite-(Ce), calcite, rutile, brookite, pyrite and monazite-(Ce) are found in all localities. The locality in the Plaka Mine No. 80 is a little bit out of the norm, as there are also low temperature As-Sb-S ore veins crosscutting the host rock. This leads to the unexpected appearance of specimens with anatase and sprays of stibnite within millimeters of each other (Figure 2). Also, there are rare specimens of senaite found at this locality.

Two localities have yielded specimens of anatase so far: Legrena Cove and the Plaka Mine No. 80. At both localities a careful search will still yield results. At Legrena Cove the potential specimens were found at the left-hand side of the cove (looking South) in quartz-rich veins that contained pyrite as a pointer.

Fig. 1: One of the bigger groups of anatase recovered from the Plaka Mine No. 80. FOV: 6 mm.

Fig. 2: Brown anatase (left side of the picture) and stibnite spray on calcite. FOV: 2 mm.

Thanks go to Dr. Uwe Kolitsch for constructive comments and diligent proofreading to improve this article.

Assadi, M.H.N. and Hanaor, D.A.H. (2016) The effects of copper doping on photocatalytic activity at (101) planes of anatase TiO2: A theoretical study. Applied Surface Science. 387: 682–689.
Haüy, R.J. (1801) Anatase. Traité de Minéralogie: 3: 129-136.
Rieck, B., Kolitsch, U., Voudouris, P., Giester, G. and Tzeferis, P. (2018): Weitere Neufunde aus Lavrion, Griechenland. Mineralien-Welt 29 (5), 32-77 (in German).

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