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The Mineralogy of Magnesium

General Properties
Atomic Number:12
Standard atomic weight (Ar):24.3050(6)
Electron configuration:[Ne] 3s2
Crystalised magnesium
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.31
Atomic Radius:145 pm
Ionic Radius:72 pm (+2)
Van der Waals Radius:173 pm
1st Ionization energy:738 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:1,2
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:923 K
Boiling Point:1363 K
Density:1.74 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:alkaline earth metal
Main isotopes of Magnesium
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Main ions of Magnesium
NameIonExample minerals
magnesiumMg2+Magnesite, Dolomite
Other Information
Year Discovered:1755
Discovered By:
Joseph Black
Year Isolated:1808
Isolated By:
Humphry Davy
Named For:
after Magnesia, Greece
CPK color coding:#8AFF00
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's PeriodicTable.com
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Nitridestrimagnesium dinitrideMg3N2+2
Sulfidesmagnesium sulphideMgS+2
Selenidesmagnesium selenideMgSe+2
Telluridesmagnesium tellurideMgTe+2
Hydridesmagnesium dihydrideMgH2+2
Hydroxidesmagnesium hydroxideMg(OH)2+2
Fluoridesmagnesium difluorideMgF2+2Sellaite
Chloridesmagnesium dichlorideMgCl2+2
Iodidesmagnesium diiodideMgI2+2
Oxidesmagnesium oxideMgO+2Periclase
magnesium peroxideMgO2+2
Carbonatesmagnesium carbonateMgCO3+2Magnesite
Sulfatesmagnesium sulfateMgSO4+2
magnesium sulfate tetrahydrateMgSO4 · 4H2O+2Cranswickite, Starkeyite
magnesium sulfate pentahydrateMgSO4 · 5H2O+2Pentahydrite
magnesium sulfate hexahydrateMgSO4 · 6H2O+2Hexahydrite
magnesium sulfate heptahydrateMgSO4 · 7H2O+2Epsomite
magnesium sulfate undecahydrateMgSO4 · 11H2O+2Meridianiite
Mineral Diversity of Magnesium
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 5 valid mineral species
3. Halides16 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 51 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 37 valid mineral species
6. Borates55 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 49 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates101 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 221 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds4 valid mineral species
Total:539 valid species containing essential Magnesium
Geochemistry of Magnesium
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
Mg2+ was one of the ions least depleted from the mantle in the formation of the crust.
Mg2+ enters early-forming phases in igneous rocks.
Mg2+ is one of the eight most abundant solutes in average river water.
Mg2+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
Mg2+ solute is a macronutrient on land.
Mg2+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Elemental Abundance for Magnesium
Crust (CRC Handbook)2.33 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)2.8 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)2.7640 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)3.20 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)2.37 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)1.69 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.33 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)1.35 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)1.29 x 10-3mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)1.3 x 10-3mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)1.0 x 100atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)1.1 x 100atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)1.074 x 100 (3.8%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Magnesium in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Magnesium and the other elements listed based on the official IMA formula. Note that unlike other sections on this page this includes non-essential elements.

The first data column contains the total number of minerals listed with Magnesium and the element listed for that row.

The second data column lists this number as a percentage of all minerals listed with Magnesium.

The final data column compares this percentage against the percentage of all minerals that contain the element listed in each row.

Click on a heading to sort.
ElementValid Minerals listed with element and Magnesium% of Mg mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen2153 minerals with Mg and O98.85%26.88% higher
Hydrogen1534 minerals with Mg and H70.43%29.63% higher
Silicon943 minerals with Mg and Si43.30%57.51% higher
Aluminium799 minerals with Mg and Al36.69%87.62% higher
Iron737 minerals with Mg and Fe33.84%58.70% higher
Calcium690 minerals with Mg and Ca31.68%33.27% higher
Sodium574 minerals with Mg and Na26.35%41.51% higher
Phosphorus315 minerals with Mg and P14.46%26.83% higher
Manganese314 minerals with Mg and Mn14.42%33.99% higher
Potassium266 minerals with Mg and K12.21%33.72% higher
Boron261 minerals with Mg and B11.98%136.92% higher
Fluorine240 minerals with Mg and F11.02%45.41% higher
Sulfur211 minerals with Mg and S9.69%52.37% lower
Carbon190 minerals with Mg and C8.72%15.39% higher
Arsenic156 minerals with Mg and As7.16%39.83% lower
Titanium156 minerals with Mg and Ti7.16%7.44% higher
Chlorine119 minerals with Mg and Cl5.46%24.15% lower
Zinc104 minerals with Mg and Zn4.78%5.93% lower
Barium93 minerals with Mg and Ba4.27%4.05% lower
Copper68 minerals with Mg and Cu3.12%75.53% lower
Vanadium66 minerals with Mg and V3.03%30.51% lower
Chromium65 minerals with Mg and Cr2.98%72.14% higher
Uranium61 minerals with Mg and U2.80%44.63% lower
Lithium58 minerals with Mg and Li2.66%31.85% higher
Cerium53 minerals with Mg and Ce2.43%14.91% lower
Beryllium49 minerals with Mg and Be2.25%4.03% higher
Strontium36 minerals with Mg and Sr1.65%33.47% lower
Lead30 minerals with Mg and Pb1.38%86.14% lower
Nitrogen30 minerals with Mg and N1.38%34.69% lower
Nickel28 minerals with Mg and Ni1.29%57.19% lower
Antimony26 minerals with Mg and Sb1.19%75.08% lower
Niobium26 minerals with Mg and Nb1.19%58.52% lower
Lanthanum25 minerals with Mg and La1.15%3.58% higher
Zirconium22 minerals with Mg and Zr1.01%54.79% lower
Tellurium19 minerals with Mg and Te0.87%71.46% lower
Tin17 minerals with Mg and Sn0.78%54.98% lower
Tungsten16 minerals with Mg and W0.73%8.66% lower
Molybdenum14 minerals with Mg and Mo0.64%47.11% lower
Scandium12 minerals with Mg and Sc0.55%62.24% higher
Cobalt11 minerals with Mg and Co0.51%59.63% lower
Iodine9 minerals with Mg and I0.41%22.93% lower
Yttrium9 minerals with Mg and Y0.41%82.22% lower
Tantalum6 minerals with Mg and Ta0.28%76.29% lower
Bismuth3 minerals with Mg and Bi0.14%96.68% lower
Selenium3 minerals with Mg and Se0.14%93.98% lower
Mercury3 minerals with Mg and Hg0.14%92.22% lower
Thorium3 minerals with Mg and Th0.14%80.24% lower
Neodymium2 minerals with Mg and Nd0.09%83.94% lower
Caesium2 minerals with Mg and Cs0.09%79.45% lower
Periodic Table
1H 2He
3Li 4Be 5B 6C 7N 8O 9F 10Ne
11Na 12Mg 13Al 14Si 15P 16S 17Cl 18Ar
19K 20Ca 21Sc 22Ti 23V 24Cr 25Mn 26Fe 27Co 28Ni 29Cu 30Zn 31Ga 32Ge 33As 34Se 35Br 36Kr
37Rb 38Sr 39Y 40Zr 41Nb 42Mo 43Tc 44Ru 45Rh 46Pd 47Ag 48Cd 49In 50Sn 51Sb 52Te 53I 54Xe
55Cs 56Ba 57La 72Hf 73Ta 74W 75Re 76Os 77Ir 78Pt 79Au 80Hg 81Tl 82Pb 83Bi 84Po 85At 86Rn
87Fr 88Ra 89Ac 104Rd 105Db 106Sg 107Bh 108Hs 109Mt 110Ds 111Rg 112Cn 113Nh 114Fl 115Mc 116Lv 117Ts 118Og
58Ce 59Pr 60Nd 61Pm 62Sm 63Eu 64Gd 65Tb 66Dy 67Ho 68Er 69Tm 70Yb 71Lu
90Th 91Pa 92U 93Np 94Pu 95Am 96Cm 97Bk 98Cf 99Es 100Fm 101Md 102No 103Lr
Default Categories CPK Electronegativity Atomic Radius Lowest Oxidation Highest Oxidation Crustal Abundance Goldschmidt Mineral Species Minerals with Mg Relative Frequency
Sodium << Magnesium >> Aluminium

Most widespread minerals containing Magnesium
This list of minerals containing Magnesium is built from the mindat.org locality database. This is based on the number of localities entered for mineral species and is therefore slanted towards minerals interesting to collectors with less coverage of common rock-forming-minerals so it does not give an undistorted distribution of Magnesium mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities

Localities with greatest number of different Magnesium mineral species
map should go here
2Långban, Filipstad, Värmland County, Sweden51 Mg minerals
6Caspar quarry, Bellerberg volcano, Ettringen, Mayen, Mayen-Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany36 Mg minerals
7Sterling Mine, Sterling Hill, Ogdensburg, Franklin Mining District, Sussex County, New Jersey, USA35 Mg minerals
5Poudrette quarry (De-Mix quarry; Demix quarry; Uni-Mix quarry; Carrière Mont Saint-Hilaire; MSH), Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada37 Mg minerals
Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia35 Mg minerals

Important industrial minerals containing Magnesium
NameFormulaCrystal System

Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to jolyon@mindat.org. Thank you.

Constants and physical property data from:

David R. Lide (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida (2005).
Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants (2005). Section 3.1.3, Abundances of the elements
A. Earnshaw, N. Greenwood, Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, (1997)
Thomas J. Ahrens (ed.), Global Earth Physics : A Handbook of Physical Constants, American Geophysical Union (1995)
L.B. Railsback, An Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions : Geology 31:9 p737-740 (2003)
Emsley, J. Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford University Press (2001)
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