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The Mineralogy of Molybdenum

General Properties
Atomic Number:42
Standard atomic weight (Ar):95.96(2)
Electron configuration:[Kr] 4d5 5s1
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):2.16
Atomic Radius:190 pm
Ionic Radius:69 pm (+3)
1st Ionization energy:684 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-72 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-2,-1,1,2,3,4,5,6
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:2896 K
Boiling Point:4912 K
Density:10.28 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:transition metal
Main isotopes of Molybdenum
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
92Mo14.84%>1.9x1020yβ+β+ ?92Zr
94Mo9.25%-Spontaneous fission ?
95Mo15.92%-Spontaneous fission ?
96Mo16.68%-Spontaneous fission ?
97Mo9.55%-Spontaneous fission ?
98Mo24.13%>1x1014yβ-β- ?98Ru
Main ions of Molybdenum
NameIonExample minerals
molybdate[MoO4]2-Wulfenite, Powellite
Other Information
Year Discovered:1778
Discovered By:
Carl Wilhelm Scheele
Year Isolated:1781
Isolated By:
Peter Jacob Hjelm
Named For:From Greek: molybdos - "lead"
CPK color coding:#54B5B5
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Nitridesmolybdenum nitrideMoN+3
Sulfidesmolybdenum disulphideMoS2+4Jordisite, Molybdenite
dimolybdenum trisulphideMo2S3+3
Selenidesmolybdenum diselenideMoSe2+4
Telluridesmolybdenum ditellurideMoTe2+4
Fluoridesmolybdenum trifluorideMoF3+3
molybdenum hexafluorideMoF6+6
molybdenum tetrafluorideMoF4+4
Chloridesmolybdenum dichlorideMoCl2+2
molybdenum trichlorideMoCl3+3
molybdenum hexachlorideMoCl6+6
molybdenum tetrachlorideMoCl4+4
molybdenum pentachlorideMoCl5+5
Bromidesmolybdenum tribromideMoBr3+4
molybdenum tetrabromideMoBr4+4
Iodidesmolybdenum diiodideMoI2+2
molybdenum triiodideMoI3+3
molybdenum tetraiodideMoI4+4
Oxidesmolybdenum oxideMoO+2
molybdenum dioxideMoO2+4Tugarinovite
molybdenum trioxideMoO3+6Molybdite
Mineral Diversity of Molybdenum
1. Elements 1 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 5 valid mineral species
3. Halides1 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 15 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 17 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates7 valid mineral species
Total:46 valid species containing essential Molybdenum
Geochemistry of Molybdenum
Goldschmidt classification:Siderophile
Mo4+ is enriched in Ca-Al-rich inclusions in meteorites relative to the composition of the solar system.
Mo2+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
Mo6+ solute is a micronutrient on land.
Elemental Abundance for Molybdenum
Crust (CRC Handbook)1.2 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)1.2 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)1.2 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.000 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.500 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)1 x 10-8mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)1.0 x 10-8mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)2.3 x 10-6atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)2.6 x 10-6atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)2.55 x 10-6 (5.5%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Molybdenum in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Molybdenum 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 Molybdenum and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Molybdenum% of Mo mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen54 minerals with Mo and O87.10%14.31% higher
Hydrogen37 minerals with Mo and H59.68%11.20% higher
Iron19 minerals with Mo and Fe30.65%34.59% higher
Copper13 minerals with Mo and Cu20.97%67.80% higher
Arsenic12 minerals with Mo and As19.35%70.28% higher
Sulfur11 minerals with Mo and S17.74%8.98% lower
Sodium9 minerals with Mo and Na14.52%23.12% lower
Calcium8 minerals with Mo and Ca12.90%47.43% lower
Uranium8 minerals with Mo and U12.90%170.17% higher
Phosphorus7 minerals with Mo and P11.29%2.50% higher
Bismuth7 minerals with Mo and Bi11.29%177.23% higher
Lead4 minerals with Mo and Pb6.45%32.46% lower
Aluminium4 minerals with Mo and Al6.45%67.43% lower
Magnesium4 minerals with Mo and Mg6.45%53.03% lower
Niobium3 minerals with Mo and Nb4.84%43.62% higher
Chlorine3 minerals with Mo and Cl4.84%35.62% lower
Potassium2 minerals with Mo and K3.23%66.62% lower
Thorium2 minerals with Mo and Th3.23%263.04% higher
Manganese2 minerals with Mo and Mn3.23%72.03% lower
Tin1 mineral with Mo and Sn1.61%11.99% lower
Osmium1 mineral with Mo and Os1.61%868.10% higher
Rhenium1 mineral with Mo and Re1.61%4,256.45% higher
Tungsten1 mineral with Mo and W1.61%112.51% higher
Tellurium1 mineral with Mo and Te1.61%46.87% lower
Antimony1 mineral with Mo and Sb1.61%67.00% lower
Iridium1 mineral with Mo and Ir1.61%248.52% higher
Ruthenium1 mineral with Mo and Ru1.61%570.22% higher
Silicon1 mineral with Mo and Si1.61%94.18% lower
Mercury1 mineral with Mo and Hg1.61%6.31% lower
Cerium1 mineral with Mo and Ce1.61%51.05% lower
Germanium1 mineral with Mo and Ge1.61%200.44% higher
Vanadium1 mineral with Mo and V1.61%60.93% lower
Nickel1 mineral with Mo and Ni1.61%50.21% lower
Chromium1 mineral with Mo and Cr1.61%2.10% lower
Selenium1 mineral with Mo and Se1.61%30.85% lower
Nitrogen1 mineral with Mo and N1.61%15.41% 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 Mo Relative Frequency
Niobium << Molybdenum >> Technetium

Most widespread minerals containing Molybdenum
This list of minerals containing Molybdenum is built from the 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 Molybdenum mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
FerrimolybditeFe2(MoO4)3 · nH2OOrthorhombic344
Umohoite(UO2)MoO4 · 2H2OTriclinic17

Localities with greatest number of different Molybdenum mineral species
map should go here
1Punta de Su Seinargiu (Su Seinargiu; Su Senargiu), Sarroch, Cagliari metropolitan city (Metropolitan City of Cagliari), Sardinia, Italy12 Mo minerals
2Chuquicamata Mine, Chuquicamata District, Calama, El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile12 Mo minerals
3Kyzylsai Mo-U deposit, Chu-Ili Mts, Almaty Province (Almaty Oblysy; Almati Oblast'), Kazakhstan11 Mo minerals
4Elsmore Tin Mine (Elsmore Tin lodes), Elsmore, Gough Co., New South Wales, Australia8 Mo minerals
5Tsumeb Mine (Tsumcorp Mine), Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region (Oshikoto), Namibia7 Mo minerals
6Old 25 Pipe (Pipe No. 14), Kingsgate, Gough Co., New South Wales, Australia7 Mo minerals
7Rabejac, Lodève, Hérault, Occitanie, France6 Mo minerals
8Allende meteorite (Pueblito de Allende meteorite; Qutrixpileo meteorite [NHM cat.]), Pueblito de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico6 Mo minerals

Important ores of Molybdenum
NameFormulaCrystal System

Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to 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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