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The Mineralogy of Nitrogen

General Properties
Atomic Number:7
Standard atomic weight (Ar):14.0067(2)
Electron configuration:[He] 2s2 2p3
Vial of glowing ultrapure nitrogen
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):3.04
Atomic Radius:56 pm
Ionic Radius:146 pm (-3)
Van der Waals Radius:155 pm
1st Ionization energy:1402 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-7 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-3,-2,-1,1,2,3,4,5
Physical Properties
Standard State:gas
Bonding Type:diatomic
Melting Point:63 K
Boiling Point:77 K
Main isotopes of Nitrogen
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Main ions of Nitrogen
NameIonExample minerals
ammoniumNH4+Salammoniac, Teschemacherite
nitrideN3-Osbornite, Siderazot
nitrateNO3-Niter, Nitratine, Nitrocalcite
Other Information
Year Discovered:1772
Discovered By:
Daniel Rutherford
Named For:from the Greek: nitron - "sodium carbonate" and -genes - "producer"
CPK color coding:#3050F8
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's PeriodicTable.com
Simple Compounds
Fluoridesnitrogen trifluorideNF3+3
dinitrogen tetrafluorideN2F4+2
Chloridesnitrogen trichlorideNCl3+3
Iodidesnitrogen triiodideNI3+3
Oxidesnitrous oxideN2O+1
nitrogen dioxideNO2+4
nitrogen monoxideNO+2
dinitrogen trioxideN2O3+3
dinitrogen tetraoxideN2O4+4
dinitrogen pentoxideN2O5+5
Mineral Diversity of Nitrogen
1. Elements 6 valid mineral species
3. Halides13 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 1 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 13 valid mineral species
6. Borates2 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 25 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates14 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 5 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds8 valid mineral species
Total:87 valid species containing essential Nitrogen
Geochemistry of Nitrogen
Goldschmidt classification:Atmophile
N5+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
N3- solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
N5+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the oceans.
N5+ solute is a macronutrient on land.
Elemental Abundance for Nitrogen
Crust (CRC Handbook)1.9 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)2.0 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)1.9 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)5 x 10-7mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)1.6 x 10-5mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Atmosphere (NASA)78.084%as N2
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)3.1 x 100atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)3.1 x 100atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)3.13 x 100atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Nitrogen in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Nitrogen 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 Nitrogen and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Nitrogen% of N mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Hydrogen309 minerals with N and H91.15%63.62% higher
Oxygen295 minerals with N and O87.02%8.94% higher
Sulfur131 minerals with N and S38.64%85.30% higher
Chlorine61 minerals with N and Cl17.99%143.66% higher
Aluminium55 minerals with N and Al16.22%19.07% lower
Iron53 minerals with N and Fe15.63%28.49% lower
Sodium50 minerals with N and Na14.75%22.76% lower
Carbon47 minerals with N and C13.86%78.86% higher
Potassium44 minerals with N and K12.98%38.61% higher
Phosphorus43 minerals with N and P12.68%8.49% higher
Copper32 minerals with N and Cu9.44%27.86% lower
Magnesium30 minerals with N and Mg8.85%32.74% lower
Silicon30 minerals with N and Si8.85%68.60% lower
Uranium21 minerals with N and U6.19%19.45% higher
Calcium20 minerals with N and Ca5.90%75.79% lower
Nickel15 minerals with N and Ni4.42%43.73% higher
Arsenic13 minerals with N and As3.83%68.58% lower
Mercury12 minerals with N and Hg3.54%95.12% higher
Boron12 minerals with N and B3.54%31.74% lower
Fluorine12 minerals with N and F3.54%54.44% lower
Vanadium12 minerals with N and V3.54%20.83% lower
Lead8 minerals with N and Pb2.36%76.84% lower
Bromine6 minerals with N and Br1.77%543.89% higher
Bismuth5 minerals with N and Bi1.47%65.31% lower
Manganese5 minerals with N and Mn1.47%86.63% lower
Antimony3 minerals with N and Sb0.88%81.98% lower
Tin3 minerals with N and Sn0.88%50.21% lower
Barium3 minerals with N and Ba0.88%80.61% lower
Titanium3 minerals with N and Ti0.88%87.05% lower
Molybdenum3 minerals with N and Mo0.88%28.98% lower
Cobalt3 minerals with N and Co0.88%31.01% lower
Chromium3 minerals with N and Cr0.88%50.21% lower
Zinc2 minerals with N and Zn0.59%88.66% 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 N Relative Frequency
Carbon << Nitrogen >> Oxygen

Most widespread minerals containing Nitrogen
This list of minerals containing Nitrogen 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 Nitrogen mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities

Localities with greatest number of different Nitrogen mineral species
map should go here
2Anna Mine, Alsdorf, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany21 N minerals
4La Fossa crater, Vulcano Island, Lipari, Eolie Islands (Aeolian Islands), Messina Province, Sicily, Italy18 N minerals
6Pécs-Vasas, Pécs, Mecsek Mts, Baranya, Hungary17 N minerals
Marcel mine, Radlin, Rybnik Coal Area, Upper Silesian Coal Basin, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland15 N minerals
8Huron Shale burn site, Huron River, Huron Co., Ohio, USA13 N minerals

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)
Mineral and/or Locality  
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