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The Mineralogy of Phosphorus

General Properties
Atomic Number:15
Standard atomic weight (Ar):30.973762(2)
Electron configuration:[Ne] 3s2 3p3
Two pieces of ultrapure purple phosphorus
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):2.19
Atomic Radius:98 pm
Ionic Radius:44 pm (+3)
Van der Waals Radius:180 pm
1st Ionization energy:1012 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-72 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-3,-2,-1,1,2,3,4,5
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:covalent network
Melting Point:317 K
Boiling Point:554 K
Density:1.82 g/cm3
Main isotopes of Phosphorus
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Main ions of Phosphorus
NameIonExample minerals
phosphatePO43-Apatite, Pyromorphite, Turquoise
Other Information
Year Discovered:1669
Discovered By:
Hennig Brand
Recognised as an element:1777
Recognised By:
Antoine Lavoisier
Named For:from the Greek words "light" and "carry"
CPK color coding:#FF8000
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds
Sulfidestetraphosphorus trisulphideP4S3
tetraphosphorus decasulphideP4S10+5
tetraphosphorus hexasulphideP4S6
tetraphosphorus nonasulphideP4S9
tetraphosphorus pentasulphide(alpha)P4S5
tetraphosphorus heptasulphideP4S7
tetraphosphorus tetrasulphideP4S4+2
Selenidestetraphosphorus triselenideP4Se3
diphosphorus tetrahydrideP2H4+2
Fluoridesphosphorus trifluoridePF3+3
phosphorus pentafluoridePF5+5
diphosphorus tetrafluorideP2F4+2
Chloridesphosphorus trichloridePCl3+3
phosphorus pentachloridePCl5+5
diphosphorus tetrachlorideP2Cl4+2
Bromidesphosphorus pentabromidePBr5+5
diphosphorus tetrabromideP2Br4+2
Iodidesphosphorus triiodidePI3+3
diphosphorus tetraiodideP2I4+2
Oxidesdiphosphorus pentaoxideP2O5+5
tetraphosphorus decaoxideP4O10+5
tetraphosphorus hexaoxideP4O6+3
Mineral Diversity of Phosphorus
1. Elements 9 valid mineral species
3. Halides1 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 5 valid mineral species
6. Borates2 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 4 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates499 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 17 valid mineral species
Total:537 valid species containing essential Phosphorus
Geochemistry of Phosphorus
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
P5+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
P5+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the oceans.
P5+ solute is a macronutrient on land.
Elemental Abundance for Phosphorus
Crust (CRC Handbook)1.05 x 10-3mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)1.0 x 10-3mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)1.120 x 10-3mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)7.63 x 10-4mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)8.30 x 10-4mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)6 x 10-8mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)8.8 x 10-8mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)8.0 x 10-3atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)1.0 x 10-2atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)1.04 x 10-2 (10%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Phosphorus in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Phosphorus 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 Phosphorus and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Phosphorus% of P mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen1827 minerals with P and O97.65%25.56% higher
Hydrogen1438 minerals with P and H76.86%41.71% higher
Iron661 minerals with P and Fe35.33%65.98% higher
Calcium583 minerals with P and Ca31.16%31.32% higher
Aluminium531 minerals with P and Al28.38%45.40% higher
Sodium441 minerals with P and Na23.57%26.79% higher
Manganese363 minerals with P and Mn19.40%80.64% higher
Magnesium315 minerals with P and Mg16.84%31.43% higher
Fluorine226 minerals with P and F12.08%59.68% higher
Uranium156 minerals with P and U8.34%65.14% higher
Barium123 minerals with P and Ba6.57%47.98% higher
Silicon121 minerals with P and Si6.47%76.43% lower
Copper116 minerals with P and Cu6.20%51.33% lower
Potassium106 minerals with P and K5.67%37.86% lower
Zinc99 minerals with P and Zn5.29%4.43% higher
Beryllium92 minerals with P and Be4.92%127.77% higher
Lead87 minerals with P and Pb4.65%53.12% lower
Strontium78 minerals with P and Sr4.17%68.11% higher
Sulfur71 minerals with P and S3.79%81.31% lower
Lithium66 minerals with P and Li3.53%74.97% higher
Carbon66 minerals with P and C3.53%53.26% lower
Cerium64 minerals with P and Ce3.42%19.83% higher
Titanium53 minerals with P and Ti2.83%57.43% lower
Nitrogen43 minerals with P and N2.30%9.17% higher
Yttrium41 minerals with P and Y2.19%5.52% lower
Vanadium36 minerals with P and V1.92%55.80% lower
Nickel36 minerals with P and Ni1.92%35.81% lower
Bismuth35 minerals with P and Bi1.87%54.81% lower
Chlorine31 minerals with P and Cl1.66%76.96% lower
Zirconium30 minerals with P and Zr1.60%28.10% lower
Thorium30 minerals with P and Th1.60%130.44% higher
Lanthanum28 minerals with P and La1.50%35.29% higher
Neodymium21 minerals with P and Nd1.12%96.59% higher
Arsenic21 minerals with P and As1.12%90.55% lower
Molybdenum19 minerals with P and Mo1.02%16.30% lower
Niobium18 minerals with P and Nb0.96%66.51% lower
Boron17 minerals with P and B0.91%82.00% lower
Scandium11 minerals with P and Sc0.59%73.44% higher
Chromium10 minerals with P and Cr0.53%69.12% lower
Samarium7 minerals with P and Sm0.37%948.50% higher
Tantalum6 minerals with P and Ta0.32%72.35% lower
Cadmium6 minerals with P and Cd0.32%33.43% lower
Ytterbium3 minerals with P and Yb0.16%124.68% higher
Caesium3 minerals with P and Cs0.16%64.05% lower
Tellurium3 minerals with P and Te0.16%94.74% lower
Mercury3 minerals with P and Hg0.16%90.92% lower
Germanium3 minerals with P and Ge0.16%72.77% lower
Gallium3 minerals with P and Ga0.16%28.39% higher
Cobalt3 minerals with P and Co0.16%87.16% lower
Iodine2 minerals with P and I0.11%80.03% lower
Tungsten2 minerals with P and W0.11%86.69% lower
Praseodymium1 mineral with P and Pr0.05%49.79% higher
Gadolinium1 mineral with P and Gd0.05%199.57% higher
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 P Relative Frequency
Silicon << Phosphorus >> Sulfur

Most widespread minerals containing Phosphorus
This list of minerals containing Phosphorus 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 Phosphorus mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
AutuniteCa(UO2)2(PO4)2 · 10-12H2OOrthorhombic1306

Localities with greatest number of different Phosphorus mineral species
map should go here
4Hagendorf South Pegmatite (Cornelia Shaft; Hagendorf South Open Cut), Hagendorf, Waidhaus, Neustadt an der Waldnaab District, Upper Palatinate, Bavaria, Germany94 P minerals
3Palermo No. 1 Mine (Palermo No. 1 pegmatite; Hartford Mine; GE Mine), Groton, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, USA95 P minerals
5Foote Lithium Co. Mine (Foote Mine), Kings Mountain Mining District, Cleveland Co., North Carolina, USA73 P minerals
7Tip Top Mine (Tip Top pegmatite), Fourmile, Custer Mining District, Custer Co., South Dakota, USA72 P minerals
8Sapucaia mine (Proberil mine; Proberil claim), Sapucaia do Norte, Galiléia, Minas Gerais, Brazil67 P minerals

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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