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The Mineralogy of Potassium

General Properties
Atomic Number:19
Standard atomic weight (Ar):39.0983(1)
Electron configuration:[Ar] 4s1
Potassium pearls under paraffin oil
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):0.82
Atomic Radius:243 pm
Ionic Radius:138 pm (+1)
Van der Waals Radius:275 pm
1st Ionization energy:419 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-48 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:1
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:337 K
Boiling Point:1032 K
Density:0.86 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:alkali metal
Main isotopes of Potassium
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Main ions of Potassium
NameIonExample minerals
potassiumK+Sylvite, Niter
Other Information
Year Discovered:1807
Discovered By:
Humphry Davy
Year Isolated:1807
Isolated By:Humphry Davy
Named For:from the English word "potash"
CPK color coding:#8F40D4
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Sulfidesdipotassium sulphideK2S+1
dipotassium disulphideK2S2+1
dipotassium hexasulphideK2S6+1
dipotassium trisulphideK2S3+1
dipotassium pentasulphideK2S5+1
dipotassium tetrasulphideK2S4+1
Selenidesdipotassium selenideK2Se+1
Telluridesdipotassium tellurideK2Te+1
Hydridespotassium hydrideKH+1
Hydroxidespotassium hydroxideKOH+1
Fluoridespotassium fluorideKF+1Carobbiite
Chloridespotassium chlorideKCl+1Sylvite
Iodidespotassium iodideKI+1
Oxidesdipotassium oxideK2O+1
potassium superoxideKO2+1
dipotassium peroxideK2O2+1
Carbonatespotassium carbonateK2CO3+1
Nitratespotassium nitrateKNO3+1Niter
Sulfatespotassium sulfateK2SO4+1
Mineral Diversity of Potassium
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 8 valid mineral species
3. Halides20 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 12 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 9 valid mineral species
6. Borates6 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 52 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates34 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 209 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds2 valid mineral species
Total:352 valid species containing essential Potassium
Geochemistry of Potassium
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
K+ enters later phases in igneous rocks due to its large size.
K+ is one of the eight most abundant solutes in average river water.
K+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
K+ solute is a macronutrient on land.
K+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Elemental Abundance for Potassium
Crust (CRC Handbook)2.09 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)1.7 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)1.8400 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)9.100 x 10-3mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)1.7600 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)1.7000 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.8000 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)2.5700 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)3.99 x 10-4mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)3.9 x 10-4mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)3.7 x 10-3atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)3.8 x 10-3atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)3.77 x 10-3 (7.7%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Potassium in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Potassium 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 Potassium and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Potassium% of K mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen498 minerals with K and O95.40%25.19% higher
Hydrogen357 minerals with K and H68.39%27.42% higher
Silicon316 minerals with K and Si60.54%118.55% higher
Sodium244 minerals with K and Na46.74%147.51% higher
Aluminium195 minerals with K and Al37.36%88.56% higher
Calcium188 minerals with K and Ca36.02%46.70% higher
Iron129 minerals with K and Fe24.71%8.51% higher
Sulfur101 minerals with K and S19.35%0.76% lower
Magnesium96 minerals with K and Mg18.39%33.87% higher
Titanium80 minerals with K and Ti15.33%122.51% higher
Fluorine74 minerals with K and F14.18%70.53% higher
Chlorine66 minerals with K and Cl12.64%68.20% higher
Manganese64 minerals with K and Mn12.26%6.29% higher
Barium49 minerals with K and Ba9.39%102.80% higher
Copper44 minerals with K and Cu8.43%32.55% lower
Niobium41 minerals with K and Nb7.85%133.09% higher
Phosphorus36 minerals with K and P6.90%37.40% lower
Lithium30 minerals with K and Li5.75%156.53% higher
Zirconium26 minerals with K and Zr4.98%106.93% higher
Zinc23 minerals with K and Zn4.41%17.37% lower
Uranium23 minerals with K and U4.41%7.76% lower
Carbon21 minerals with K and C4.02%45.54% lower
Boron21 minerals with K and B4.02%20.70% lower
Strontium20 minerals with K and Sr3.83%36.14% higher
Nitrogen20 minerals with K and N3.83%100.91% higher
Arsenic19 minerals with K and As3.64%67.98% lower
Beryllium16 minerals with K and Be3.07%37.96% higher
Vanadium16 minerals with K and V3.07%25.76% lower
Lead12 minerals with K and Pb2.30%75.94% lower
Yttrium10 minerals with K and Y1.92%26.62% lower
Caesium9 minerals with K and Cs1.72%288.00% higher
Chromium7 minerals with K and Cr1.34%18.62% lower
Tantalum5 minerals with K and Ta0.96%29.13% lower
Cerium5 minerals with K and Ce0.96%70.94% lower
Selenium4 minerals with K and Se0.77%67.15% lower
Thorium4 minerals with K and Th0.77%13.78% lower
Antimony4 minerals with K and Sb0.77%84.32% lower
Tin3 minerals with K and Sn0.57%68.65% lower
Rubidium3 minerals with K and Rb0.57%520.80% higher
Nickel2 minerals with K and Ni0.38%88.18% lower
Molybdenum2 minerals with K and Mo0.38%66.62% lower
Tellurium2 minerals with K and Te0.38%87.38% lower
Bismuth2 minerals with K and Bi0.38%90.59% lower
Tungsten2 minerals with K and W0.38%49.53% lower
Thallium2 minerals with K and Tl0.38%66.08% lower
Iodine2 minerals with K and I0.38%17.23% lower
Cadmium2 minerals with K and Cd0.38%23.36% lower
Scandium1 mineral with K and Sc0.19%35.33% lower
Bromine1 mineral with K and Br0.19%39.14% lower
Lanthanum1 mineral with K and La0.19%88.75% lower
Silver1 mineral with K and Ag0.19%94.22% 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 K Relative Frequency
Argon << Potassium >> Calcium

Most widespread minerals containing Potassium
This list of minerals containing Potassium 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 Potassium mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6Trigonal2075
CarnotiteK2(UO2)2(VO4)2 · 3H2OMonoclinic1184
PharmacosideriteKFe3+4(AsO4)3(OH)4 · 6-7H2OIsometric428

Localities with greatest number of different Potassium mineral species
map should go here
1Poudrette quarry (De-Mix quarry; Demix quarry; Uni-Mix quarry; Carrière Mont Saint-Hilaire; MSH), Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada39 K minerals
2Mt Vesuvius, Somma-Vesuvius Complex, Naples Province, Campania, Italy31 K minerals
Kukisvumchorr Mt, Khibiny Massif, Murmanskaya Oblast', Northern Region, Russia30 K minerals
4Dara-i-Pioz Glacier (Dara-Pioz), Alai Range (Alayskiy), Tien Shan Mtn, Region of Republican Subordination, Tajikistan26 K minerals
5Koashva Open Pit (Vostochnyi Mine), Koashva Mt, Khibiny Massif, Murmanskaya Oblast', Northern Region, Russia24 K minerals
6Caspar quarry, Bellerberg volcano, Ettringen, Mayen, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany23 K minerals
7Yadovitaya fumarole, Second scoria cone, Northern Breakthrough (North Breach), Great Fissure eruption (Main Fracture), Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka Oblast', Far-Eastern Region, Russia20 K minerals
8Arsenatnaya fumarole, Second scoria cone, Northern Breakthrough (North Breach), Great Fissure eruption (Main Fracture), Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka Oblast', Far-Eastern Region, Russia17 K 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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