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The Mineralogy of Silicon

General Properties
Atomic Number:14
Standard atomic weight (Ar):28.0855(3)
Electron configuration:[Ne] 3s2 3p2
Ultrapure silicon chunks
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.9
Atomic Radius:111 pm
Ionic Radius:40 pm (+4)
Van der Waals Radius:210 pm
1st Ionization energy:787 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-134 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-4,-3,-2,-1,1,2,3,4
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:1687 K
Boiling Point:3173 K
Density:2.33 g/cm3
Main isotopes of Silicon
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Other Information
Year Discovered:1854
Discovered By:
Jacob Berzelius
Year Predicted:1787
Named For:From the Latin silex, silicis for flint.
CPK color coding:#F0C8A0
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's PeriodicTable.com
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Nitridestrisilicon tetranitrideSi3N4+4Nierite
Sulfidessilicon sulphideSiS2+4
disilicon hexahydrideSi2H6+3
Fluoridessilicon tetrafluorideSiF4+4
Chloridessilicon tetrachlorideSiCl4+4
Iodidessilicon tetraiodideSiI4+4
Oxidessilicon oxideSiO2+4Quartz, Coesite, Cristobalite, Mogánite, Seifertite, Stishovite, Tridymite
Mineral Diversity of Silicon
1. Elements 15 valid mineral species
3. Halides8 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 14 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 2 valid mineral species
6. Borates3 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 7 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates14 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 1254 valid mineral species
Total:1317 valid species containing essential Silicon
Geochemistry of Silicon
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
Si4+ was one of the ions least depleted from the mantle in the formation of the crust.
Si4+ enters early-forming phases in igneous rocks.
Si4+ is commonly concentrated in residual soils and sediments.
Si4+ is one of the eight most abundant solutes in average river water.
Si4+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the oceans.
Si4+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Elemental Silicon in Nature
Found as native element:SiliconSi
Elemental Abundance for Silicon
Crust (CRC Handbook)2.82 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)2.7 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)2.72000 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.677 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)2.81 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)2.95 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)3.08 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)3.04 x 10-1mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)2.2 x 10-6mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)2.9 x 10-6mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)1.0 x 100atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)1.0 x 100atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)1.0 x 100 (4.4%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Silicon in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Silicon 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 Silicon and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Silicon% of Si mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen4506 minerals with Si and O98.56%23.38% higher
Hydrogen3032 minerals with Si and H66.32%19.04% higher
Calcium1999 minerals with Si and Ca43.72%79.39% higher
Aluminium1793 minerals with Si and Al39.22%95.62% higher
Sodium1742 minerals with Si and Na38.10%99.54% higher
Iron1173 minerals with Si and Fe25.66%17.36% higher
Magnesium943 minerals with Si and Mg20.63%56.76% higher
Potassium908 minerals with Si and K19.86%112.09% higher
Manganese825 minerals with Si and Mn18.04%63.57% higher
Titanium692 minerals with Si and Ti15.14%121.43% higher
Fluorine651 minerals with Si and F14.24%83.26% higher
Barium428 minerals with Si and Ba9.36%105.16% higher
Boron352 minerals with Si and B7.70%48.46% higher
Chlorine286 minerals with Si and Cl6.26%15.30% lower
Zirconium282 minerals with Si and Zr6.17%169.27% higher
Lithium250 minerals with Si and Li5.47%164.06% higher
Niobium238 minerals with Si and Nb5.21%76.44% higher
Cerium233 minerals with Si and Ce5.10%73.81% higher
Beryllium209 minerals with Si and Be4.57%106.16% higher
Strontium191 minerals with Si and Sr4.18%64.01% higher
Carbon180 minerals with Si and C3.94%49.21% lower
Sulfur177 minerals with Si and S3.87%81.44% lower
Yttrium176 minerals with Si and Y3.85%61.59% higher
Zinc154 minerals with Si and Zn3.37%35.28% lower
Lead143 minerals with Si and Pb3.13%69.30% lower
Vanadium121 minerals with Si and V2.65%40.81% lower
Phosphorus121 minerals with Si and P2.65%77.36% lower
Copper116 minerals with Si and Cu2.54%80.61% lower
Lanthanum92 minerals with Si and La2.01%77.11% higher
Arsenic71 minerals with Si and As1.55%87.28% lower
Uranium64 minerals with Si and U1.40%73.01% lower
Thorium57 minerals with Si and Th1.25%74.44% higher
Chromium56 minerals with Si and Cr1.22%31.09% lower
Caesium41 minerals with Si and Cs0.90%95.75% higher
Tin40 minerals with Si and Sn0.87%50.78% lower
Nitrogen30 minerals with Si and N0.66%69.66% lower
Nickel30 minerals with Si and Ni0.66%78.69% lower
Neodymium27 minerals with Si and Nd0.59%0.71% higher
Scandium26 minerals with Si and Sc0.57%63.33% higher
Antimony22 minerals with Si and Sb0.48%90.20% lower
Tungsten21 minerals with Si and W0.46%44.30% lower
Bismuth9 minerals with Si and Bi0.20%95.37% lower
Ytterbium8 minerals with Si and Yb0.17%138.71% higher
Rubidium7 minerals with Si and Rb0.15%178.50% higher
Tantalum6 minerals with Si and Ta0.13%88.98% lower
Tellurium3 minerals with Si and Te0.07%97.91% lower
Hafnium3 minerals with Si and Hf0.07%258.07% higher
Gadolinium3 minerals with Si and Gd0.07%258.07% higher
Mercury3 minerals with Si and Hg0.07%96.38% lower
Dysprosium3 minerals with Si and Dy0.07%79.04% higher
Cobalt3 minerals with Si and Co0.07%94.88% lower
Germanium3 minerals with Si and Ge0.07%89.15% lower
Molybdenum3 minerals with Si and Mo0.07%94.73% lower
Palladium3 minerals with Si and Pd0.07%94.96% lower
Praseodymium1 mineral with Si and Pr0.02%40.32% 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 Si Relative Frequency
Aluminium << Silicon >> Phosphorus

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

Localities with greatest number of different Silicon mineral species
map should go here
2Poudrette quarry (De-Mix quarry; Demix quarry; Uni-Mix quarry; Carrière Mont Saint-Hilaire; MSH), Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada221 Si minerals
6Långban, Filipstad, Värmland, Sweden112 Si minerals
5Caspar quarry, Bellerberg volcano, Ettringen, Mayen, Mayen-Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany115 Si minerals
7Dara-i-Pioz Glacier (Dara-Pioz), Alai Range (Alayskiy), Tien Shan Mtn, Districts of Republican Subordination, Tajikistan108 Si minerals
Ilímaussaq complex, Narsaq, Kujalleq, Greenland, Denmark106 Si minerals

Important ores of Silicon
High quality silica (quartz) is to produce silicon metal by reacting it with wood, charcoal and coal in an electric arc furnace at temperatures over 1,900 °C.

The reaction is: SiO2 + 2C -> Si + 2CO
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)
Mineral and/or Locality  
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