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The Mineralogy of Silicon

General Properties
Symbol:Si
Atomic Number:14
Standard atomic weight (Ar):28.0855(3)
Electron configuration:[Ne] 3s2 3p2
Photos
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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
Metal/Non-Metal:metalloid
Main isotopes of Silicon
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
28Si92.23%stable
29Si4.67%stable
30Si3.1%stable
32Sitrace153yβ−32P
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
HydridessilaneSiH4+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. Borates4 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 7 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates14 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 1226 valid mineral species
Total:1290 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
Oxygen1474 minerals with Si and O98.53%27.49% higher
Hydrogen1014 minerals with Si and H67.78%24.53% higher
Calcium669 minerals with Si and Ca44.72%79.62% higher
Aluminium605 minerals with Si and Al40.44%101.30% higher
Sodium590 minerals with Si and Na39.44%105.93% higher
Iron413 minerals with Si and Fe27.61%19.54% higher
Magnesium325 minerals with Si and Mg21.72%55.94% higher
Potassium316 minerals with Si and K21.12%115.52% higher
Manganese285 minerals with Si and Mn19.05%62.86% higher
Fluorine237 minerals with Si and F15.84%87.92% higher
Titanium232 minerals with Si and Ti15.51%122.03% higher
Barium142 minerals with Si and Ba9.49%102.22% higher
Boron114 minerals with Si and B7.62%48.12% higher
Chlorine108 minerals with Si and Cl7.22%5.30% lower
Zirconium96 minerals with Si and Zr6.42%162.90% higher
Lithium88 minerals with Si and Li5.88%158.92% higher
Niobium86 minerals with Si and Nb5.75%68.23% higher
Cerium79 minerals with Si and Ce5.28%58.01% higher
Beryllium71 minerals with Si and Be4.75%110.64% higher
Strontium67 minerals with Si and Sr4.48%56.93% higher
Yttrium60 minerals with Si and Y4.01%51.50% higher
Carbon58 minerals with Si and C3.88%48.25% lower
Sulfur57 minerals with Si and S3.81%80.73% lower
Zinc54 minerals with Si and Zn3.61%33.25% lower
Lead45 minerals with Si and Pb3.01%68.95% lower
Vanadium39 minerals with Si and V2.61%37.74% lower
Phosphorus39 minerals with Si and P2.61%76.66% lower
Copper38 minerals with Si and Cu2.54%79.96% lower
Lanthanum36 minerals with Si and La2.41%39.31% higher
Arsenic23 minerals with Si and As1.54%86.66% lower
Uranium22 minerals with Si and U1.47%69.64% lower
Thorium21 minerals with Si and Th1.40%55.76% higher
Chromium18 minerals with Si and Cr1.20%28.00% lower
Tin14 minerals with Si and Sn0.94%49.65% lower
Caesium13 minerals with Si and Cs0.87%92.84% higher
Neodymium11 minerals with Si and Nd0.74%24.69% lower
Nitrogen10 minerals with Si and N0.67%65.44% lower
Nickel10 minerals with Si and Ni0.67%79.66% lower
Scandium8 minerals with Si and Sc0.53%78.01% higher
Antimony8 minerals with Si and Sb0.53%89.21% lower
Tungsten5 minerals with Si and W0.33%56.58% lower
Ytterbium4 minerals with Si and Yb0.27%137.34% higher
Rubidium3 minerals with Si and Rb0.20%113.61% higher
Bismuth3 minerals with Si and Bi0.20%95.15% lower
Tantalum2 minerals with Si and Ta0.13%90.25% lower
Tellurium1 mineral with Si and Te0.07%97.83% lower
Molybdenum1 mineral with Si and Mo0.07%94.26% lower
Palladium1 mineral with Si and Pd0.07%95.06% lower
Germanium1 mineral with Si and Ge0.07%87.72% lower
Cobalt1 mineral with Si and Co0.07%95.32% lower
Praseodymium1 mineral with Si and Pr0.07%78.01% higher
Gadolinium1 mineral with Si and Gd0.07%40.66% lower
Hafnium1 mineral with Si and Hf0.07%256.02% higher
Dysprosium1 mineral with Si and Dy0.07%11.00% lower
Mercury1 mineral with Si and Hg0.07%96.17% 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
QuartzSiO2Trigonal49964
MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2Monoclinic9159
Epidote{Ca2}{Al2Fe3+}(Si2O7)(SiO4)O(OH)Monoclinic7520
AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)Triclinic6970
ZirconZr(SiO4)Tetragonal4553
MicroclineK(AlSi3O8)Triclinic4468
KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4Triclinic4459
TitaniteCaTi(SiO4)OMonoclinic4427
BerylBe3Al2(Si6O18)Hexagonal3657
DiopsideCaMgSi2O6Monoclinic3607
Photos

Localities with greatest number of different Silicon mineral species
map should go here
1Poudrette quarry (Demix quarry; Uni-Mix quarry; Desourdy quarry; Carrière Mont Saint-Hilaire; MSH), Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada221 Si minerals
2Caspar quarry, Bellerberg volcano, Ettringen, Mayen, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany115 Si minerals
3Långban, Filipstad, Värmland, Sweden112 Si minerals
Ilímaussaq complex, Narsaq, Kujalleq, Greenland102 Si minerals
5Darai-Pioz Glacier (Dara-i-Pioz; Dara-Pioz), Alai Range (Alayskiy), Tien Shan Mtn, Region of Republican Subordination, Tajikistan99 Si minerals
6Franklin Mine, Franklin, Franklin Mining District, Sussex Co., New Jersey, USA93 Si minerals
Aldan Shield, Sakha Republic (Saha Republic; Yakutia), Eastern-Siberian Region, Russia90 Si minerals
Kukisvumchorr Mt, Khibiny Massif, Kola Peninsula, Murmanskaja Oblast', Northern Region, Russia85 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
QuartzSiO2Trigonal
Photos


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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