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The Mineralogy of Sulfur

General Properties
Symbol:S
Atomic Number:16
Standard atomic weight (Ar):32.065(5)
Electron configuration:[Ne] 3s2 3p4
Photos
<
Sulphur - S8
>
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):2.58
Atomic Radius:88 pm
Ionic Radius:184 pm (-2)
Van der Waals Radius:180 pm
1st Ionization energy:1000 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-200 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-2,-1,1,2,3,4,5,6
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:covalent network
Melting Point:388 K
Boiling Point:718 K
Density:1.96 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:nonmetal
Main isotopes of Sulfur
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
32S95.02%stable
33S0.75%stable
34S4.21%stable
35Ssynthetic87.32dβ−35Cl
36S0.02%stable
Main ions of Sulfur
NameIonExample minerals
sulfur(IV)S4+
sulfur(VI)S6+
sulfideS2-Galena, Sphalerite
disulfideS22-Pyrite, Marcasite
hydrogen sulfate (bisulfate)HSO4-
hydrogen sulfite (bisulfite)HSO3-
sulfateSO42-Gypsum, Baryte, Celestine, Anhydrite
sulfiteSO32-
thiosulfateS2O32-
Other Information
Year Discovered:Ancient
Recognised as an element:1777
Recognised By:
Antoine Lavoisier
Named For:from the Latin word sulphurium: "to burn yellow"
CPK color coding:#FFFF30
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's PeriodicTable.com
Simple Compounds
Nitridestetrasulphur tetranitrideS4N4+3
Fluoridessulfur difluorideSF2+2
disufur difluorideFSSF+1
sulfur hexafluorideSF6+6
sulfur tetrafluorideSF4+4
disulfur decafluorideS2F10+5
sulfur difluoride sulphideSSF2+2,+4
Chloridessulfur dichlorideSCl2+2
disulfur dichlorideClSSCl+1
trisulfur dichlorideS3Cl2+1,+2
sulfur tetrachlorideSCl4+4
Iodidesdisulfur diiodideS2I2
Oxidessulfur dioxideSO2+4
sulfur trioxideSO3+6
disulfur oxideS2O+1
disulfur dioxideS2O2+3
Sulfur as a chromophore in minerals and gems
ChromophoreDescription
S3-Blue colour of lazurite (according to Platonov et al, 1984)
S2-Yellow hues in lazurite - green tones are a combination of S-3 and S-2.
SO4-Ion radical also proposed as a source of blue coloration in lazurite (Samoilovich)
Mineral Diversity of Sulfur
1. Elements 2 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 480 valid mineral species
3. Halides9 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 12 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 13 valid mineral species
6. Borates4 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 339 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates26 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 36 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds4 valid mineral species
Total:925 valid species containing essential Sulfur
Geochemistry of Sulfur
Goldschmidt classification:Chalcophile
S6+ is one of the eight most abundant solutes in average river water.
S6+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
S6+ solute is a macronutrient on land.
S6+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
S2- forms minerals with Cu+.
S2- forms minerals with Ag+.
Elemental Sulfur in Nature
Found as native element:SulphurS8
Elemental Abundance for Sulfur
Crust (CRC Handbook)3.50 x 10-4mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)3.0 x 10-4mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)3.40 x 10-4mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)8.81 x 10-4mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)9.05 x 10-4mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)9.0 x 10-4mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)4.5 x 10-1atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)5.2 x 10-1atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)5.15 x 10-1 (13%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Sulfur in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Sulfur 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 Sulfur and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Sulfur% of S mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen551 minerals with S and O52.33%31.58% lower
Hydrogen446 minerals with S and H42.36%21.37% lower
Copper282 minerals with S and Cu26.78%113.53% higher
Iron239 minerals with S and Fe22.70%0.69% lower
Lead226 minerals with S and Pb21.46%123.86% higher
Antimony158 minerals with S and Sb15.00%205.89% higher
Arsenic155 minerals with S and As14.72%29.03% higher
Aluminium144 minerals with S and Al13.68%31.21% lower
Silver134 minerals with S and Ag12.73%282.62% higher
Sodium132 minerals with S and Na12.54%33.86% lower
Bismuth114 minerals with S and Bi10.83%164.85% higher
Calcium110 minerals with S and Ca10.45%57.60% lower
Potassium101 minerals with S and K9.59%1.11% lower
Chlorine76 minerals with S and Cl7.22%4.32% lower
Zinc76 minerals with S and Zn7.22%34.88% higher
Magnesium71 minerals with S and Mg6.74%51.09% lower
Nickel61 minerals with S and Ni5.79%78.16% higher
Silicon57 minerals with S and Si5.41%80.53% lower
Thallium51 minerals with S and Tl4.84%327.32% higher
Manganese45 minerals with S and Mn4.27%63.08% lower
Mercury44 minerals with S and Hg4.18%141.82% higher
Carbon40 minerals with S and C3.80%48.76% lower
Nitrogen39 minerals with S and N3.70%93.53% higher
Tin37 minerals with S and Sn3.51%91.02% higher
Fluorine36 minerals with S and F3.42%59.02% lower
Uranium35 minerals with S and U3.32%30.66% lower
Tellurium28 minerals with S and Te2.66%12.74% lower
Phosphorus27 minerals with S and P2.56%76.81% lower
Selenium27 minerals with S and Se2.56%9.52% higher
Cobalt26 minerals with S and Co2.47%74.85% higher
Germanium19 minerals with S and Ge1.80%234.87% higher
Platinum18 minerals with S and Pt1.71%100.00% higher
Cadmium17 minerals with S and Cd1.61%221.81% higher
Vanadium17 minerals with S and V1.61%61.04% lower
Chromium15 minerals with S and Cr1.42%13.86% lower
Iridium13 minerals with S and Ir1.23%165.78% higher
Rhodium12 minerals with S and Rh1.14%222.81% higher
Molybdenum11 minerals with S and Mo1.04%9.32% lower
Barium11 minerals with S and Ba1.04%77.51% lower
Indium9 minerals with S and In0.85%228.57% higher
Boron8 minerals with S and B0.76%85.08% lower
Yttrium8 minerals with S and Y0.76%71.00% lower
Gold8 minerals with S and Au0.76%36.30% higher
Palladium8 minerals with S and Pd0.76%43.21% lower
Iodine7 minerals with S and I0.66%43.11% higher
Strontium6 minerals with S and Sr0.57%79.82% lower
Titanium6 minerals with S and Ti0.57%91.76% lower
Cerium5 minerals with S and Ce0.47%85.64% lower
Bromine5 minerals with S and Br0.47%50.33% higher
Tungsten5 minerals with S and W0.47%37.67% lower
Niobium4 minerals with S and Nb0.38%88.77% lower
Ruthenium4 minerals with S and Ru0.38%57.26% higher
Neodymium4 minerals with S and Nd0.38%60.68% lower
Lanthanum3 minerals with S and La0.28%83.33% lower
Gallium3 minerals with S and Ga0.28%119.05% higher
Beryllium3 minerals with S and Be0.28%87.22% lower
Osmium3 minerals with S and Os0.28%70.37% higher
Rhenium2 minerals with S and Re0.19%411.11% higher
Caesium2 minerals with S and Cs0.19%57.41% lower
Zirconium1 mineral with S and Zr0.09%96.07% lower
Gadolinium1 mineral with S and Gd0.09%14.81% lower
Dysprosium1 mineral with S and Dy0.09%27.78% higher
Thorium1 mineral with S and Th0.09%89.35% 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 S Relative Frequency
Phosphorus << Sulfur >> Chlorine


Most widespread minerals containing Sulfur
This list of minerals containing Sulfur 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 Sulfur mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
PyriteFeS2Isometric35796
ChalcopyriteCuFeS2Tetragonal25003
GalenaPbSIsometric22238
SphaleriteZnSIsometric19823
BaryteBaSO4Orthorhombic10872
ArsenopyriteFeAsSMonoclinic8196
PyrrhotiteFe7S8Monoclinic8183
GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2OMonoclinic5970
MolybdeniteMoS2Hexagonal5492
ChalcociteCu2SMonoclinic5308
Photos

Localities with greatest number of different Sulfur mineral species
map should go here
1Clara Mine, Rankach valley, Oberwolfach, Wolfach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany108 S minerals
2Bisbee, Warren District, Mule Mts, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA94 S minerals
3Tsumeb Mine (Tsumcorp Mine), Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region (Oshikoto), Namibia91 S minerals
4Jáchymov (St Joachimsthal), Jáchymov District (St Joachimsthal), Krušné Hory Mts (Erzgebirge), Karlovy Vary Region, Bohemia (Böhmen; Boehmen), Czech Republic87 S minerals
5Lengenbach Quarry, Fäld (Imfeld; Im Feld; Feld), Binn Valley, Wallis (Valais), Switzerland82 S minerals
6Zlatá Baňa, Prešov Co., Prešov Region, Slovakia72 S minerals
Kamariza Mines (Kamareza Mines), Agios Konstantinos [St Constantine] (Kamariza), Lavrion District Mines, Lavrion District (Laurion; Laurium), Attikí Prefecture (Attica; Attika), Greece68 S minerals
8Chuquicamata Mine, Chuquicamata District, Calama, El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile65 S minerals


Important ores of Sulfur
Most sulphur is produced by desulfurization of petroleum products and cleaning of sulfur from smelting smokestack, but some sulfur is produced from roasting pyrite FeS2 and native sulphur is still mined in some parts of the world.
NameFormulaCrystal System
SulphurS8Orthorhombic
PyriteFeS2Isometric
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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