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The Mineralogy of Tungsten

About Tungsten
Tungsten (or wolfram) is a hard, brittle metal under standard conditions. It has the highest melting point (3422 °C, 6192 °F) of any metal and the highest tensile strength.

alpha-tungsten, the most stable form, has a body-centered cubic structure. beta-tungsten has an A15 cubic structure.
General Properties
Other names:Historically known as wolfram, especially in Europe.
Atomic Number:74
Standard atomic weight (Ar):183.84(1)
Electron configuration:[Xe] 4f14 5d4 6s2
Tungsten rods with evaporated crystals
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):2.36
Atomic Radius:193 pm
Ionic Radius:66 pm (+4)
1st Ionization energy:770 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-79 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-2,-1,1,2,3,4,5,6
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:3695 K
Boiling Point:5828 K
Density:19.25 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:transition metal
Main isotopes of Tungsten
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
182W26.50%>1.7x1020yα ?178Hf
183W14.31%>8x1019yα ?179Hf
184W30.64%>1.8x1020yα ?180Hf
186W28.43%>4.1x1018yα ?182Hf
β-β- ?186Os
Main ions of Tungsten
NameIonExample minerals
tungsten(VI)W6+Ferberite, Hübnerite
tungstate[WO4]2-Scheelite, Stolzite
Other Information
Year Discovered:1781
Discovered By:
Carl Wilhelm Scheele
Year Isolated:1783
Isolated By:
Juan José Elhuyar
Fausto Elhuyar

Juan José Elhuyar and Fausto Elhuyar
Named For:From the Swedish and Danish: "tung sten" - "heavy stone"
CPK color coding:#2194D6
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Sulfidestungsten (IV) sulphideWS2+4Tungstenite
tungsten (VI) sulphideWS3+6
Selenidestungsten (IV) selenideWSe2+4
Telluridestungsten (IV) tellurideWTe2+4
Fluoridestungsten (VI) fluorideWF6+6
tungsten (IV) fluorideWF4+4
tetratungsten eicosafluoride[WF5]4+5
Chloridestungsten (II) chlorideWCl2+2
tungsten (VI) chlorideWCl6+6
tungsten (IV) chlorideWCl4+4
ditungsten decachloride[WCl5]2+5
tungsten trichloride [W6Cl12]Cl6+3
Bromidestungsten (III) bromideWBr3+3
tungsten (VI) bromideWBr6+6
tungsten (IV) bromideWBr4+4
tungsten pentabromideWBr5+5
hexatungsten tetradecabromideW6Br14
Iodidestungsten (II) iodideWI2+2
tungsten (III) iodideWI3+3
tungsten (IV) iodideWI4+4
Oxidestungsten (IV) oxideWO2+4
tungsten (VI) oxideWO3+6Krasnogorite
tungsten (VI) oxide monohydrateWO3 · H2O+6Tungstite
tungsten (VI) oxide dihydrateWO3 · 2H2O+6Meymacite, Hydrotungstite
Mineral Diversity of Tungsten
1. Elements 2 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 4 valid mineral species
3. Halides1 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 16 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 9 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 3 valid mineral species
Total:35 valid species containing essential Tungsten
Geochemistry of Tungsten
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
W4+ is enriched in Ca-Al-rich inclusions in meteorites relative to the composition of the solar system.
Elemental Abundance for Tungsten
Crust (CRC Handbook)1.25 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)1.0 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)1.2 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.000 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)1.310 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.000 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)1 x 10-10mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)< 1 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)3.6 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)1.3 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)1.33 x 10-7 (5.1%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Deposit Models
W veins: Consists of wolframite bearing quartz veins in igneous rocks, primarily granites. I12*
W skarns: Consists primarily of scheelite in contact metamorphic rocks. Usually in rocks that were originally an impure limestone that were intruded by granitic rocks. Ore body shapes are stratiform, tabular and lens-like. K05
W porphyry: Stockworks of scheelite and/or wolframite in quartz veins and veinlets in felsic intrusive rocks and associated rocks. L07

Sn-Ag veins H07
Turbidite-hosted Au veins I03
Sn veins and greisens I13*
Cu skarns K01
Pb-Zn skarns K02
Sn skarns K06
Mo skarns K07
Porphry Mo (Low-F-Type) L05
Porphyry Sn L06
Porphyry Mo (Climax-type) L08

wolframite* Surficial placers
Element association of Tungsten in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Tungsten 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 Tungsten and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Tungsten% of W mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen35 minerals with W and O85.37%12.04% higher
Hydrogen19 minerals with W and H46.34%13.65% lower
Iron11 minerals with W and Fe26.83%17.83% higher
Calcium8 minerals with W and Ca19.51%20.51% lower
Manganese8 minerals with W and Mn19.51%69.19% higher
Lead5 minerals with W and Pb12.20%27.67% higher
Sodium5 minerals with W and Na12.20%35.41% lower
Silicon5 minerals with W and Si12.20%55.96% lower
Sulfur5 minerals with W and S12.20%37.44% lower
Niobium4 minerals with W and Nb9.76%189.57% higher
Copper4 minerals with W and Cu9.76%21.92% lower
Chlorine4 minerals with W and Cl9.76%29.81% higher
Magnesium4 minerals with W and Mg9.76%28.97% lower
Zinc3 minerals with W and Zn7.32%37.25% higher
Zirconium3 minerals with W and Zr7.32%204.05% higher
Aluminium3 minerals with W and Al7.32%63.06% lower
Yttrium3 minerals with W and Y7.32%180.33% higher
Strontium3 minerals with W and Sr7.32%160.04% higher
Carbon3 minerals with W and C7.32%0.94% lower
Tantalum2 minerals with W and Ta4.88%260.98% higher
Cerium2 minerals with W and Ce4.88%48.04% higher
Antimony2 minerals with W and Sb4.88%0.18% lower
Potassium2 minerals with W and K4.88%49.52% lower
Germanium2 minerals with W and Ge4.88%808.66% higher
Molybdenum1 mineral with W and Mo2.44%112.51% higher
Arsenic1 mineral with W and As2.44%78.54% lower
Tellurium1 mineral with W and Te2.44%19.66% lower
Caesium1 mineral with W and Cs2.44%448.98% higher
Barium1 mineral with W and Ba2.44%47.30% lower
Lanthanum1 mineral with W and La2.44%43.21% higher
Neodymium1 mineral with W and Nd2.44%153.38% higher
Vanadium1 mineral with W and V2.44%40.92% lower
Titanium1 mineral with W and Ti2.44%64.58% lower
Bismuth1 mineral with W and Bi2.44%40.11% lower
Uranium1 mineral with W and U2.44%48.93% lower
Tin1 mineral with W and Sn2.44%33.09% 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 W Relative Frequency
Tantalum << Tungsten >> Rhenium

Most widespread minerals containing Tungsten
This list of minerals containing Tungsten 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 Tungsten mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
TungstiteWO3 · H2OOrthorhombic109

Localities with greatest number of different Tungsten mineral species
map should go here
1Clara Mine, Rankach valley, Oberwolfach, Wolfach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany14 W minerals
2La Grange Mine, Meymac, Corrèze, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France9 W minerals
3Hingston Down Quarry, Gunnislake, Calstock, Callington District, Cornwall, England, UK8 W minerals
4Kara-Oba W deposit, Betpakdala Desert (Bet-Pak-Dal Desert), Karagandy Province (Qaragandy Oblysy; Karaganda Oblast'), Kazakhstan8 W minerals
5Flo property (Kalzas property), Kalzas Mt, Mayo, Mayo Mining District, Yukon, Canada6 W minerals
6Erongo Mountain, Erongo Region, Namibia6 W minerals
7Gifurwe Mines, Gifurwe sector, Cyeru Commune, Northern Province, Rwanda6 W minerals
8Les Montmins Mine (Ste Barbe vein), Échassières, Ébreuil, Allier, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France5 W minerals

Important ores of Tungsten
The primary ore of tungsten is wolframite, which is a series between two mineral species, ferberite, the iron tungsten oxide, and hübnerite, the manganese tungsten oxide.

Deposits of wolframite are generally from magmatic or hydrothermal origin. Concentration of workable ores is usually between 0.3% and 1.0% WO3.

Scheelite, another important ore or tungsten, is a calcium tungstate and can be found in contact metamorphic skarns, high-temperature hydrothermal veins/greisens and occasionally in granitic pegmatites.
NameFormulaCrystal System
Wolframite(Fe2+)WO4 to (Mn2+)WO4Monoclinic

Other significant minerals containing Tungsten
NameFormulaCrystal System
Significant Deposits
map should go here

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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