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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%>1.7×1020yα ?178Hf
183W14.31%>8×1019yα ?179Hf
184W30.64%>1.8×1020yα ?180Hf
186W28.43%>4.1×1018yα ?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 4 valid mineral species
Total:36 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: [Not yet published] Consists of wolframite bearing quartz veins in igneous rocks, primarily granites. I12*
W skarns: [Not yet published] 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
Oxygen113 minerals with W and O86.26%11.57% higher
Hydrogen63 minerals with W and H48.09%10.81% lower
Iron35 minerals with W and Fe26.72%26.26% higher
Calcium24 minerals with W and Ca18.32%22.34% lower
Silicon21 minerals with W and Si16.03%41.24% lower
Manganese20 minerals with W and Mn15.27%42.98% higher
Magnesium16 minerals with W and Mg12.21%4.09% lower
Sulfur15 minerals with W and S11.45%43.27% lower
Lead15 minerals with W and Pb11.45%16.11% higher
Sodium13 minerals with W and Na9.92%46.31% lower
Aluminium13 minerals with W and Al9.92%48.86% lower
Copper12 minerals with W and Cu9.16%27.67% lower
Niobium12 minerals with W and Nb9.16%220.78% higher
Chlorine10 minerals with W and Cl7.63%6.79% higher
Yttrium9 minerals with W and Y6.87%197.96% higher
Carbon9 minerals with W and C6.87%8.43% lower
Zirconium9 minerals with W and Zr6.87%209.87% higher
Cerium8 minerals with W and Ce6.11%115.19% higher
Zinc7 minerals with W and Zn5.34%6.08% higher
Strontium7 minerals with W and Sr5.34%116.74% higher
Germanium6 minerals with W and Ge4.58%682.51% higher
Antimony6 minerals with W and Sb4.58%3.65% lower
Potassium6 minerals with W and K4.58%49.47% lower
Tantalum4 minerals with W and Ta3.05%164.85% higher
Arsenic3 minerals with W and As2.29%80.61% lower
Molybdenum3 minerals with W and Mo2.29%89.87% higher
Tin3 minerals with W and Sn2.29%33.11% higher
Tellurium3 minerals with W and Te2.29%24.49% lower
Caesium3 minerals with W and Cs2.29%416.46% higher
Vanadium3 minerals with W and V2.29%47.08% lower
Titanium3 minerals with W and Ti2.29%65.38% lower
Bismuth3 minerals with W and Bi2.29%44.35% lower
Uranium3 minerals with W and U2.29%54.38% lower
Fluorine2 minerals with W and F1.53%79.70% lower
Iodine2 minerals with W and I1.53%186.92% higher
Phosphorus2 minerals with W and P1.53%86.51% lower
Dysprosium2 minerals with W and Dy1.53%4,203.82% higher
Boron2 minerals with W and B1.53%69.58% lower
Lanthanum1 mineral with W and La0.76%30.58% lower
Barium1 mineral with W and Ba0.76%82.72% lower
Neodymium1 mineral with W and Nd0.76%34.49% 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

Localities with greatest number of different Tungsten mineral species
map should go here
2Clara Mine, Oberwolfach, Wolfach, Ortenaukreis, Freiburg Region, Baden-Württemberg, Germany14 W minerals
4La Grange Mine, Meymac, Ussel, Corrèze, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France9 W minerals
7Hingston Down Quarry, Gunnislake, Calstock, Cornwall, England, UK8 W minerals
8Kara-Oba W deposit, Betpakdala Desert (Bet-Pak-Dal Desert), Karazhal, Karaganda Region, Kazakhstan8 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+)WO4to (Mn2+)WO4Monoclinic

Other significant minerals containing Tungsten
NameFormulaCrystal System
Significant Deposits
1Upper Kayrakty W-Mo-Bi deposit (Verkhnee-Kayrakty), Kayrakty (Kairakty), Shet, Karaganda Region, Kazakhstan
Scheelite-bearing vein/stockwork deposit, largest proven tungsten deposit in the world.
2Panasqueira Mines, Covilhã, Castelo Branco, Portugal
This deposit has 590,000 tonnes of proven reserves of tungsten.
3Shizhuyuan Mine, Dongpo ore field, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou, Hunan, China
The largest tungsten deposit in China with 705,000 tonnes proven reserves.
4Drakelands Mine (Hemerdon Mine; Hemerdon Bal Mine; Hemerdon Ball Mine), Plympton, Plymouth, Devon, England, UK
11km NE of Plymouth in Devon, England, it hosts the 4th largest tin-tungsten deposit in the world (318,000 tonnes proven reserves.)

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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