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Diopside

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Formula:
CaMgSi2O6
Colour:
light to dark green, blue, brown, colourless, snow white, grey
Lustre:
Vitreous, Dull
Hardness:
5½ - 6½
Specific Gravity:
3.22 - 3.38
Crystal System:
Monoclinic
Name:
Named in 1806 by Rene Just Haüy From the Greek διζ- for "double" and οψτζ- "appearance," in allusion to two possible orientations of the prism zone.
Pyroxene Group - Clinopyroxene Subgroup; see also the Diopside-Hedenbergite Series, and the Diopside-Johannsenite Series.

One of the most common members of the pyroxene group. Often occurs in metamorphosed limestones (marbles) as generally pale greenish to greyish green crystals, masses and blebs/grains associated with humite-group minerals, spinel, phlogopite, tremolite and grossular. Can also be pure white and not distinguishable from the enclosing carbonate. Often fluorescent bright powder blue.

May incorporate OH groups (e.g., Yang et al., 2015).

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Diopside.


Classification of Diopside

Diopside and its relation to other pyroxenes (after Morimoto et al, 1989)

Previous petrological nomenclature of clinopyroxenes from basaltic magmas (after Poldervaart & Hess, 1951)


Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
9.DA.15

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
D : Inosilicates
A : Inosilicates with 2-periodic single chains, Si2O6; pyroxene family
65.1.3a.1

65 : INOSILICATES Single-Width,Unbranched Chains,(W=1)
1 : Single-Width Unbranched Chains, W=1 with chains P=2
14.6.12

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
6 : Silicates of Ca with alkali or Mg or both

Physical Properties of Diopside

Vitreous, Dull
Transparency:
Transparent, Opaque
Colour:
light to dark green, blue, brown, colourless, snow white, grey
Streak:
white
Hardness:
5½ - 6½ on Mohs scale
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Distinct/Good
on {110}
Parting:
on {100} and probably {010}
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Conchoidal
Density:
3.22 - 3.38 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.278 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of Diopside

Type:
Biaxial (+)
RI values:
nα = 1.663 - 1.699 nβ = 1.671 - 1.705 nγ = 1.693 - 1.728
2V:
Measured: 58° to 63°, Calculated: 56° to 64°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.030
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
High
Dispersion:
weak to distinct r > v

Chemical Properties of Diopside

Formula:
CaMgSi2O6
Common Impurities:
Fe,V,Cr,Mn,Zn,Al,Ti,Na,K

Crystallography of Diopside

Crystal System:
Monoclinic
Class (H-M):
2/m - Prismatic
Space Group:
B2/b
Cell Parameters:
a = 9.746 Å, b = 8.899 Å, c = 5.251 Å
β = 105.79°
Ratio:
a:b:c = 1.095 : 1 : 0.59
Unit Cell V:
438.23 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
4
Morphology:
Prismatic crystals with square cross sections.
Twinning:
Simple or multiple twins on {100} or {010} common.

Crystallographic forms of Diopside

Crystal Atlas:
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Diopside no.135 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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X-Ray Powder Diffraction

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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.

Synonyms of Diopside

Other Language Names for Diopside

Varieties of Diopside

Baikalite

A morphological variety of ferroan diopside, approaching 'salite'.
Originally described in the 19th century from the Slyudyanka phlogopite mines area, Lake Baikal, Irkutskaya Oblast', Transbaikalia (Zabaykalye), Eastern-Siberian Region, Russia.

Blue Diopside

Usually granular diopside forming monomineral zones in magnesium skarns in some regions of Prebaikalie. Nature of blue colouration is uneven.

Canaanite

A white variety of diopside.

Chromian Diopside

A green, Cr-bearing variety of diopside.

Diallage

A variety (diopside-hedenbergite-augite solid-solution member of the pyroxene group) specifically showing prominent {001} parting and originally supposed to be a distinct species. Occasional misidentifications included orthopyroxene, e.g Metalloidal Diall...

Lavrovite

A green vanadium-bearing variety of diopside.

Maclurite (of Nuttall and Torrey)

Seybert (1822):"bears a strong resemblance to hypersthene"
"The color of this mineral in the mass, is dark brown, approaching to brownish black; when pulverized is grey; luster metallic. Slightly translucent of the edges. Form [of crystals] indeterminate...

Salite

An obsolete name for a pyroxene that would now be classified as diopside.

Schefferite

A brown manganoan variety of Diopside that frequently shows pronounced parting (IMA Subcommittee on Pyroxenes 1988).

Originally described from Långban, Filipstad, Värmland, Sweden.

Traversellite

Occasionally alters to amphibole, and pseudomorphs amphibole.
Originally reported from Traversella Mine, Traversella, Chiusella Valley, Canavese District, Torino Province, Piedmont, Italy.

Violan

Purple to blue purple diopside or omphacite colored by manganese. Mauve colored diopside, owing its color to titanium, is not violan. Because of the bright purple color, violan is probably manganian and not manganoan. cf. Johannsennite.

Zinc-Schefferite

A brown zincian and manganoan diopside.

Relationship of Diopside to other Species

Other Members of this group:
AegirineNaFe3+Si2O6
Aegirine-augite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(Fe3+eAlfFe2+gMgh)Si2O6
Augite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6
ClinoenstatiteMgSiO3
ClinoferrosiliteFe2+SiO3
EsseneiteCaFe3+[AlSiO6]
HedenbergiteCaFe2+Si2O6
JadeiteNa(Al,Fe3+)Si2O6
JervisiteNaSc3+Si2O6
JohannseniteCaMn2+Si2O6
KanoiteMn2+(Mg,Mn2+)Si2O6
KosmochlorNaCrSi2O6
KushiroiteCaAl[AlSiO6]
NamansiliteNaMn3+Si2O6
NatalyiteNaV3+Si2O6
Omphacite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(AleFe3+fFe2+gMgh)Si2O6
PetedunniteCa(Zn,Mn2+,Mg,Fe2+)Si2O6
Pigeonite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6
SpodumeneLiAlSi2O6
Forms a series with:

Common Associates

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Grossular579 photos of Diopside associated with Grossular on mindat.org.
Calcite279 photos of Diopside associated with Calcite on mindat.org.
Hessonite182 photos of Diopside associated with Hessonite on mindat.org.
Vesuvianite179 photos of Diopside associated with Vesuvianite on mindat.org.
Clinochlore158 photos of Diopside associated with Clinochlore on mindat.org.
Epidote144 photos of Diopside associated with Epidote on mindat.org.
Titanite81 photos of Diopside associated with Titanite on mindat.org.
Andradite76 photos of Diopside associated with Andradite on mindat.org.
Quartz71 photos of Diopside associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Albite66 photos of Diopside associated with Albite on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping

9.DA.05Donpeacorite(Mn2+,Mg)Mg[SiO3]2
9.DA.05EnstatiteMgSiO3
9.DA.05FerrosiliteFeSiO3
9.DA.10ClinoenstatiteMgSiO3
9.DA.10ClinoferrosiliteFe2+SiO3
9.DA.10KanoiteMn2+(Mg,Mn2+)Si2O6
9.DA.10Pigeonite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6
9.DA.15Augite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6
9.DA.15EsseneiteCaFe3+[AlSiO6]
9.DA.15HedenbergiteCaFe2+Si2O6
9.DA.15JohannseniteCaMn2+Si2O6
9.DA.15PetedunniteCa(Zn,Mn2+,Mg,Fe2+)Si2O6
9.DA.15DavisiteCaScAlSiO6
9.DA.15KushiroiteCaAl[AlSiO6]
9.DA.15GrossmaniteCaTi3+ AlSiO6
9.DA.20Aegirine-augite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(Fe3+eAlfFe2+gMgh)Si2O6
9.DA.20Omphacite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(AleFe3+fFe2+gMgh)Si2O6
9.DA.25AegirineNaFe3+Si2O6
9.DA.25JadeiteNa(Al,Fe3+)Si2O6
9.DA.25JervisiteNaSc3+Si2O6
9.DA.25KosmochlorNaCrSi2O6
9.DA.25NamansiliteNaMn3+Si2O6
9.DA.25NatalyiteNaV3+Si2O6
9.DA.30SpodumeneLiAlSi2O6

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals Grouping

14.6.1CombeiteNa2Ca2(Si6O18)0.5
14.6.2PectoliteNaCa2Si3O8(OH)
14.6.3Pectolite-M2abcNaCa2[HSi3O9]
14.6.4DenisoviteCa2(K,Na)Si3O8(F,OH)2
14.6.5TokkoiteK2Ca4[Si7O18(OH)](OH,F)
14.6.6MountainiteKNa2Ca2[Si8O19(OH)] · 6H2O
14.6.7RhodesiteKHCa2Si8O19 · 5H2O
14.6.8MiseriteK1.5-x(Ca,Y,REE)5(Si6O15)(Si2O7)(OH,F)2 · yH2O
14.6.9ÅkermaniteCa2Mg(Si2O7)
14.6.10MonticelliteCaMgSiO4
14.6.11MerwiniteCa3Mg(SiO4)2
14.6.13Tremolite☐{Ca2}{Mg5}(Si8O22)(OH)2

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)

65.1.3a.2HedenbergiteCaFe2+Si2O6
65.1.3a.3Augite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6
65.1.3a.4JohannseniteCaMn2+Si2O6
65.1.3a.5PetedunniteCa(Zn,Mn2+,Mg,Fe2+)Si2O6
65.1.3a.6EsseneiteCaFe3+[AlSiO6]

Fluorescence of Diopside

Bright blue-white (white coloured material)(SW UV)

Other Information

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

Diopside in petrology

An essential component of (items highlighted in red)
Common component of (items highlighted in red)

References for Diopside

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Smith, J.V. (1966) X-ray emission microanalysis of rock-forming minerals. VI: Clinopyroxenes near the diopside-hedenbergite join. Journal of Geology: 74: 463-467.
Clark, J.R., Appleman, D.E., Papike, J.J. (1969) Crystal-chemical characterization of clinopyroxenes based on eight new structure refinements. MSA Special Paper: 2: 31-50.
Ghose, S., Schindler, P. (1969) Determination of the distribution of trace amounts on Mn+2 in diopsides by electron paramagnetic resonance. In: Pyroxenes and Amphiboles: Crystal chemistry and phase petrology. Mineralogical Society of America Special Paper 2: 51-58.
Kushiro, I. (1969) The system forsterite-diopside-silica with and without water at high pressures. American Journal of Science: 267: 269-294.
Cameron, M., Shigeho, S., Prewitt, C.T., Papike, J.J. (1973) High-temperature crystal chemistry of acmite, diopside, hedenbergite, jadeite, spodumene and ureyite. American Mineralogist: 58: 594-618.
A. Mottana, G. Rossi, A. Kracher, G. Kurat (1979) Violan revisited: Mn-bearing omphacite and diopside. Tschermaks mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen: 26: 187-201.
Levien, L., Prewitt, C.T. (1981) High-pressure structural study of diopside. American Mineralogist: 66: 315-323.
Rossi, G., Smith, D.C., Ungaretti, L., Domeneghetti, M.C. (1983) Crystal-chemistry and cation ordering in the system diopside-jadeite: a detailed study by crystal structure refinement. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 83: 247-258.
Richet, P. and Bottinga, Y. (1984) Anorthite, andesine, wollastonite, diopside, cordierite, and pyrope thermodynamics of melting, glass transitions, and properties of the amorphous phases. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 67: 415-432.
Johnson, K.T.M., Dick, H.J.B., Shimizu, N. (1990) Melting in the oceanic upper mantle: an ion microprobe study of diopsides in abyssal peridotites. Journal of Geophysical Research: 95: 2661-2678.
Raterron, P., Jaoul, O. (1991) High-temperature deformation of diopside single crystal, 1., Mechanical data. Journal of Geophysical Research, B, Solid Earth and Planets: 96: 14277-14286.
Knoche, R., Dingwell, D.B., Webb, S.L. (1992) Non-linear temperature dependence of liquid volumes in the system albite-anorthite-diopside. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 111: 61-73.
Knoche, R., Dingwell, D.B., Webb, S.L. (1992) Temperature-dependent thermal expansivities of silicate melts: The system anorthite-diopside. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 56: 689-699.
Harlow, G.E. (1996) Structure refinement of a natural K-rich diopside: the effect of K on the average structure. American Mineralogist: 81: 632-638.
Courtial, P., Téqui, C., Richet, P. (2000) Thermodynamics of diopside, anorthite, pseudowollastonite, CaMgGeO4 olivine, and åkermanite up to near the melting point. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 27: 242-250.
Yang, Y., Xia, Q., Zhang, P. (2015): Evolution of OH groups in diopside and feldspars with temperature. European Journal of Mineralogy: 27(2): 185-192.

Internet Links for Diopside

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https://www.mindat.org/min-1294.html
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Specimens:
The following Diopside specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Diopside

Mineral and/or Locality  
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