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John Gifford Fairchild
Colorless, light gray to bluish gray
Specific Gravity:
2.45 (Calculated)
Crystal System:
Named in honor of John Gifford Fairchild (28 May 1882, Monticello, New York, USA - 16 January 1965, Alexandria, Virginia, USA), analytical chemist, with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Dimorph of:
The K analogue of zemkorite.

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Classification of FairchilditeHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
First Published:

A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
C : Alkali and alkali-earth carbonates

3 : A2B(XO3)2

11 : Carbonates
1 : Carbonates of the alkali metals and ammonium

Pronounciation of FairchilditeHide

PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of FairchilditeHide

Colorless, light gray to bluish gray
2½ on Mohs scale
Good on {0001}.
2.45 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of FairchilditeHide

Uniaxial (-)
RI values:
nω = 1.533 nε = 1.498
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.035
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:

Chemical Properties of FairchilditeHide


Crystallography of FairchilditeHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) - Dihexagonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 5.294(1) Å, c = 13.355(2) Å
a:c = 1 : 2.523
Unit Cell V:
324.15 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Tiny hexagonal plates flattened on {0001}. In dense stony aggregates.

Crystal StructureHide

Unit Cell | Unit Cell Packed
2x2x2 | 3x3x3 | 4x4x4
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IDSpeciesReferenceLinkYearLocalityPressure (GPa)Temp (K)
0010845FairchilditePertlik F (1981) Structural investigations of synthetic fairchildite, K2Ca(CO3)2 Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 157 199-2051981synthetic0293
CIF Raw Data - click here to close

Geological EnvironmentHide

Geological Setting:
In clinkers in partly burned softwood trees such as hemlock and fir.

Type Occurrence of FairchilditeHide

Place of Conservation of Type Material:
Smithsonian 105675, 105676, 162622
Geological Setting of Type Material:
Trees struck by lightning
Milton, C., Axelrod, J. (1947) Fused wood-ash stones: Fairchildite K2CO3·CaCO3, buetschliite 3K2CO3·2CaCO3·6H2O and calcite, CaCO3, their essential components. American Mineralogist: 32: 607-624.

Other Language Names for FairchilditeHide

Common AssociatesHide


Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

5.AC.10NyerereiteNa2Ca(CO3)2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Cmcm
5.AC.15BütschliiteK2Ca(CO3)2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
5.AC.25ShortiteNa2Ca2(CO3)3Orth. mm2 : Amm2
5.AC.30Burbankite(Na,Ca)3(Sr,Ba,Ce)3(CO3)5Hex. 6mm : P63mc
5.AC.30CalcioburbankiteNa3(Ca,REE,Sr)3(CO3)5Hex. 6mm : P63mc
5.AC.30SanromániteNa2CaPb3[CO3]5Hex. 6mm : P63mc

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

11.1.1ZabuyeliteLi2CO3Mon. 2/m : B2/b
11.1.3NahcoliteNaHCO3Mon. 2/m
11.1.4WegscheideriteNa5H3(CO3)4Tric. 1 : P1
11.1.5ThermonatriteNa2CO3 · H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmmm
11.1.6TronaNa3H(CO3)2 · 2H2OMon. 2/m
11.1.7NatronNa2CO3 · 10H2OMon. 2/m : P2/m
11.1.8KaliciniteKHCO3Mon. 2/m
11.1.9ShortiteNa2Ca2(CO3)3Orth. mm2 : Amm2
11.1.10NyerereiteNa2Ca(CO3)2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Cmcm
11.1.13PirssoniteNa2Ca(CO3)2 · 2H2OOrth. mm2 : Fdd2
11.1.14GaylussiteNa2Ca(CO3)2 · 5H2OMon. 2/m : B2/b
11.1.15BaylissiteK2Mg(CO3)2 · 4H2OMon.
11.1.17BütschliiteK2Ca(CO3)2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
11.1.18Teschemacherite(NH4)HCO3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pccn

Other InformationHide

Special Storage/
Display Requirements:
Slowly hygroscopic in air, altering to Bütschliite, and finally to calcite.
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for FairchilditeHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Milton, C., Axelrod, J. (1947) Fused wood-ash stones: Fairchildite K2CO3·CaCO3, buetschliite 3K2CO3·2CaCO3·6H2O and calcite, CaCO3, their essential components. American Mineralogist: 32: 607-624.
Fleischer, M. (1948) New mineral names. American Mineralogist: 33: 384-386.
Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II: Halides, Nitrates, Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Tungstates, Molybdates, Etc. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 222.
Mandarino, J.A., Harris, D.C. (1965) New Canadian mineral occurrences: I. Eucryptite, pollucite, rozenite, epsomite, dawsonite, fairchildite and butschliite. The Canadian Mineralogist: 8: 377-381.
Fleischer, M. (1967) New mineral names. American Mineralogist: 52: 925-929.
Pertlik, F. (1981) Structural investigations of synthetic fairchildite, K2Ca(CO3)2. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 157: 199-205.
Garvie, L.A.J. (2016) Mineralogy of paloverde (Parkinsonia microphylla) tree ash from the Sonoran Desert: A combined field and laboratory study. American Mineralogist: 101: 1584-1595.

Internet Links for FairchilditeHide

Localities for FairchilditeHide

This map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.

Locality ListHide

- This locality has map coordinates listed. - This locality has estimated coordinates. ⓘ - Click for further information on this occurrence. ? - Indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. - Good crystals or important locality for species. - World class for species or very significant. (TL) - Type Locality for a valid mineral species. (FRL) - First Recorded Locality for everything else (eg varieties). Struck out - Mineral was erroneously reported from this locality. Faded * - Never found at this locality but inferred to have existed at some point in the past (eg from pseudomorphs.)

All localities listed without proper references should be considered as questionable.
  • Northwest Territories
    • Lac de Gras
      • Ekati Mine
Kamenetsky, V. S., Grütter, H., Kamenetsky, M. B., & Gömann, K. (2013). Parental carbonatitic melt of the Koala kimberlite (Canada): constraints from melt inclusions in olivine and Cr-spinel, and groundmass carbonate. Chemical Geology, 353, 96-111.
  • Ontario
    • Lennox and Addington County
      • Richmond Township
Dawson,K.R. and Sabina,A. (1957) A Canadian occurrence of Fairchildite and Buetschliite, CM6,290
    • Renfrew County
Trail,R.J. 1980, Catalogue of Canadian Minerals, GSC Paper 80-18
  • Saskatchewan
Shang, Y. (2000). Mineralogy, lithostratigraphy and geochemistry of North Ingebright Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. PhD thesis University of Manitoba.
  • Antofagasta
Aguilera, F., Layana, S., Rodríguez-Díaz, A., González, C., Cortés, J., & Inostroza, M. (2016). Alteración hidrotermal, depósitos fumarólicos y fluidos del Complejo Volcánico Lastarria: Un estudio multidsciplinario. Andean geology, 43(2), 166-196.
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
    • Rhein-Lahn District
      • Loreley
        • Braubach
Schnorrer-Köhler, G. & David, W. (1991): Die Blei- und Silberhütte Braubach und ihre Haldenminerale. Lapis, 16 (1), 38-49; 58 (in German).
Lapis, 16 (1), 38-53+58.
South Africa
  • Northern Cape
    • Frances Baard
      • Sol Plaatje
        • Kimberley
          • KEM JV Mine (Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture mine; Kimberley Underground mine)
Giuliani, A., Kamenetsky, V. S., Phillips, D., Kendrick, M. A., Wyatt, B. A., & Goemann, K. (2012). Nature of alkali-carbonate fluids in the sub-continental lithospheric mantle. Geology, 40(11), 967-970.
  • As-Suwayda Governorate
Mahfoud, R. F., & Beck, J. N. (1995). Petrogenesis and geodynamic significance of ultramafic inclusions and basanite from southern Syria. International Geology Review, 37(5), 448-470. Mahfoud, R. F., & Beck, J. N. (1995). Composition, origin, and classification of extrusive carbonatites in rifted southern Syria. International Geology Review, 37(4), 361-378.
  • Arizona
    • Coconino County
      • Grand Canyon
        • Point Sublime (Sublime Point)
          • Kanabownits Canyon
Anthony, J.W., et al (1995), Mineralogy of Arizona, 3rd.ed.: 218; Milton, C. (1944), Stones from trees, Scientific Monthly: 59: 421-423; Milton, C. & J. Axelrod (1947), Fused woodash stones: Fairchildite (n.sp.) K2CO3·CaCO3, buetschlite (n.sp.) 3K2CO3·2CacO3·6H2O, and calcite, CaCO3, their essential components, Am.Min.: 32: 607-624; Mrose, M.E., et al (1966), Synthesis and properties of fairchildite and buetschlite: Their relationship in wood-ash stone formations, Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec. Paper 101: 146.
AmMin 32:607
    • Maricopa Co.
Garvie, L.A.J. (2016): Mineralogy of paloverde (Parkinsonia microphylla) tree ash from the Sonoran Desert: A combined field and laboratory study. American Mineralogist: 101 : 1584-1595; (2016
  • Idaho
    • Bonner Co.
      • Kaniksu National Forest
Handbook of Mineralogy - Anthony, Bideaux, Bladh, Nichols
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