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Alunite

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Formula:
KAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
Colour:
white, pale shades of gray, yellow, red, to reddish brown
Lustre:
Vitreous, Pearly
Hardness:
3½ - 4
Specific Gravity:
2.6 - 2.9
Crystal System:
Trigonal
Name:
Named from the Latin for alum.
Common member of the alunite supergroup.
The Al analogue of jarosite and the K analogue of natroalunite.

Alunite has been used for dating (K-Ar method) of weathering processes in ore deposits or of the deposition of alunite in caves.


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Classification of AluniteHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
7.BC.10

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
B : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) with additional anions, without H2O
C : With medium-sized and large cations
30.2.4.1

30 : ANHYDROUS SULFATES CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
2 : (AB)2(XO4)Zq
25.6.18

25 : Sulphates
6 : Sulphates of Al and Tl

Pronounciation of AluniteHide

Pronounciation:
PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of AluniteHide

Vitreous, Pearly
Transparency:
Transparent, Translucent
Comment:
Somewhat pearly on {0001}.
Colour:
white, pale shades of gray, yellow, red, to reddish brown
Comment:
Colorless if pure
Streak:
White
Hardness:
3½ - 4 on Mohs scale
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Distinct/Good
On {0001}, distinct; on {0112}, traces. Handbook of mineralogy: On {0001}, perfect
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Splintery, Conchoidal
Density:
2.6 - 2.9 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.82 g/cm3 (Calculated)
Comment:
Values on massive material.

Optical Data of AluniteHide

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.572 nε = 1.592
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.020
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Moderate

Chemical Properties of AluniteHide

Formula:
KAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
Common Impurities:
Na,Fe

Age informationHide

Age range:
Cenozoic : 18.9 ± 5.6 Ma to 1.17 ± 0.16 Ma - based on data given below.
Sample ages:
Sample IDRecorded ageGeologic TimeDating method
11.17 ± 0.16 MaPleistoceneK-Ar
21.35 ± 0.1 MaPleistoceneK-Ar
31.44 ± 0.1 MaPleistoceneK-Ar
41.46 ± 0.06 MaPleistoceneK-Ar
56.97 ± 6.28 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
67.25 ± 0.14 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
77.38 ± 2.88 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
88.15 ± 12.78 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
98.61 ± 0.45 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
108.68 ± 0.59 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
118.72 ± 0.63 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
128.97 ± 3.45 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
1310.1 ± 0.6 MaMioceneK-Ar
1410.42 ± 0.28 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
1511.00 ± 0.27 MaMiocene40Ar/39Ar
1611.5 ± 3.5 MaMioceneK-Ar
1715.8 ± 6.3 MaMioceneK-Ar
1818.9 ± 5.6 MaMioceneK-Ar
Sample references:
IDLocalityReference
1Lepanto Mine, Mancayan mineral district, Benguet Province, Cordillera Administrative Region, Luzon, PhilippinesArribas, A., Hedenquist, J. W., Itaya, T., Okada, T., Concepción, R. A., & Garcia, J. S. (1995) Contemporaneous formation of adjacent porphyry and epithermal Cu-Au deposits over 300 ka in northern Luzon, Philippines. Geology,23(4), 337-340.
2  "  "  "  "
3  "  "  "  "
4  "  "  "  "
5Tambo Mine, El Indio deposit, Elqui Province, Coquimbo Region, ChileDeyell C L, Rye R O, Landis G P, Bissig T (2005) Alunite and the role of magmatic fluids in the Tambo high-sulfidation deposit, El Indio-Pascua belt, Chile. Chemical Geology. (215) 185-218.
6  "  "  "  "
7  "  "  "  "
8  "  "  "  "
9  "  "  "  "
10  "  "  "  "
11  "  "  "  "
12  "  "  "  "
13Cerro del Cinto Mine, Rodalquilar, Níjar, Almería, Andalusia, SpainArribas Jr A, Cunningham C G, Rytuba J J, Rye R O, Kelly W C, Podwysocki M H, McKee E H, Todsal R M (1995) Geology, geochronology, fluid inclusions, and isotope geochemistry of the Rodalquilar Gold Alunite Deposit, Spain. Economic Geology 90(4) 795-822.
14Tambo Mine, El Indio deposit, Elqui Province, Coquimbo Region, ChileDeyell C L, Rye R O, Landis G P, Bissig T (2005) Alunite and the role of magmatic fluids in the Tambo high-sulfidation deposit, El Indio-Pascua belt, Chile. Chemical Geology. (215) 185-218.
15  "  "  "  "
16Temple Mountain, San Rafael District, Emery Co., Utah, USAMorrison, S. J., & Parry, W. T. (1988) Age and formation conditions of alteration associated with a collapse structure, Temple Mountain uranium district, Utah. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 100(7), 1069-1077.
17  "  "  "  "
18  "  "  "  "

Crystallography of AluniteHide

Crystal System:
Trigonal
Class (H-M):
3m - Ditrigonal Pyramidal
Space Group:
R3m
Cell Parameters:
a = 6.98 Å, c = 17.32 Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 2.481
Unit Cell V:
730.78 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Morphology:
Rarely in small crystals; as druses in massive material or as aggregates. Crystals tabular {0001} or terminated by flat vicinal rhombohedra; rhombohedral and commonly pseudo-cubic {0112}. Lenticular based on distortion or vicinal development. Massive, granular to dense. As rocky, admixed masses.

Crystallographic forms of AluniteHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Alunite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Type Occurrence of AluniteHide

Synonyms of AluniteHide

Other Language Names for AluniteHide

Relationship of Alunite to other SpeciesHide

Other Members of this group:
Ammonioalunite(NH4)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
Ammoniojarosite(NH4)Fe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
ArgentojarositeAgFe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
Beaverite-(Cu)Pb(Fe3+2Cu)(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
Beaverite-(Zn)Pb(Fe3+2Zn)(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
DorallchariteTlFe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
HuangiteCa0.5Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
Hydroniumjarosite(H3O)Fe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
NatroaluniteNaAl3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
Natroalunite-2c(Na,Ca0.5,K)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
NatrojarositeNaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
OsarizawaitePb(Al2Cu2+)(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
PlumbojarositePb0.5Fe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
Schlossmacherite(H3O)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
WalthieriteBa0.5Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.

Common AssociatesHide

DiasporeAlO(OH)
GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
HalloysiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
PyriteFeS2
QuartzSiO2
Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Rodalquilarite35 photos of Alunite associated with Rodalquilarite on mindat.org.
Pyrite7 photos of Alunite associated with Pyrite on mindat.org.
Quartz6 photos of Alunite associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Jarosite4 photos of Alunite associated with Jarosite on mindat.org.
Copper2 photos of Alunite associated with Copper on mindat.org.
Walfordite2 photos of Alunite associated with Walfordite on mindat.org.
Pyracmonite1 photo of Alunite associated with Pyracmonite on mindat.org.
Baryte1 photo of Alunite associated with Baryte on mindat.org.
Enargite1 photo of Alunite associated with Enargite on mindat.org.
Blatonite1 photo of Alunite associated with Blatonite on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

7.BC.05D'AnsiteNa21Mg(SO4)10Cl3Iso.
7.BC.10Ammonioalunite(NH4)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
7.BC.10Ammoniojarosite(NH4)Fe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
7.BC.10ArgentojarositeAgFe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
7.BC.10Beaverite-(Cu)Pb(Fe3+2Cu)(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.10DorallchariteTlFe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.10HuangiteCa0.5Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
7.BC.10Hydroniumjarosite(H3O)Fe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.10JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.10Natroalunite-2c(Na,Ca0.5,K)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.10NatroaluniteNaAl3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
7.BC.10NatrojarositeNaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
7.BC.10OsarizawaitePb(Al2Cu2+)(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.10PlumbojarositePb0.5Fe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.10Schlossmacherite(H3O)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
7.BC.10WalthieriteBa0.5Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
7.BC.10Beaverite-(Zn)Pb(Fe3+2Zn)(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.BC.15Ye'elimiteCa4Al6(SO4)O12Iso.
7.BC.20AtlasoviteK(BiO)Cu6Fe3+(SO4)5O3ClTet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/ncc
7.BC.20NabokoiteKCu7(SO4)5(Te4+O3)OClTet.
7.BC.25ChlorothioniteK2Cu(SO4)Cl2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
7.BC.30EuchlorineKNaCu3(SO4)3OMon.
7.BC.30FedotoviteK2Cu3(SO4)3OMon. 2/m : B2/b
7.BC.35KamchatkiteKCu3(SO4)2OClOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
7.BC.40PiypiteK4Cu4O2(SO4)4 · (Na,Cu)ClTet.
7.BC.45KlyuchevskiteK3Cu3(Fe3+,Al)(SO4)4O2Mon.
7.BC.45AlumoklyuchevskiteK3Cu3(Al,Fe3+)(SO4)4O2Tric. 1 : P1
7.BC.50CaledonitePb5Cu2(SO4)3(CO3)(OH)6Orth. mm2 : Pmn21
7.BC.55WherryitePb7Cu2(SO4)4(SiO4)2(OH)2Mon. 2/m : B2/m
7.BC.60MammothitePb6Cu4AlSb5+O2(OH)16Cl4(SO4)2Mon. 2 : B2
7.BC.65LinaritePbCu(SO4)(OH)2Mon. 2/m : P21/m
7.BC.65SchmiederitePb2Cu2(Se6+O4)(Se4+O3)(OH)4Mon.
7.BC.65MunakataitePb2Cu2(Se4+O3)(SO4)(OH)4Mon. 2/m : P21/m
7.BC.70ChenitePb4Cu(SO4)2(OH)6Tric. 1 : P1
7.BC.75KrivovichevitePb3Al(OH)6(SO4)(OH)Trig. 3m : R3c
7.BC.80AnhydrokainiteKMg(SO4)Cl

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

30.2.4.3Schlossmacherite(H3O)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
30.2.4.4OsarizawaitePb(Al2Cu2+)(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
30.2.4.5Natroalunite-2c(Na,Ca0.5,K)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
30.2.4.6Ammonioalunite(NH4)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
30.2.4.7WalthieriteBa0.5Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.
30.2.4.8HuangiteCa0.5Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig.

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

25.6.1RostiteAl(SO4)(OH) · 5H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
25.6.2JurbaniteAl(SO4)(OH) · 5H2OMon.
25.6.3KhademiteAl(SO4)F · 5H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
25.6.4Meta-aluminiteAl2(SO4)(OH)4 · 5H2O
25.6.5AluminiteAl2(SO4)(OH)4 · 7H2OMon. 2/m : P21/b
25.6.6Meta-alunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
25.6.7AlunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 17H2OTric. 1
25.6.8FelsőbányaiteAl4(SO4)(OH)10 · 4H2OMon. 2 : P21
25.6.9BasaluminiteAl4(SO4)(OH)10 · 4H2OHex.
25.6.10HydrobasaluminiteAl4(SO4)(OH)10 · 12-36H2OMon.
25.6.11ZaheriteAl12(SO4)5(OH)26 · 20H2OTric.
25.6.12TamarugiteNaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2OMon. 2/m
25.6.13MendoziteNaAl(SO4)2 · 11H2OMon. 2/m
25.6.14Alum-(Na)NaAl(SO4)2 · 12H2O
25.6.15NatroaluniteNaAl3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m : R3m
25.6.16KaliniteKAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O Not confirmedMon. 2/m : B2/b
25.6.17Alum-(K)KAl(SO4)2 · 12H2OIso. m3 (2/m 3)
25.6.19Natroalunite-2c(Na,Ca0.5,K)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
25.6.20Tschermigite(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2OIso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3

Other InformationHide

Electrical:
Strongly pyroelectric.
Notes:
Insoluble in water.
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

Alunite in petrologyHide

Common component of (items highlighted in red)

References for AluniteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Gesner C. (1565) Alumen. De omni rerum fossilium genere, gemmis, lapidibus, metallis, etc. Tiguri: 13. [as Alumen de Tolpha]
Wallerius, J.G (1747) Mineralogia, eller Mineralriket. Stockholm: 163. [as Romersk Alunsten]
Delamétherie, J.C. (1797) Théorie de la Terre, 2nd. Edition, 5 volumes, Paris: 2: 113. [as Aluminilite]
Haüy, R.J. (1801) Traité de minéralogie. First edition: in 4 volumes with atlas in fol.: 2: 119. [as Alum de Rome]
Jameson, R. (1804) A System of Mineralogy. First edition, 2 volumes, Edinburgh: 1: 319. [as Alumstone]
Cordier (1820) Mém. mus. d'hist. nat.: 6: 204.
Beudant, F.S. (1824) 22e espèce. Alunite. in: Trailé élémentaire de Minéralogie, Paris: 449-450.
Mitscherlich (1861) Journal für praktische Chemie, Leipzig: 83: 474. [as Lœwigite]
Jereméjev (1883) Mineralogicheskoe Obshchestvo, Leningrad, Zapiski: 18 [2]: 221.
Flug (1887) Mineralogicheskoe Obshchestvo, Leningrad. Materialien zur Geologie Russlands. Verhandlungen: [2]: 23: 116. [as Ignatiewite]
Michel-Lévy and Lacroix (1888) Les Minéraux des Roches: 140.
Brackett and Williams (1891) American Journal of Science: 42: 11. [as Newtonite]
Hillebrand, W.F., Penfield, S.L. (1902) Some additions to the alunite-jarosite group of minerals. American Journal of Science: 164: 211-220.
Calderón y Arana, S. (1910) Los minerales de España, 2 volumes, Madrid: 2: 205. [as Calafatite]
Butler and Gale (1912) USGS Bull. 511.
Schaller (1916) USGS Bull. 610: 150.
Foshag (1926) American Mineralogist: 11: 33.
Doelter, C. (1927) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 4 [2]: 495-497. [as Kalioalunit]
Hintze, C. (1929) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3]: 4192.
Laudermilk, J.D. (1935) Soda-alunite from Molokai, Hawaiian Islands. American Mineralogist: 20: 57.
Kagaya (1936) Journal of the Japanese Association of Mineralogy, Petrology and Economic Geology: 16: 276.
Hendricks, S.B. (1937) The crystal structure of alunite and the jarosites. American Mineralogist: 22: 773-784.
Kawano (1937) Journal of the Japanese Association of Mineralogy, Petrology and Economic Geology: 17: 31.
Willard and Proctor (1946) Economic Geology: 41: 619.
Pabst, A. (1947) Some computations on svanbergite, Woodhouseite and Alunite. American Mineralogist: 31: 16-30.
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. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 1124 pp.: 556-560.
Wang, R., Bradley, W.F., Steinfink, H. (1965) The crystal structure of alunite. Acta Crystallographica: 18: 249-252.
Menchetti, S., Sabelli, C. (1976) Crystal chemistry of the alunite series: crystal structure refinement of alunite and synthetic jarosite. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Monatshefte: 1976: 406-417.
Delamétherie, J.C. (1979) De l’aluminilite. Theorie de la Terre 2nd Edition, Vol.2: 113-118.
Ripmeester, J.A., Ratcliffe, C.I., Dutrizac, J.E., Jambor, J.L. (1986) Hydronium ion in the alunite - jarosite group. The Canadian Mineralogist: 24: 435-447.
Scott, K.M. (1987) Solid solution in, and classification of, gossan-derived members of the alunite-jarosite family, northwest Queensland, Australia. American Mineralogist: 72: 178-187.
Jambor, J.L. (1999) Nomenclature of the alunite supergroup. The Canadian Mineralogist: 37: 1323-1341.
Schukow, H., Breitinger, D.K., Zeiske, T., Kubanek, F., Mohr, J., Schwab, R.G. (1999) Localization of hydrogen and content of oxonium cations in alunite via neutron diffraction. Zeitschrift für Anorganische und Allgemeine Chemie: 625: 1047-1050.
Lager, G.A., Swayze, G.A., Loong, C.K., Rotella, F.J., Richardson, J.W., Stoffregen, R.E. (2001) Neutron spectroscopic study of synthetic alunite and oxonium–substituted alunite. The Canadian Mineralogist: 39: 1131-1138.
Bishop, J.L., Murad, E. (2005) The visible and infrared spectral properties of jarosite and alunite. American Mineralogist: 90: 1100-1107.
Frost, R.L., Wills, R.A., Weier, M.L., Martens, W., Kloprogge, J.T. (2006) A Raman spectroscopic study of alunites. Journal of Molecular Structure: 785: 123-132.
Majzlan, J., Speziale, S., Duffy, T.S., Burns, P.C. (2006) Single-crystal elastic properties of alunite, KAl3(SO4)2(OH)6. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 33: 567-573.
Papike, J.J., Karner, J.M., Spilde, M.N., Shearer, C.K. (2006) Terrestrial analogs of martian sulfates: Major and minor element systematics of alunite-jarosite from Goldfield, Nevada. American Mineralogist: 91: 1197-1200.
Nielsen, U.G., Majzlan, J., Phillips, B., Ziliox, M., Grey, C.P. (2007) Characterization of defects and local structure in natural and synthetic alunite (K,Na,H3O)Al3(SO4)2(OH)6 by multi-nuclear solid-state NMR spectroscopy. American Mineralogist: 92: 587-597.
Murphy, P.J., Smith, A.M.L., Hudson-Edwards, K.A., Dubbin, W.E., Wright, K. (2009) Raman and IR spectroscopic studies of alunite-supergroup compounds containing Al, Cr3+, Fe3+ and V3+ at the B site. The Canadian Mineralogist: 47: 663-681.
Sato, E., Nakai, I., Miyawaki, R., Matsubara, S. (2009) Crystal structures of alunite family minerals: beaverite, corkite, alunite, natroalunite, jarosite, svanbergite, and woodhouseite. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie Abhandlungen 185, 313-322.
Bayliss, P., Kolitsch, U., Nickel, E.H., Pring, A. (2010) Alunite supergroup: recommended nomenclature. Mineralogical Magazine: 74: 919-927.
Zema, M., Callegari, A.M., Tarantino, S.C., Gasparini, E., Ghigna, P. (2012) Thermal expansion of alunite up to dehydroxylation and collapse of the crystal structure. Mineralogical Magazine: 76: 613-623.

Internet Links for AluniteHide

Localities for AluniteHide

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 ListShow

Mineral and/or Locality  
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