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About HumberstoniteHide

James Thomas Humberstone
Na7K3Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2 · 6H2O
Specific Gravity:
Crystal System:
Named in honor of James Thomas Humberstone (8 July 1850, Dover, England, UK - 12 June 1939, Iquique, Chile) chemist, who invented the Shanks System, a method to make sodium carbonate. He started the Peru Nitrate Company to extract saltpetre in the Tarapacá Province. The town of Humberstone, Chile, named after him, became part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
This page provides mineralogical data about Humberstonite.

Classification of HumberstoniteHide

Approval year:
First published:

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
D : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) with additional anions, with H2O
G : With large and medium-sized cations; with NO3, CO3, B(OH)4, SiO4 or IO3

2 : Hydrated Compound Sulfates

13 : Nitrates

Physical Properties of HumberstoniteHide

2½ on Mohs scale
2.252 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.252 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of HumberstoniteHide

Uniaxial (-)
RI values:
nω = 1.474(2) nε = 1.436(2)
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.038
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:

Chemical Properties of HumberstoniteHide

Na7K3Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2 · 6H2O
IMA Formula:
K3Na7Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2 · 6H2O

Crystallography of HumberstoniteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
3 - Rhombohedral
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 10.905(3) Å, c = 24.394(9) Å
a:c = 1 : 2.237
Unit Cell V:
2,512.26 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)

Crystal StructureHide

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IDSpeciesReferenceLinkYearLocalityPressure (GPa)Temp (K)
0005366HumberstoniteBurns P C, Hawthorne F C (1994) The crystal structure of humberstonite, a mixed sulfate-nitrate mineral The Canadian Mineralogist 32 381-38519940293
CIF Raw Data - click here to close

Type Occurrence of HumberstoniteHide

General Appearance of Type Material:
aggregates of thin, colorless, transparent,
hexagonal-shaped crystals, up to 0.30 mm across
Place of Conservation of Type Material:
U. S. National Museum, Washington, D. C. (USNM 120898)
Geological Setting of Type Material:
playa salt deposits
Associated Minerals at Type Locality:
Ericksen, G.E., Fahey, J.J., Mrose, M.E. (1967) Humberstonite, Na7K3Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2·6H2O: A new saline mineral from the Atacama Desert, Chile. Geological Society of America, Abstracts Annual Meetings: 1967: 59-59.

Synonyms of HumberstoniteHide

Other Language Names for HumberstoniteHide

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
2 photos of Humberstonite associated with NitratineNaNO3

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

7.DG.MathesiusiteK5(UO2)4(SO4)4(VO5) · 4H2OTet. 4/m : P4/n
7.DG.05DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2OMon. 2/m
7.DG.10Clinoungemachite(Na, K, Fe, SO4)Mon. 2/m
7.DG.10UngemachiteK3Na8Fe(SO4)6(NO3)2 · 6H2OTrig. 3 : R3
7.DG.15BentoriteCa6(Cr3+,Al)2(SO4)3(OH)12 · 26H2OTrig. 3m : P3 1c
7.DG.15CharlesiteCa6(Al,Si)2(SO4)2[B(OH)4](OH,O)12 · 26H2OTrig. 3m : P3 1c
7.DG.15EttringiteCa6Al2(SO4)3(OH)12 · 26H2OTrig. 3m : P3 1c
7.DG.15JouravskiteCa3Mn4+(SO4)(CO3)(OH)6 · 12H2OHex. 6 : P63
7.DG.15SturmaniteCa6(Fe3+,Al,Mn3+)2(SO4)2[B(OH)4](OH)12 · 25H2OTrig. 3m : P3 1c
7.DG.15ThaumasiteCa3(SO4)[Si(OH)6](CO3) · 12H2OHex. 6 : P63
7.DG.15CarraraiteCa3(SO4)[Ge(OH)6](CO3) · 12H2OHex.
7.DG.15BuryatiteCa3(Si,Fe,Al)(SO4)[B(OH)4]O(OH)5 · 12H2OTrig. 3m : P3 1c
7.DG.20RapidcreekiteCa2(SO4)(CO3) · 4H2OOrth.
7.DG.20KorkinoiteCa4(SO4)2(CO3)2 · 9(H2O)Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmmm
7.DG.25TatarskiteCa6Mg2(SO4)2(CO3)2(OH)4Cl4 · 7H2OOrth.
7.DG.30NakauriiteCu8(SO4)4(CO3)(OH)6 · 48H2OOrth.
7.DG.35Chessexite(Na,K)4Ca2(Mg,Zn)3Al8(SO4)10(SiO4)2 · 40H2OOrth.
7.DG.40CarlosruiziteK6(Na,K)4Na6Mg10(SeO4)12(IO3)12 · 12H2OTrig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3c1
7.DG.40FuenzalidaiteK6(Na,K)4Na6Mg10(SO4)12(IO3)12 · 12H2OTrig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3c1
7.DG.45Chelyabinskite(Ca,Mg)3(SO4,CO3)2[Si(OH)6] · 9H2O (?)Orth.

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

13.1NitratineNaNO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
13.2NiterKNO3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmma
13.3GerhardtiteCu2(NO3)(OH)3Orth. 2 2 2 : P21 21 21
13.4NitromagnesiteMg(NO3)2 · 6H2OMon. 2/m
13.5NitrocalciteCa(NO3)2 · 4H2OMon. 2/m
13.6NitrobariteBa(NO3)2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
13.7ButtgenbachiteCu19(NO3)2(OH)32Cl4 · 2H2OHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
13.8SveiteKAl7(NO3)4(OH)16Cl2 · 8H2OMon.
13.9DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2OMon. 2/m
13.11Mbobomkulite(Ni,Cu)Al4((NO3)2,SO4)(OH)12 · 3H2OMon.
13.12Hydrombobomkulite(Ni,Cu)Al4((NO3)2,SO4)(OH)12 · 13-14H2OMon.
13.13Nickelalumite(Ni,Cu)Al4(SO4,(NO3)2)(OH)12 · 3H2OMon.

Fluorescence of HumberstoniteHide

Other InformationHide

Soluble in water and insoluble in acetone and ethyl alcohol.
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 HumberstoniteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Ericksen, G.E., Fahey, J.J., Mrose, M.E. (1967) Humberstonite, Na7K3Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2·6H2O: A new saline mineral from the Atacama Desert, Chile. Geological Society of America, Abstracts Annual Meetings: 1967: 59-59.
Mrose, M.E., Fahey, J.J., Ericksen, G.E. (1970) Mineralogical studies of the nitrate deposits of Chile. III. Humberstonite, K3Na7Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2·6H2O, a new saline mineral. American Mineralogist: 55: 1518-1533.
Burns, P.C., Hawthorne, F.C. (1994) The crystal structure of humberstonite, a mixed sulfate-nitrate mineral. The Canadian Mineralogist: 32: 381-385.

Internet Links for HumberstoniteHide

Localities for HumberstoniteHide

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.
Chile (TL)
  • Antofagasta
    • Antofagasta Province
      • Santa Catalina
Geol.Soc.Amer., Progr. annual meeting (1967) p. 59
    • Morro Moreno
    • Tocopilla Province
      • María Elena
        • Oficina María Elena
Collao, S., Arce, E., & Andía, A. (2002). Mineralogia, Quimica E Inclusiones Fluidas En Los Depositos DE Nitratos DE Maria Elena, IIa. Region, Chile. Boletín de la Sociedad Chilena de Química, 47(2), 181-190.
        • Pedro de Valdivia
Pueyo, J. J., Chong, G. & Vega, M. (1998): Mineralogy and parental brine evolution in the Pedro de Valdivia nitrate deposit, Antofagasta, Chile. Revista Geologica de Chile 25, 3-15. (in Spanish) ; Marta, V. E. G. A., & Pueyo, J. (1996) Parental Brine Evolution in the Chilean Nitrate Deposits (Pedro de Valdivia, II Region de Antofagasta). Mineralogical and Petrographic Data. Third ISAG, S1 Malo (France), 17-19/9/1996
      • Tocopilla
samples analysed by Gerhard Mohn and Joy Desor
  • Xinjiang
    • Akesu Prefecture (Aksu Prefecture; Aqsu Prefecture)
Akihiko Okada, Sadayo Yabuki, and Congqiang Liu (1994): RIKEN Review 5, 3-4
    • Aral Co. (Ala'er Co.)
Akihiko Okada, Sadayo Yabuki, and Congqiang Liu (1994): RIKEN Review 5, 3-4
    • Bayin'gholin Autonomous Prefecture (Bayingolin Autonomous Prefecture; Bayinguoleng Autonomous Prefecture)
      • Ruoqiang Co. (Qakilik Co.; Chaqiliq Co.)
Yanling Tang (2005): Non-metallic deposits of Xinjiang, China [Zhongguo Xinjiang Fei Jinshu Kuangchuang]. Geological Publishing House (Beijing), 289 pp.
Bingxiao Li (1992): Journal of Lake Sciences 4(1), 48-55; Keqin Cai, Jianhua Gao, Dejun Zhao, and Youku Yu (1992): Acta Mineralogica Sinica 12(2), 143-151
Akihiko Okada, Sadayo Yabuki, and Congqiang Liu (1994): RIKEN Review 5, 3-4
    • Tulufan Prefecture (Turfan Prefecture; Turpan Prefecture)
      • Gaochang District
Yanling Tang (2005): Non-metallic deposits of Xinjiang, China [Zhongguo Xinjiang Fei Jinshu Kuangchuang]. Geological Publishing House (Beijing), 289 pp.
  • Erongo Region
    • Walvis Bay Rural Constituency
      • Okahandja Lineament Playas
Eckardt, F. D., & Drake, N. (2010). Introducing the Namib Desert Playas. In Sabkha Ecosystems (pp. 19-25). Springer Netherlands.
  • Valencian Community
    • Alicante
      • Aspe
Benavente, D.; de Jongh, M.; Cañaveras, J.C. (2021) Weathering Processes and Mechanisms Caused by Capillary Waters and Pigeon Droppings on Porous Limestones. Minerals 11, 18.
      • Orihuela
Benavente, D., Pla, C., Elena-Carbonell, J. M., Spairani, Y., & Grossi, C. M. (2018, September). Intensive damage due to salt crystallisation by rising damp in the Colegio Santo Domingo of Orihuela (Spain). In Conserving Cultural Heritage: Proceedings of the 3rd International Congress on Science and Technology for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage (TechnoHeritage 2017), May 21-24, 2017, Cadiz, Spain (p. 273). CRC Press.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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