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James Thomas Humberstone
K3Na7Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2 · 6H2O
For chemist James Thomas Humberstone (Dover, July 8 1850 - Iquique, June 12, 1939) who invented the Shanks System, a method to make sodium carbonate.
This page provides mineralogical data about Humberstonite.

Classification of Humberstonite

Approval Year:

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 Humberstonite

Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Hardness (Mohs):
2.252 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.252 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of Humberstonite

Uniaxial (-)
RI values:
nω = 1.474() 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 Humberstonite

IMA Formula:
K3Na7Mg2(SO4)6(NO3)2 · 6H2O
Elements listed in formula:

Crystallography of Humberstonite

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 Volume:
V 2,512.26 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)

Type Occurrence of Humberstonite

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:

Relationship of Humberstonite to other Species

7.DG.05DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
7.DG.10ClinoungemachiteK3Na8Fe3+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 10H2O
7.DG.10UngemachiteK3Na8Fe3+(SO4)6(NO3)2 · 6H2O
7.DG.15BentoriteCa6Cr2(SO4)3(OH)12 · 26H2O
7.DG.15CharlesiteCa6Al2(SO4)2B(OH)4(OH,O)12 · 26H2O
7.DG.15EttringiteCa6Al2(SO4)3(OH)12 · 26H2O
7.DG.15JouravskiteCa3Mn4+(SO4)(CO3)(OH)6 · 12H2O
7.DG.15SturmaniteCa6Fe23+(SO4)2.5[B(OH)4](OH)12 · 25H2O
7.DG.15ThaumasiteCa3Si(OH)6(SO4)(CO3) · 12H2O
7.DG.15CarraraiteCa3Ge(SO4)(CO3)(OH)6 · 12H2O
7.DG.15BuryatiteCa3(Si,Fe3+,Al)SO4B(OH)4(OH,O)6 · 12H2O
7.DG.20RapidcreekiteCa2(SO4)(CO3) · 4H2O
7.DG.20KorkinoiteCa4(SO4)2(CO3)2 · 9(H2O)
7.DG.25TatarskiteCa6Mg2(SO4)2(CO3)2(OH)4Cl4 · 7H2O
7.DG.30NakauriiteCu8(SO4)4(CO3)(OH)6 · 48H2O
7.DG.35ChessexiteNa4Ca2Mg3Al8(SiO4)2(SO4)10(OH)10 · 40H2O
7.DG.40CarlosruiziteK3Na2Na3Mg5(IO3)6(SeO4)6 · 6H2O
7.DG.40FuenzalidaiteK3Na5Mg5(IO3)6(SO4)6 · 6H2O
7.DG.45Chelyabinskite(Ca,Mg)3(SO4,CO3)2[Si(OH)6] · 9H2O (?)
13.4NitromagnesiteMg(NO3)2 · 6H2O
13.5NitrocalciteCa(NO3)2 · 4H2O
13.7ButtgenbachiteCu36(NO3)2Cl6(OH)64 · nH2O
13.8SveiteKAl7(NO3)4(OH)16Cl2 · 8H2O
13.9DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
13.11Mbobomkulite(Ni,Cu)Al4(NO3,SO4)2(OH)12 · 3H2O
13.12Hydrombobomkulite(Ni,Cu)Al4(NO3)2(SO4)(OH)12 · 14H2O
13.13Nickelalumite(Ni,Cu)Al4(SO4,(NO3)2)(OH)12 · 3H2O

Other Names for Humberstonite

Name in Other Languages:

Other Information

Other Information:
soluble in water and insoluble in acetone and 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 Humberstonite

Reference List:
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 Humberstonite URL:
Please feel free to link to this page.

Localities for Humberstonite

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.
(TL) indicates type locality for a valid mineral species. (FRL) indicates first recorded locality for everything else. ? indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. All other localities listed without reference should be considered as uncertain and unproven until references can be found.
Chile (TL)
  • Antofagasta Region
    • Antofagasta Province
      • Santa Catalina
Geol.Soc.Amer., Progr. annual meeting (1967) p. 59
    • Morro Moreno
    • Tocopilla Province
      • 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)
      • Tocopilla District
samples analysed by Gerhard Mohn and Joy Desor
  • Xinjiang Autonomous Region
    • 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)
      • Tulufan Co. (Turfan Co.; Turpan Co.)
Yanling Tang (2005): Non-metallic deposits of Xinjiang, China [Zhongguo Xinjiang Fei Jinshu Kuangchuang]. Geological Publishing House (Beijing), 289 pp.
  • Erongo Region
    • Swakopmund District
      • Okahandja Lineament Playas
Eckardt, F. D., & Drake, N. (2010). Introducing the Namib Desert Playas. In Sabkha Ecosystems (pp. 19-25). Springer Netherlands.
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