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Magnesite

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Formula:
MgCO3
Colour:
Colourless, white, greyish-white, yellowish, brown, faintly pink, lilac-rose; colourless in transmitted light.
Lustre:
Vitreous
Hardness:
3½ - 4½
Specific Gravity:
2.98 - 3.02
Crystal System:
Trigonal
Member of:
Name:
In allusion to the composition, containing principally magnesium.

Classification of Magnesite

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
5.AB.05

5 : CARBONATES (NITRATES)
A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
B : Alkali-earth (and other M2+) carbonates
14.1.1.2

14 : ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
1 : A(XO3)
11.3.1

11 : Carbonates
3 : Carbonates of Mg

Physical Properties of Magnesite

Vitreous
Transparency:
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Colourless, white, greyish-white, yellowish, brown, faintly pink, lilac-rose; colourless in transmitted light.
Streak:
White
Hardness:
3½ - 4½ on Mohs scale
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Perfect
On {1011}.
Fracture:
Conchoidal
Density:
2.98 - 3.02 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.01 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of Magnesite

Type:
Uniaxial (-)
RI values:
nω = 1.700 nε = 1.509
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.191
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Moderate
Dispersion:
Very strong
Pleochroism:
Visible
Comments:
Cobaltian material dichroic:
E = Violet-red
O = Flesh-red

Chemical Properties of Magnesite

Formula:
MgCO3
Common Impurities:
Fe,Mn,Ca,Co,Ni,ORG

Crystallography of Magnesite

Crystal System:
Trigonal
Class (H-M):
3m (3 2/m) - Hexagonal Scalenohedral
Space Group:
R3c
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.6632 Å, c = 15.015 Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 3.22
Unit Cell V:
282.76 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
6
Morphology:
Crystals usually rhombohedral {1011}, also {0112}; prismatic rare [0001] with {1120} and {0001}, or tabular {0001}. Scalenohedral rare. Massive, coarse- to fine-granular, very compact and porcelainous; earthy to rather chalky; lamellar; coarsely fibrous.
Twinning:
Unproven.
Comment:
Cell parameters are similar to those of smithsonite.

Crystallographic forms of Magnesite

Crystal Atlas:
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Magnesite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Magnesite no.5 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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X-Ray Powder Diffraction

Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
2.742 (100)
2.503 (18)
2.102 (45)
1.939 (12)
1.700 (35)
1.338 (8)
0.9134 (8)

Type Occurrence of Magnesite

Synonyms of Magnesite

Other Language Names for Magnesite

Varieties of Magnesite

Breunnerite

A ferroan variety of magnesite with the Mg:Fe atomic ratio ranging from 90:10 to 70:30.
Compare mesitine spar.

Originally reported from Pfitsch pass, Zamser Grund (Zams valley), Ziller valley, North Tyrol, Tyrol, Austria and Großer Greiner Mt., Zemmgru...

Ferroan Magnesite

An iron-bearing variety of Magnesite.

Gelmagnesite

Colloidal gel form of Magnesite

Kolloid-magnesite

A collodial variety of Magnesite

Lithian Magnesite

A lithium-rich variety of magnesite.

Mesitine Spar

A ferroan variety of magnesite with the Mg : Fe atomic ratio ranging from 70 : 30 to 50 : 50.
Compare breunnerite.

Mesitite

Iron rich variety

Nickeloan Magnesite

A nickel-rich variety of magnesite.

Prystine

Dense, fine grained, pure-white magnesite from Utah-Nevada border (also spelled prystyne).

Relationship of Magnesite to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
CalciteCaCO3
Cobaltoan calcite-spherocobaltiteCobaltoan dolomite and cobaltoan calcite are frequently mislabeled as spherocobaltite.
GaspéiteNi(CO3)
OtaviteCdCO3
RhodochrositeMnCO3
SideriteFeCO3
SmithsoniteZnCO3
SpherocobaltiteCoCO3
Forms a series with:

Common Associates

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Uvite Series241 photos of Magnesite associated with Uvite Series on mindat.org.
Quartz87 photos of Magnesite associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Dolomite60 photos of Magnesite associated with Dolomite on mindat.org.
Calcite29 photos of Magnesite associated with Calcite on mindat.org.
Talc21 photos of Magnesite associated with Talc on mindat.org.
Florencite-(Ce)20 photos of Magnesite associated with Florencite-(Ce) on mindat.org.
Hematite20 photos of Magnesite associated with Hematite on mindat.org.
Svanbergite18 photos of Magnesite associated with Svanbergite on mindat.org.
Fluorite17 photos of Magnesite associated with Fluorite on mindat.org.
Serpentine Subgroup16 photos of Magnesite associated with Serpentine Subgroup on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping

5.AB.05CalciteCaCO3
5.AB.05GaspéiteNi(CO3)
5.AB.05OtaviteCdCO3
5.AB.05RhodochrositeMnCO3
5.AB.05SideriteFeCO3
5.AB.05SmithsoniteZnCO3
5.AB.05SpherocobaltiteCoCO3
5.AB.10AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
5.AB.10DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2
5.AB.10KutnohoriteCa(Mn,Mg,Fe)(CO3)2
5.AB.10MinrecorditeCaZn(CO3)2
5.AB.15AragoniteCaCO3
5.AB.15CerussitePbCO3
5.AB.15StrontianiteSrCO3
5.AB.15WitheriteBaCO3
5.AB.20VateriteCaCO3
5.AB.25HuntiteCaMg3(CO3)4
5.AB.30NorsethiteBaMg(CO3)2
5.AB.35AlstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.40OlekminskiteSr(Sr,Ca,Ba)(CO3)2
5.AB.40ParalstoniteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.45BarytocalciteBaCa(CO3)2
5.AB.50Carbocernaite(Ca,Na)(Sr,Ce,Ba)(CO3)2
5.AB.55BenstoniteBa6Ca6Mg(CO3)13
5.AB.60JuangodoyiteNa2Cu(CO3)2

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals Grouping

11.3.2BarringtoniteMgCO3 · 2H2O
11.3.3NesquehoniteMgCO3 · 3H2O
11.3.4LansforditeMgCO3 · 5H2O
11.3.5PokrovskiteMg2(CO3)(OH)2
11.3.6ArtiniteMg2(CO3)(OH)2 · 3H2O
11.3.7HydromagnesiteMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 4H2O
11.3.8GiorgiositeMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 5-6H2O
11.3.9DypingiteMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 5H2O
11.3.10EiteliteNa2Mg(CO3)2
11.3.11Mcguinnessite(Mg,Cu)2(CO3)(OH)2

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)

14.1.1.1CalciteCaCO3
14.1.1.3SideriteFeCO3
14.1.1.4RhodochrositeMnCO3
14.1.1.5SpherocobaltiteCoCO3
14.1.1.6SmithsoniteZnCO3
14.1.1.7OtaviteCdCO3
14.1.1.8GaspéiteNi(CO3)

Fluorescence of Magnesite

May exhibit pale green to pale blue fluorescence and phosphorescence.

Other Information

Notes:
Triboluminescent at times.

Slightly affected by cold acids. Readily soluble in warm HCl with effervescence. Slightly soluble in water with the solubility increasing with the presence of NaCl, Na2SO4, or CO2.
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

Magnesite in petrology

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

References for Magnesite

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Mitchell and Lampadius (1800) 3: 241 (as Kohlensaure Talkerde).
Werner: Ludwig, C.F. (1803-1804) Handbuch der Mineralogie nach A.G. Werner. 2 volumes, Leipzig: 2: 154 (as Reine Talkerde, Talcum carbonatum).
Klaproth, M.H. (1810) Untersuchung des Magnesits aus Steiermark, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Fünfter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 97-104.
von Koksharov, N. (1875) Materialien zur Mineralogie Russlands. 11 volumes with atlas: vol. 7: 181.
Weiss (1885) Jb. Preuss. Geol. Landesanst.: 113.
Hintze, C. (1889) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3A]: 3113.
Johnsen (1902) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart: II: 133, 142.
Johnsen (1903) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, StuttgartP: 13.
Ratz analysis in: Redlich and Cornu (1908) Zeitschrift für praktische Geologie, Berlin, hale a.S.: 16: 145.
Bucking (1911) Kali: 5: 221.
Doelter, C. (1911-1931) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 1: 220.
Ford (1917) Trans. Conn. Ac. Arts Sc.: 22: 211.
Gaubert (1917) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 164: 46.
Goldschmidt, V. (1918) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text, vol. 5: 175.
Honess (1918) American Mineralogist: 45: 210.
Gaubert (1919) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 42: 88.
Niggli (1921) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 56: 230.
Dobbel, L.M. (1923) Magnesite crystals from Orangedale, Nova Scotia. American Mineralogist: 8: 223.
Rogers, A.F. (1923) Euhedral magnesite crystals from San Jose, California. American Mineralogist: 8: 138.
Pardillo (1924) Treballs mus. cienc. nat. Barcelona: 9: 5.
Bradley (1925) California Bureau of Mines Bulletin 79.
Niinomy (1925) Economic Geology: 20: 25.
Barth (1927) Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift, Oslo: 9: 271.
Lonsdale, J.T. (1930) Euhedral magnesite crystals from Winkler County, Texas. American Mineralogist: 15: 238.
Pavlovitch (1931) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 54: 95.
Du Rietz (1935) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 57: 133.
Koch and Zombory (1935) Földtani Közlöny, Budapest (Magyarhone Földtani Torsulat): 64: 160.
Schoklitsch (1935) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 90: 433.
Petrascheck (1936) Fortschritte der Mineralogie, Kristallographie und Petrographie, Jena: 20: 77.
Fenoglio, Sanero (1941) Periodico de Mineralogia-Roma: 12: 83.
Fornaseri (1941) Rend. Soc. min. ital.: 1: 60.
Lacroix (1941) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 213: 261.
Wayland, R.G. (1942) Composition, specific gravity and refractive indices of rhodochrosite; rhodochrosite from Butte, Montana. American Mineralogist: 27: 614.
Faust, Callaghan (1948) Bulletin of the Geological Society of America: 59: 11.
Murdoch, Webb (1948) California Division of Mines Bulletin 136: 196.
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: 162-166.
Goldsmith, J.R., Graf, D.L., Witters, J., Northrop, D.A. (1962) Studies in the system CaCO3•MgCO3•FeCO3: (1) Phase relations; (2) A method for major element spectrochemical analyses; and (3) Composition of some ferroan dolomites. Journal of Geology: 70: 659-688.
Irving, A.J., Wyllie, P.J. (1975) Subsolidus and melting relationships for calcite, magnesite and the join CaCO3 - MgCO3 to 36 kbar. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 39: 35-53.
Effenberger, H., Mereiter, K., Zemann, J. (1981) Crystal structure of magnesite, calcite, rhodochrosite, siderite, smithonite [sic], and dolomite, with discussion of some aspects of the stereochemistry of calcium type carbonates. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 156: 233-243.
Reviews in Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America: 11.
Katsura, T., Tsuchida, Y., Ito, E., Yagi, T., Utsumi, W., Akimoto, S. (1991) Stability of magnesite under lower mantle conditions. Proceedings of the Japan Academy: 67: 57-60.
Gillet, P. (1993) Stability of magnesite (MgCO3) at mantle pressure and temperature condition: A Raman spectroscopic study. American Mineralogist: 78: 1328-1331.
Zhang, J., Martinez, I., Guyot, F., Gillet, P., Saxena, S.K. (1997) X-ray diffraction study of magnesite at high pressure and high temperature. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 24: 122-130.
Schroll, E. (2002) Genesis of magnesites in the view of isotope geochemistry- IGCP 443 Magnesite and Talc. Bole de Ciencias, Special Issue 54, Newsletter No. 2, Curitiba, Brazil (2002): 59-68.
Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., Nichols, M.C. (2003) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume V. Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 813pp.: 421.
E. Boulard, F. Guyot, G. Fiquet (2012) The influence on Fe content on Raman spectra and unit cell parameters of magnesite–siderite solid solutions. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 39: 239-246.
Scott, H.P., Doczy, V.M., Frank, M.R., Hasan, M., Lin, J.F., Yang, J. (2013) Magnesite formation from MgO and CO2 at the pressures and temperatures of Earth’s mantle. American Mineralogist: 98: 1211-1218.

Internet Links for Magnesite

mindat.org URL:
https://www.mindat.org/min-2482.html
Please feel free to link to this page.
Specimens:
The following Magnesite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Magnesite

Mineral and/or Locality  
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