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Colourless, white, greyish-white, yellowish, brown, faintly pink, lilac-rose; colourless in transmitted light.
3½ - 4½
Specific Gravity:
2.98 - 3.02
Crystal System:
Member of:
In allusion to the composition, containing principally magnesium.
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Classification of MagnesiteHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)

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

1 : A(XO3)

11 : Carbonates
3 : Carbonates of Mg

Physical Properties of MagnesiteHide

Transparent, Translucent
Colourless, white, greyish-white, yellowish, brown, faintly pink, lilac-rose; colourless in transmitted light.
3½ - 4½ on Mohs scale
On {1011}.
2.98 - 3.02 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.01 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of MagnesiteHide

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:
Very strong
Cobaltian material dichroic:
E = Violet-red
O = Flesh-red

Chemical Properties of MagnesiteHide

Common Impurities:

Crystallography of MagnesiteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
3m (3 2/m) - Hexagonal Scalenohedral
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.6632 Å, c = 15.015 Å
a:c = 1 : 3.22
Unit Cell V:
282.76 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
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.
Cell parameters are similar to those of smithsonite.

Crystallographic forms of MagnesiteHide

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

Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Image Loading

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

Type Occurrence of MagnesiteHide

Synonyms of MagnesiteHide

Other Language Names for MagnesiteHide

Varieties of MagnesiteHide

BreunneriteA ferroan variety of magnesite with the Mg:Fe atomic ratio ranging from 90:10 to 70:30.
Compare mesitine spar.
Ferroan MagnesiteAn iron-bearing variety of Magnesite.
GelmagnesiteColloidal gel form of Magnesite
Kolloid-magnesiteA collodial variety of Magnesite
Lithian MagnesiteA lithium-rich variety of magnesite.
Mesitine SparA ferroan variety of magnesite with the Mg : Fe atomic ratio ranging from 70 : 30 to 50 : 50.
Compare breunnerite.
MesititeIron rich variety
Nickeloan MagnesiteA nickel-rich variety of magnesite.
PrystineDense, fine grained, pure-white magnesite from Utah-Nevada border (also spelled prystyne).

Relationship of Magnesite to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
CalciteCaCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
Cobaltoan calcite-spherocobaltiteCobaltoan dolomite and cobaltoan calcite are frequently mislabeled as spherocobaltite.
OtaviteCdCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
RhodochrositeMnCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
SideriteFeCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
SmithsoniteZnCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
SpherocobaltiteCoCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

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

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

5.AB.05CalciteCaCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
5.AB.05OtaviteCdCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
5.AB.05RhodochrositeMnCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
5.AB.05SideriteFeCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
5.AB.05SmithsoniteZnCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
5.AB.05SpherocobaltiteCoCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
5.AB.10AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2Trig. 3 : R3
5.AB.10DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2Trig. 3 : R3
5.AB.10KutnohoriteCa(Mn,Mg,Fe)(CO3)2Trig. 3 : R3
5.AB.10MinrecorditeCaZn(CO3)2Trig. 3 : R3
5.AB.15AragoniteCaCO3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
5.AB.15CerussitePbCO3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
5.AB.15StrontianiteSrCO3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
5.AB.15WitheriteBaCO3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
5.AB.20VateriteCaCO3Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
5.AB.25HuntiteCaMg3(CO3)4Trig. 3 2 : R3 2
5.AB.30NorsethiteBaMg(CO3)2Trig. 3 2 : R3 2
5.AB.45BarytocalciteBaCa(CO3)2Mon. 2/m : P21/m
5.AB.50Carbocernaite(Ca,Na)(Sr,Ce,Ba)(CO3)2Orth. mm2
5.AB.55BenstoniteBa6Ca6Mg(CO3)13Trig. 3 : R3
5.AB.60JuangodoyiteNa2Cu(CO3)2Mon. 2/m : P21/b

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide 3m (3 2/m) : R3c 3m (3 2/m) : R3c 3m (3 2/m) : R3c 3m (3 2/m) : R3c 3m (3 2/m) : R3c 3m (3 2/m)éiteNi(CO3)Hex.

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

11.3.2BarringtoniteMgCO3 · 2H2OTric.
11.3.3NesquehoniteMgCO3 · 3H2OMon. 2/m : P21/m
11.3.4LansforditeMgCO3 · 5H2OMon. 2/m : P21/b
11.3.6ArtiniteMg2(CO3)(OH)2 · 3H2OMon.
11.3.7HydromagnesiteMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 4H2OMon.
11.3.8GiorgiositeMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 5-6H2O
11.3.9DypingiteMg5(CO3)4(OH)2 · 5H2OMon.

Fluorescence of MagnesiteHide

May exhibit pale green to pale blue fluorescence and phosphorescence.

Other InformationHide

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 petrologyHide

References for MagnesiteHide

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 MagnesiteHide

Localities for MagnesiteHide

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

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