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Fe2+SO4 · 7H2O
Colorless to white or ...
Named in 1850 from the Greek μελαντηρία for "copperas," meaning ferrous sulfate.
Melanterite Group.
Iron analogue of boothite and zincmelanterite.

Melanterite is a hydrated iron sulphate formed after the decomposition of pyrite or other iron minerals due to the action of surface waters. It is often found in mines as a post-mining formation on mine walls. Other iron sulphates such as halotrichite, chalcanthite, rozenite etc. are characteristic accompanying minerals.

May dehydrate to siderotile.

CAUTION: Melanterite is an indicator of the possible presence of sulfuric acid and should not be handled with bare hands or inhaled.

Classification of Melanterite

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

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
C : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) without additional anions, with H2O
B : With only medium-sized cations
Dana 7th ed.:

6 : AXO4·xH2O

25 : Sulphates
10 : Sulphates of Fe alone

Physical Properties of Melanterite

Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Translucent, Opaque
Colorless to white or green, also greenish-blue to blue with increased Cu content; colourless to pale green in transmitted light.
Usually a yellowish-white after exposure to air and moisture.
Hardness (Mohs):
Hardness Data:
Perfect on {001}, distinct on {110}.
1.89 g/cm3 (Measured)    1.893 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of Melanterite

Biaxial (+)
RI values:
nα = 1.470 - 1.471 nβ = 1.477 - 1.480 nγ = 1.486
Measured: 86° , Calculated: 80°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.016
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:

Chemical Properties of Melanterite

IMA Formula:
Fe2+SO4 · 7H2O Formula:
FeSO4 · 7H2O

Often contains minor Cu, which causes bluish colours.
Elements listed in formula:
Analytical Data:
Soluble in water.
Common Impurities:

Crystallography of Melanterite

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
2/m - Prismatic
Space Group:
Space Group Setting:
Cell Parameters:
a = 14.077 Å, b = 6.509 Å, c = 11.054 Å
β = 105.6°
a:b:c = 2.163 : 1 : 1.698
Unit Cell Volume:
V 975.54 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Crystals rare, equant to short prismatic parallel to [001] with prominent {110} and {001}; thick tabular {010} or {10_1}, also pseudo-octahedral due to equal development of {110}, {001}, and {_101}; more typically found as beard-like efflorescences, or as capillary to fibrous aggregates; it may also be stalactic or concretionary.
None reported.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:

Occurrences of Melanterite

Relationship of Melanterite to other Species

Other Members of Group:
Alpersite(Mg,Cu)[SO4] · 7H2O
BieberiteCoSO4 · 7H2O
BoothiteCuSO4 · 7H2O
MallarditeMnSO4 · 7H2O
Zincmelanterite(Zn,Cu,Fe)SO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.05DwornikiteNiSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05GunningiteZnSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05KieseriteMgSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05PoiteviniteCuSO4 · H2O
7.CB.05SzmikiteMn2+SO4 · H2O
7.CB.05SzomolnokiteFe2+SO4 · H2O
7.CB.05CobaltkieseriteCoSO4 · H2O
7.CB.07SanderiteMgSO4 · 2H2O
7.CB.10BonattiteCuSO4 · 3H2O
7.CB.15AplowiteCoSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15BoyleiteZnSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15IlesiteMn2+SO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15RozeniteFe2+SO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15StarkeyiteMgSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15DrobeciteCdSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.15CranswickiteMgSO4 · 4H2O
7.CB.20ChalcanthiteCuSO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.20JôkokuiteMn2+SO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.20PentahydriteMgSO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.20Siderotil(Fe,Cu)SO4 · 5H2O
7.CB.25BianchiteZnSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25ChvaleticeiteMnSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25FerrohexahydriteFe2+SO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25HexahydriteMgSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25MoorhouseiteCoSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.25NickelhexahydriteNiSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.30RetgersiteNiSO4 · 6H2O
7.CB.35BieberiteCoSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35BoothiteCuSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35MallarditeMn 2+SO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35ZincmelanteriteZnSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.35Alpersite(Mg,Cu2+)SO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.40EpsomiteMgSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.40GoslariteZnSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.40MorenositeNiSO4 · 7H2O
7.CB.45AlunogenAl2(SO4)3(H2O)12 · 5H2O
7.CB.45Meta-alunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 14H2O
7.CB.50AluminocoquimbiteAlFe(SO4)3 · 9H2O
7.CB.55CoquimbiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 9H2O
7.CB.55ParacoquimbiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 9H2O
7.CB.55Rhomboclase(H3O)Fe3+(SO4)2 · 3H2O
7.CB.60KorneliteFe23+(SO4)3 · 7H2O
7.CB.65QuenstedtiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 11H2O
7.CB.70LauseniteFe23+(SO4)3 · 5H2O
7.CB.75LishizheniteZnFe23+(SO4)4 · 14H2O
7.CB.75RömeriteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 14H2O
7.CB.80RansomiteCuFe23+(SO4)4 · 6H2O
7.CB.85ApjohniteMn2+Al2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85BíliniteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85DietrichiteZnAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85HalotrichiteFe2+Al2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85PickeringiteMgAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85RedingtoniteFe2+Cr2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.85WupatkiiteCoAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
7.CB.90MeridianiiteMgSO4 · 11H2O
25.10.1SzomolnokiteFe2+SO4 · H2O
25.10.2RozeniteFe2+SO4 · 4H2O
25.10.3Siderotil(Fe,Cu)SO4 · 5H2O
25.10.4FerrohexahydriteFe2+SO4 · 6H2O
25.10.6Rhomboclase(H3O)Fe3+(SO4)2 · 3H2O
25.10.7LauseniteFe23+(SO4)3 · 5H2O
25.10.8KorneliteFe23+(SO4)3 · 7H2O
25.10.9CoquimbiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 9H2O
25.10.10ParacoquimbiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 9H2O
25.10.11QuenstedtiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 11H2O
25.10.12FerricopiapiteFe3+0.67Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
25.10.13MetahohmanniteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 4H2O
25.10.14HohmanniteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 8H2O
25.10.15ButleriteFe3+SO4(OH) · 2H2O
25.10.16ParabutleriteFe3+SO4(OH) · 2H2O
25.10.17AmarantiteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 7H2O
25.10.18FibroferriteFe3+SO4(OH) · 5H2O
25.10.20RömeriteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 14H2O
25.10.21BíliniteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 22H2O
25.10.22CopiapiteFe2+Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O

Other Names for Melanterite

Other Information

Health Risks:
Contains sulfuric acid - avoid contact with skin, especially wet or moist skin, use gloves. Always wash hands after handling. Avoid inhaling dust when handling or breaking. Never lick or ingest. Always treat decrepitated pyrite (pyrite disease) as melanterite / sulfuric acid.

References for Melanterite

Reference List:
Beudant, F.S. (1832) Traité élémentaire de Minéralogie, second edition, 2 volumes: 2: 482 (as Mélantérie).

Chapman, E.J. (1843) Practical Mineralogy. London, Paris, and Leipzig: 14 (as Melantherite).

Haidinger, Wm. (1850) Handbuch der bestimmenden Mineralogie. Vienna, 2nd. Edition: 489 (as Melanterit).

Erofejeff (1867) Konigliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, Sitzber.: 56: 63.

Raimondi, A. (1878) Minéraux du Pérou: Catalogue raisonné d’une collection des principaux types minéraux de la République. 336pp., Paris: 212 (as Alcaparrosa verde).

Zepharovich (1879) Konigliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, Sitzber.: 79: 183.

Retgers (1889) Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie, Leipzig, Berlin: 3: 534.

Michel (1894) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 17: 204.

Edgren (1901) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 23: 329.

Schaller (1903) University of California, Department of Geology Bull.: 3: 191.

Pilipenko (1915) Bull. Imp. Tomsk. Univ., no. 63 [Min. Abs.: 2: 113 (1923)].

Goldschmidt, V. (1916) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 3: 111.

Larsen, E.S. (1921) The Microscopic Determination of the Nonopaque Minerals, First edition, USGS Bulletin 679: 120.

Collins (1923) Mineralogical Magazine: 20: 32.

Niggli and Faesy (1924) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 59: 258.

Vavrinecz (1927) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 66: 167.

Westenbrink (1927) Recueil des travaux chimiques des Pays-Bas et de la Belgique, Leyden: 46: 105.

Zsivny (1928) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 66: 651.

Vavrinecz (1929) Magyar Chemiai Folyóirat, Budapest: 35: 1.

Hey (1930) Mineralogical Magazine: 22: 413.

Eckel (1933) American Mineralogist: 18: 449.

Machatschki (1935) Zbl. Min.: 53.

Ungemach (1935) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 58: 159.

Simpson (1937) Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia: 23: 17.

Milton and Johnston (1938) Economic geology: 33: 749.

Ness (1940) Naturwissenschaften: 28: 78.

Mélon (1944) Ann. soc. géol. Belgique: 67: B56.

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.: 499-504.

Baur, W.H. (1964) On the crystal chemistry of salt hydrates. III. The determination of the crystal structure of FeSO4.7H2O (melanterite). Acta Cryst., 17:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (1970) National Bureau of Standards Monograph 25: Standard X-ray Diffraction Powder Patterns, section 8. (

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy: The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 611.

Peterson, R.C. (2003b) Dehydration of mine waste. The relationship among melanterite FeSO4·7H2O, siderotile FeSO4·5H2O and rozenite FeSO4·4H2O. Geological Association of Canada-Mineralogical Association of Canada-Society of Economic Geologists Abstracts Volume 28: 134-135.

Internet Links for Melanterite URL:
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Localities for Melanterite

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