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This page kindly sponsored by Matt Zukowski
X = OH, Cl or F
From the Greek the greek ἀπατάω (apatao), to deceive or to be misleading, as apatite was often confused with other minerals (e.g. beryl, milarite).
"Apatite" is a field term for unidentified calcium phosphate members of the apatite group.
Most "apatite" is fluorapatite, whereas hydroxylapatite is much less common and chlorapatite is very rare.

"Apatite" crystals are short to long hexagonal prisms [0001], with {1010} and {1011} dominant; also thick tabular {0001}, frequently in the crystals of hydrothermal origin in pegmatites and veins, with {1010}, relatively large {0001}, and often also {1011} or low pyramids. Massive, coarse granular to compact. Globular or reniform at times with a sub-fibrous, scaly, or imperfectly columnar structure or as fibrous crusts; stalactitic; earthy; oolitic. May be rock-forming in beds of great extent; as nodular concretions in clays and shales; conglomeritic.

Apatite may be confused with beryl, milarite or phenakite.

Visit for gemological information about Apatite.

Classification of Apatite

Physical Properties of Apatite

Hardness (Mohs):
3.1 - 3.2 g/cm3 (Measured)    

Chemical Properties of Apatite


X = OH, Cl or F
Elements listed in formula:

Crystallography of Apatite

Crystal System:

Other Names for Apatite

Other Information

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

Apatite in petrology

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

References for Apatite

Reference List:
Davila, M. (1767) Ordre Second. Pierres Gypseuses. 2. in Catalogue syst. et raisonné des curiosités de la nature et de l’art qui composent de cabinet de M. Davila. 3 volumes, Paris. [as La Pierre Phosphorique]

de Lisle, R. (1772) Pierreux Cristaux. Espece V. La Chrysolite. Essai de cristallographie. Paris. [as Chrysolite ordinaire]

Sage, B.G. (1777) Améthiste Basaltine. Eléméns de Minéralogie Docimastique, second edition, 2 volumes: 1: 231. [as Améthiste Basaltine]

de Lisle, R. (1783) Gemmes. Espèce VII. Chysolite ordinaire ou proprement dire. 2. Cristallographie, ou description des formes propres à tous les corps du regne minéral. 4 volumes, Paris: 2: 254, 271. [as Chrysolite ordinaire]

Gerhards, C.A. (1786) Erster Anhang. Von einigen noch nicht genau bestimmten und ganz neu entdecken Mineralien. in Grundriss des Mineralsystems, Christian Friedrich Himburg, Berlin: 281-287. [as Apatit]

Klaproth (1788) Bergmännisches Journal, Freiberg (Neues Bergmännisches Journal): 294. [as Phosphorsaurer-Kalk]

Proust (1788) Le Journal de physique et le radium, Paris: 32: 241. [as Phosphate calcaire]

Werner (1788) Bergmännisches Journal, Freiberg (Neues Bergmännisches Journal): 576. [as Apatit]

Hoffmann, C.A.S. (1789) Mineralsystem des Herrn Inspektor Werners mit dessen Erlaubnis herausgegeben von C.A.S. Hoffmann. Bergmännisches Journal: 1: 369-398. [as Apatit]

Pelletier (1790) Annales de chimie, Paris: 7.

Werner (1790) Bergmännisches Journal, Freiberg (Neues Bergmännisches Journal): 74. [as Spargelgrüne Steinkrystalle aus Spanien nähern Apatit]

Kirwan, R. (1794) Elements of Mineralogy, second edition: 1: 129. [as Phosphorite]

Abildgaard (1798) Moll’s Berg.-Hütten, Jb.: 2: 432. [as Moroxite]

Vauquelin (1798) Annales de chimie, Paris: 26: 123. [as Chaux phosphatatée]

Abildgaard (1800) Annales de chimie, Paris: 32: 195. [as Asparagolithe]

Karsten, D.L.G. (1800) Mineralogische Tabellen, Berlin. First edition: 36. [applied to all varieties except Moroxite]

Trommsdorf (1800) J. de pharm.: 8: 153. [as Sächsischer Beryll and Augustit]

Haüy, R.J. (1801) Chaux phosphatée. 1. Traité de minéralogie. First edition: in 4 volumes with atlas in fol.: 2. [all varieties, including moroxite]

Karsten, D.L.G. (1808) Mineralogische Tabellen, Berlin, second edition: 52. [as Phosphorit]

Emmons (1838) Rep. Geol., New York: 252. [as Eupyrchroite]

Hermann (1844) Journal für praktische Chemie, Leipzig: 31: 101. [as Talkapatit]

Henry, T.H. (1850) XVII. On francolite, a supposed new mineral. Philosophical Magazine Series: 3: 241, 134-135.

Bromeis (1851) Ann. Chem. Pharm.: 79. [as Osteolith]

Dana, J.D. (1854) V. Phosphates, Arsenates, Antimonates, Nitrates. 1. Anhydrous. 1. Apatite Group. 1. in A System of Mineralogy Forth Edition, George P. Putnam and Co., New York and London: 396-399.

Shepard (1856) American Journal of Science: 22: 96. [as Pyroguanite, Glaubapatite]

Nordenskiöld (1857) Moskovskoe Obshchestvo Ispytatelei Prirody (Société impériale des naturalists de Moscou): 30: 217, 224. [as Lazur-apatit]

Rammelsberg, C.F. (1860) Apatit. in Handbuch der Mineralchemie, Wilhelm Engelmann, Leipzig: 351-355.

Phipson (1862) Journal of the Chemical Society, London: 15: 277. [as Sombrerite]

Dana, J.D., Brush, G.J. (1869) Apatite. in A System of Mineralogy, Fifth Edition, John Wiley and Son, New York: 530-535.

Roscoe and Schorlemmer (1877) Treat. on Chem: 1: 459. [as Estramadurite]

Viola (1905) Rendus comitato geologico d’Italia, Rome, Bollettino: 6: 106. [optical anomalies]

Chirvinsky (1907) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paläontologie, Stuttgart: 279. [optical anomalies]

Lacroix, A. (1910) Minéralogie de la France et des ses colonies, Paris. 5 volumes: vol. 4: 558 [optical anomalies], 561. [phosphate rock deps.]

Doelter, C. (1911-1931) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 3, [1]: 333, 354.

Brauns (1916) Jb. Min., Beil.-Bd.: 41: 73. [optical anomalies]

Bellucci and Grassi (1919) Gazzetta chimica italiana, Rome: 49: 232.

Ramdohr, P. (1919) Jb. Preuss. Geol. Landesanst.: 40: 284.

Simpson (1920) Mineralogical Magazine: 19: 29.

Zambonini (1923) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 58: 226.

Bornemann-Starinkevitch (1924) Comptes rendus de l’académie des sciences de l’U.R.S.S., n.s.: 39.

Fersman (1924) Comptes rendus de l’académie des sciences de l’U.R.S.S., n.s.: 42.

Hintze, C. (1924) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [4A]: 562.

Shannon and Larsen (1925) American Journal of Science: 9: 250.

Fersman (1928) Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Beilage.-Bd.: 55: 40. [as Cerapatite]

Simpson (1929) Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia: 15: 99.

Alfani (1932) Periodico de Mineralogia-Roma: 3: 220.

Dittler and Hueber (1932) Annalen des naturhistorischen Staats-Museum: 46: 185.

Simpson (1933) Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia: 20: 47.

Foshag, W.F. (1936) New mineral names. American Mineralogist: 21: 269-272.

Gruner and McConnell (1937) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 97: 208.

McConnell (1937) American Mineralogist: 22: 977.

Borneman-Starinkevitch (1938) Comptes rendus de l’académie des sciences de l’U.R.S.S., n.s.: 19: 253.

Deans (1938) Mineralogical Magazine: 25: 135.

McConnell, Duncan (1938), A structural investigation of the isomorphism of the apatite group. American Mineralogist: 23: 1-19.

Belov (1939) Comptes rendus de l’académie des sciences de l’U.R.S.S., n.s.: 22: 89.

Thewlis (1939) Transactions of the Faraday Society: 35: 358.

Mansfield (1940) American Journal of Science: 238: 863. [phosphate rock deps.]

McConnell and Gruner (1940) American Mineralogist: 25: 157.

Mason (1941) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 63: 383.

Minguzzi (1941) Periodico de Mineralogia-Roma: 12: 343.

Sahama (1941) Bull. Comm.. géol. Finlande: no. 126: 50.

Dihn and Klement (1942) Zeitschrift für Elektrochemie und angewandte physikalische Chemie, Halle a.S.: 48: 331.

McConnell (1943) Geological Society of America Bulletin: 54: 707. [phosphate rock deps.]

Volodchenkova and Melentiev (1943) Comptes rendus de l’académie des sciences de l’U.R.S.S., n.s.: 39: 34.

Gordon (1944) Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences, Philadelphia: 96: 333.

Hudson, Cherkes, and Buchwald (1945) Journal of Urology: 53: 654. [sulfatian in urinary tracts]

Jolibois and Hébert (1946) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 222: 569.

Pieruccini (1947) Att. Soc. tosc.: 54.

Afanasev (1948) Comptes rendus de l’académie des sciences de l’U.R.S.S., n.s: 62: 677.

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.: 878.

Kay, M.I., Young, R.A., Posner, A.S. (1964) Crystal structure of hydroxyapatite. Nature: 204: 1050-1052.

Portnov, A.M., Gorobets, B.S. (1969) Luminescence of apatite fro different rock types. Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR: 184: 110-113.

McConnell, D. (1973) Apatite, its Crystal Chemistry, Mineralogy, Utilization, and Geologic and Biologic Occurrences. Springer-Verlag, New York, N.Y.

Lang, A.R., Walmsley, J.C. (1983) Apatite inclusions in natural diamond coat. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 9: 6-8.

Farver, J.R., Gletti, B.J. (1989) Oxygen and strontium diffusion kinetics in apatite and potential application to thermal history determinations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 53: 1621-1631.

Hogarth, D.D. (1989) Pyrochlore, apatite and amphibole: distinctive minerals in carbonatite. In K. Bell, Ed., Carbonatites: Genesis and Evolution: 105-148. Unwin Hyman Ltd., London.

Hughes, J.M., Cameron, M., Crowley, K.D. (1989) Structural variations in natural F, OH, and Cl apatites. American Mineralogist: 74: 870-876.

Hughes, J.M., Cameron, M., Crowley, K.D. (1990) Crystal structures of natural ternary apatites: Solid solution in the Ca5(PO4)3X (X=F, OH, Cl) system. American Mineralogist: 75: 295-304.

Elliott, J.C. (1994): Structure and chemistry of the apatites and other calcium orthophosphates. Elservier, Amsterdam, 389 pp.

Fleet, M.E., Pan, Y. (1997) Rare earth elements in apatite: uptake from H2O-bearing phosphate-fluoride melts and role of volatile components. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 61: 4645-4760.

Jonckheere, R., Wagner, G. (2000) On the occurrence of anomalous fission tracks in apatite and titanite American Mineralogist: 85: 1744-1753.

Hughes, J.M., Rakovan, J. (2002) The crystal structure of apatite, Ca5(PO4)3(F,OH,Cl). In Phosphates - Geochemical, Geobiological, and Materials Importance (M.L. Kohn, J. Rakovan, and J.M. Hughes, Eds.). Rev. Mineral. Geochem.: 48: 1-12.

Pan, Y., Fleet, M.E. (2002) Compositions of the apatite group minerals: substitution mechanisms ansd controlling factors. In Phosphates. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry (M.J. Kohn, J. Rakovan and J.M. Hughes, Eds.) Reviews in Mineralogy: 48: 13-49.

Waychunas, G. (2002) Apatite luminescence. Reviews in Mineralogy and geochemistry: 48: 701-742.

Flora, N.J., Yoder, C.H., Jenkins, H.D.B. (2003) Lattice energies of apatites and estimation of ΔH1°(PO3- 4 g). Inorganic Chemistry: 34: 499-517.

Dorozhkin, S.V. (2009): Calcium orthophosphates in nature, biology and medicine. Materials 2, 399-498.

Pasero, M., Kampf, A.R., Ferraris, C., Pekov, I.V., Rakovan, J.R., White, T.J. (2010) Nomenclature of the apatite supergroup minerals. European Journal of Mineralogy: 22: 163-179.

Hovis, G.L., Scott, B.T., Altomare, C.M., Leaman, A.R., Morris, M.D., Tomaino, G.P., McCubbin, F.M. (2014) Thermal expansion of fluorapatite-hydroxylapatite crystalline solutions. American Mineralogist: 99: 2171-2175.

Hughes, J.M., Heffernan, K.M., Goldoff, B., Nekvasil, H. (2014) Cl-rich fluorapatite, devoid of OH, from the Three Peaks Area, Utah: the first reported structure of natural Cl-rich fluorapatite. The Canadian Mineralogist: 52: 643-651.

Hughes, J.M. (2015) The many facets of apatite. American Mineralogist: 100: 1033-1039.

Hughes, J.M., Rakovan, J.F. (2015). Structurally robust, chemically diverse: apatite and apatite supergroup minerals. Elements 11, 165-170.

Teiber, H., Marks, M.A.W., Arzamastsev, A.A., Wenzel, T., Markl, G. (2015) Compositional variation in apatite from various host rocks: clues with regards to source composition and crystallization conditions. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie - Abhandlungen: 192: 151-167.

Internet Links for Apatite URL:
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Localities for Apatite

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.
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