Donate now to keep alive!Help|Log In|Register|
Home PageMindat NewsThe Mindat ManualHistory of MindatCopyright StatusManagement TeamContact UsAdvertise on Mindat
Donate to MindatSponsor a PageSponsored PagesTop Available PagesMindat AdvertisersAdvertise on Mindat
The most common minerals on earthMineral PhotographyThe Elements and their Minerals
Minerals by PropertiesMinerals by ChemistryAdvanced Locality SearchRandom MineralSearch by minIDLocalities Near MeSearch ArticlesSearch GlossaryMore Search Options
Search For:
Mineral Name:
Locality Name:
The Mindat ManualAdd a New PhotoRate PhotosLocality Edit ReportCoordinate Completion ReportAdd Glossary Item
StatisticsThe ElementsMember ListBooks & MagazinesMineral MuseumsMineral Shows & EventsThe Mindat DirectoryDevice Settings
Photo SearchPhoto GalleriesNew Photos TodayNew Photos YesterdayMembers' Photo GalleriesPast Photo of the Day Gallery


This page is currently not sponsored. Click here to sponsor this page.
John Wesley Powell, second Director of the USGS. Served from 1881-1894. Profile early in his term of office as Director
Yellow, straw-yellow, yellow-brown, brown, greenish yellow, grey, blue or black, colourless; black material is deep blue in transmitted light.
Sub-Adamantine, Resinous, Pearly
3½ - 4
Specific Gravity:
Crystal System:
Member of:
Named in 1891 by William Harlow Melville in honor of the American geologist and explorer, John Wesley Powell [March 24, 1834 Mount Morris, New York. USA – September 23, 1902 North haven, Maine, USA], second Director of the U.S. Geological Survey.
Isostructural with:
Powellite-Scheelite Series.

An uncommon secondary mineral, typically formed in the oxidation zones of molybdenum-bearing hydrothermal deposits, rarely in basalt cavities, tactites, and granite pegmatites.

Visit for gemological information about Powellite.

Hide all sections | Show all sections

Classification of PowelliteHide

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

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
G : Molybdates, Wolframates and Niobates
A : Without additional anions or H2O
Dana 7th ed.:

1 : AXO4

27 : Sulphites, Chromates, Molybdates and Tungstates
3 : Molybdates

Pronounciation of PowelliteHide

PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of PowelliteHide

Sub-Adamantine, Resinous, Pearly
Transparent, Translucent
Lustre sub-adamantine on crystal faces; greasy on fracture surfaces. Pearly lustre manifests on foliated pseudmorphous material.
Yellow, straw-yellow, yellow-brown, brown, greenish yellow, grey, blue or black, colourless; black material is deep blue in transmitted light.
May exhibit zoned colouration.
3½ - 4 on Mohs scale
Indistinct on {112} {011} and {001}.
4.26 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.255 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of PowelliteHide

Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.974 nε = 1.984
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.010
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
In deeply colored specimens (Houghton County, Michigan, USA):
O = Blue
E = Green

Chemical Properties of PowelliteHide

IMA Formula:
Common Impurities:

Crystallography of PowelliteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
4/m - Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 5.222(1) Å, c = 11.425(3) Å
a:c = 1 : 2.188
Unit Cell V:
312.92 ų
Crystals dipyramidal {111}, with {011} and {112}; less commonly flat tabular to paper-thin on {001}, exhibiting many minor forms. Form e sometimes striated parallel to the intersection with vertical plane {110}; diagonal striations parallel to {131} observed on e and W. Tetragonal-dipyramidal symmetry evident only in the zones of [111]. Forms crusts; pulverulent; ocherous; massive.
On synthetic material

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.

Type Occurrence of PowelliteHide

Place of Conservation of Type Material:
U.S. National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., USA: #80674.

Other Language Names for PowelliteHide


Relationship of Powellite to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
RaspitePb(WO4)Mon. 2/m : P21/b
ScheeliteCa(WO4)Tet. 4/m : I41/a
StolzitePb(WO4)Tet. 4/m : I41/a
WulfenitePb(MoO4)Tet. 4/m : I41/a
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

LaumontiteCaAl2Si4O12 · 4H2O
StilbiteThis name now refers to the minerals Stilbite-Ca and Stilbite-Na.
Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Stilbite56 photos of Powellite associated with Stilbite on
Scolecite41 photos of Powellite associated with Scolecite on
Fluorapophyllite-(K)36 photos of Powellite associated with Fluorapophyllite-(K) on
Szenicsite23 photos of Powellite associated with Szenicsite on
Stilbite-Ca21 photos of Powellite associated with Stilbite-Ca on
Molybdenite20 photos of Powellite associated with Molybdenite on
Quartz19 photos of Powellite associated with Quartz on
Apophyllite18 photos of Powellite associated with Apophyllite on
Brochantite11 photos of Powellite associated with Brochantite on
Calcite8 photos of Powellite associated with Calcite on

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

7.GA.05Fergusonite-(Y)YNbO4Tet. 4/m : I41/a
7.GA.05ScheeliteCa(WO4)Tet. 4/m : I41/a
7.GA.05StolzitePb(WO4)Tet. 4/m : I41/a
7.GA.05WulfenitePb(MoO4)Tet. 4/m : I41/a
7.GA.10Formanite-(Y)YTaO4Tet. 4/m : I41/a
7.GA.10Iwashiroite-(Y)Y(Ta,Nb)O4Mon. 2/m : P2/b
7.GA.15Paraniite-(Y)Ca2Y(AsO4)(WO4)2Tet. 4/m : I41/a

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide 4/m : I41/a

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

27.3.1LindgreniteCu3(MoO4)2(OH)2Mon. 2/m : P21/m
27.3.3WulfenitePb(MoO4)Tet. 4/m : I41/a
27.3.4KoechliniteBi2MoO6Orth. mm2 : Pna21
27.3.7Iriginite(UO2)Mo2O7 · 3H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcm
27.3.8Umohoite(UO2)MoO4 · 2H2OTric.
27.3.9MoluraniteH4U4+(UO2)3(MoO4)7 · 18H2O
27.3.10CousiniteMgU2Mo2O11 · 6H2O
27.3.11Calcurmolite(Ca,Na)2(UO2)3Mo2(O,OH)11 · nH2O
27.3.12TengchongiteCaO · 6UO3 · 2MoO3 · 12H2OOrth.
27.3.14FerrimolybditeFe2(MoO4)3 · nH2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmmn

Fluorescence of PowelliteHide

Creamy white or yellow to golden yellow (SW UV).

Other InformationHide

May replace molybdenite leaving a material with a foliated structure appearance. Alters to Ferrimolybdite.

Decomposed by HCl and HNO3.
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 PowelliteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Melville (1891) American Journal of Science: 41: 138.
Koenig and Hubbard (1893) American Journal of Science: 46: 356.
Michel (1894) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 17: 612.
Palache, C. (1899) American Journal of Science: 7: 367.
Pilipenko (1915) Bulletin of the Imperial Tomsk University, no. 63 [Min. Abs. (1923): 2: 109].
Larsen, E.S. (1921) The Microscopic Determination of the Nonopaque Minerals, First edition, USGS Bulletin 679: 122.
Zambonini (1923) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 58: 248.
Vegard (1926) Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 1: 1151.
Hintze, Carl (1889) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3B]: 4036.
Pough (1937) American Mineralogist: 22: 57.
Maucher (1938) Zs. Angew. Min.: 1 : 103.
Gianella (1941) University of Nevada Bull. 35, no. 6: 80.
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.: 1079-1081.
National Bureau of Standards Circular 539 (1956), 6, 22.
Bulletin of the Mineralogical and Geological Society, Prague (1982): 27: 197-200.
Hazen, R.M., L.W. Finger, and J.W.E. Mariathasan (1985) High-pressure crystal chemistry of scheelite-type tungstates and molybdates. Journal of Physical Chemistry Solids, 46, 253–263.
Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (2003) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume V. Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 813pp.: 563.

Internet Links for PowelliteHide

Localities for PowelliteHide

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

Mineral and/or Locality is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Copyright © and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2017, except where stated. relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions - Contact Us Current server date and time: November 24, 2017 03:40:35 Page generated: November 20, 2017 13:00:36
Go to top of page