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Yellowish-brown to greyish-brown, pale yellow to tannish, grey, brown, green, red, black and sometimes nearly colourless; tarnished iridescent at times; colourless to yellow and yellow-brown in transmitted light.
Vitreous, Silky, Pearly
3½ - 4½
Specific Gravity:
Crystal System:
Member of:
Named in 1845 by Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger from the Greek "σίδηρος" (sideros), "iron", in allusion to its composition.
Calcite Group. Magnesite-Siderite Series, Rhodochrosite-Siderite Series, Siderite-Smithsonite Series.

Crystals typically found as brown to tan rhombohedrons in clusters, faces often curved or composites; more often found as medium to dark brown massive fine-grained material or as massive crystalline material with exposed curved cleavage surfaces.

Fungi like Lichenothelia may oxidize iron to produce siderite, which is then a biomineral (e.g., Burford et al., 2003).

Visit for gemological information about Siderite.

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Classification of SideriteHide

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

A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
B : Alkali-earth (and other M2+) carbonates
Dana 7th ed.:

1 : A(XO3)

11 : Carbonates
13 : Carbonates of Fe

Pronounciation of SideriteHide

PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of SideriteHide

Vitreous, Silky, Pearly
Yellowish-brown to greyish-brown, pale yellow to tannish, grey, brown, green, red, black and sometimes nearly colourless; tarnished iridescent at times; colourless to yellow and yellow-brown in transmitted light.
3½ - 4½ on Mohs scale
Hardness Data:
Perfect on {1011}.
Irregular/Uneven, Conchoidal
3.96(1) g/cm3 (Measured)    3.932 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of SideriteHide

Uniaxial (-)
RI values:
nω = 1.875 nε = 1.633
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.242
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:

Chemical Properties of SideriteHide

Common Impurities:

Crystallography of SideriteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
3m (3 2/m) - Hexagonal Scalenohedral
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.6916 Å, c = 15.3796 Å
a:c = 1 : 3.278
Unit Cell V:
293.17 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Crystals usually rhombohedral {1011} or {0112}, often curved or with composite faces; also more rarely thin to thick tabular {0001}, prismatic [0001] with {1120}, or scalenohedral; most often found as massive material, either fine-grained in sedimentary settings or massively crystalline in metamorphic settings; may also be botryoidal or globular with a fibrous internal structure.
On {0112}, lamellar, uncommon, with translation gliding on {0001} or {1011}. On {0001}, rare.

Crystallographic forms of SideriteHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Siderite no.27 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Siderite no.50 - 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

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

Synonyms of SideriteHide

Other Language Names for SideriteHide

Varieties of SideriteHide

Ca-rich SideriteA calcian siderite, with up to 20 mol% of calcite.
Originally reported from Radstadt, Salzburg, Austria.
Kobalt-oligonspathA cobalt-bearing siderite.
Kolloid-sideriteA collodial variety of Siderite
Lady's SlipperAn epimorph of Siderite after Barite collected in reasonable numbers in the 19th century from the Virtuous Lady mine in Devon and widely distributed in collections worldwide. How the Siderite managed to remain unaltered while the Barite was subsequently d...
Manganoan Siderite
Mg-rich SideriteA magnesian variety of siderite
OligoniteAn unnecessary name for a manganoan variety of siderite, with up to 40% MnCO3 [Clark, 1993 - "Hey's Mineral Index"].
PistomesiteObsolete name for a magnesian variety of siderite with the Fe:Mg atomic ratio ranging from 70:30 to 50:50.
Originally reported from Thurnberg Mt., Flachau, Radstadt, Salzburg, Austria.
SideroplesiteObsolete name for a magnesian variety of siderite with the Fe : Mg atomic ratio ranging from 70 : 30 to 90 : 10.
SphärosideriteA microcrystalline, botryoidal variety of siderite
Wood iron (2)A fibrous variety of siderite

Zincian SideriteA zinc-bearing variety of siderite.

Relationship of Siderite to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
CalciteCaCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
MagnesiteMgCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
OtaviteCdCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
RhodochrositeMnCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
SmithsoniteZnCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
SpherocobaltiteCoCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

ClaysA group of minerals, common in soils.
CoalAn organic-rich-rock with less than 50% ash (by weight air dried) or more than 50% organic matter.
Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Quartz2,693 photos of Siderite associated with Quartz on
Calcite1,607 photos of Siderite associated with Calcite on
Pyrite1,355 photos of Siderite associated with Pyrite on
Sphalerite1,184 photos of Siderite associated with Sphalerite on
Galena832 photos of Siderite associated with Galena on
Chalcopyrite565 photos of Siderite associated with Chalcopyrite on
Fluorapatite448 photos of Siderite associated with Fluorapatite on
Fluorite363 photos of Siderite associated with Fluorite on
Baryte359 photos of Siderite associated with Baryte on
Dolomite347 photos of Siderite associated with Dolomite on

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

5.AB.05CalciteCaCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
5.AB.05MagnesiteMgCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3c
5.AB.05OtaviteCdCO3Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
5.AB.05RhodochrositeMnCO3Trig. 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.10KutnohoriteCaMn2+(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

11.13.2PyroauriteMg6Fe3+2(OH)16[CO3] · 4H2OTrig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
11.13.3Pyroaurite-2HMg6Fe3+2(OH)16(CO3) · 4H2OHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
11.13.4BrugnatelliteMg6Fe3+(CO3)(OH)13 · 4H2OHex.
11.13.5CoalingiteMg10Fe3+2(OH)24[CO3] · 2H2OTrig.
11.13.6AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2Trig. 3 : R3

Other InformationHide

Slighty soluble in water.
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:
An ore of iron when found in sufficient volumes to be economically recoverable.

Siderite in petrologyHide

References for SideriteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Gesner, C. (1565) De omni rerum fossilium genere, gemmis, lapidibus, metallis, etc. Tiguri (as Stahelreich Eisen).
Wallerius, J.G (1747) Mineralogia, eller Mineralriket. Stockholm (as Spatformig Jernmalm).
Cronstedt, A. (1758) Mineralogie; eller Mineral-Rikets Upstallning. Stockholm: 29 (as Stahlstein).
de Lisle, R. (1783) Cristallographie, ou description des formes propres à tous les corps du regne minéral. 4 volumes, Paris: 3: 281 (as Fer spatique).
Wollaston (1812) Phil. Trans.: 159.
Hausmann, J.F.L. (1813) Handbuch der Mineralogie 3 volumes, Göttingen. Second edition: 951, 952 (as Eisenspath).
Glocker, E.F. (1847) Generum et specierum mineralien secundum ordines naturals digestorum synopsis. Halle: 241.
Johnsen (1902) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart: II: 133.
Hutchinson (1903) Mineralogical Magazine: 13: 209.
Kreutz (1909) Mineralogical Magazine: 15: 232.
Goldschmidt, V. (1916) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 3: 107.
Honess (1918) American Journal of Science: 45: 201.
Wyckoff (1920) American Journal of Science: 50: 317.
Niggli (1921) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 56: 224.
Klerk (1926) Beiträge zur Krystallographie und Mineralogie, Heidelberg: 3: 85.
Schoklitsch (1935) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 90: 433.
Fornaseri (1941) Rendus soc. min. ital. (1941): 1: 60.
Wayland, R.G. (1942) Composition, specific gravity and refractive indices of rhodochrosite; rhodochrosite from Butte, Montana. American Mineralogist: 27: 614.
Rowland, R.A. and Jonas, E.C. (1949) Variations in differential thermal analysis curves of siderite. American Mineralogist: 34: 550.
Palache, C., Berman, H., and 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: 166-171.
Henderson, E.P. and Perry, S.H. (1958) Studies of seven siderites: Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum: 107: 339-403.
Goldsmith, J.R., Graf, D.L., Witters, J., and 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.
Effenberger, H., Mereiter, K., Zemann, J. (1981): Crystal structure refinements of magnesite, calcite, rhodochrosite, siderite, smithonite [sic], and dolomite, with discussion of some aspects of the stereochemistry of calcite type carbonates. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie 156, 233-243.
Gaines, R.V., Skinner, H.C.W., Foord, E.E., Mason, B., and Rosenzweig, A. (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy: The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 435.
Reviews in Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America: 11.
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.: 644.
Burford, E.P., Kierans, M., and Gadd, G.M. (2003) Geomycology: fungi in mineral substrata. Mycologist: 17(3): 98-107; DOI: 10.1017/S0269915X03003112
E. Boulard, F. Guyot, and 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.

Internet Links for SideriteHide

Localities for SideriteHide

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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