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This page kindly sponsored by Christian Auer
Franz Xaver von Wulfen
Orange-yellow, yellow, ...
Adamantine, Sub-Adamantine, Resinous
2½ - 3
Member of:
Re-named in 1845 by Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger in honor of Franz Xavier von Wulfen [November 5, 1728 Belgrade, Serbia - March 16, 1805 Klagenfurt, Austria], botanist, mineralogist, alpinist and member of the Order of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit). Wulfen authored a monograph on the lead ores of Bleiberg, Austria. This mineral was originally named "plumbum spatosum flavo-rubrum, ex Annaberg, Austria" in 1772 by Ignaz von Born. In 1781, Joseph Franz Edler von Jacquin called the mineral "Kärntherischer bleispath". Other names were later proposed.
Stolzite-Wulfenite Series.

A secondary mineral typically found as thin tabular crystals with a bright orange-red, yellow-orange, yellow or yellowish grey colour in the oxidised zones of hydrothermal lead deposits.

In unique situations it may precipitate from volcanic fumarole gas, in temperatures from 400 to 550oC (Africano et al., 2002).

Visit for gemological information about Wulfenite.

Classification of Wulfenite

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

Physical Properties of Wulfenite

Adamantine, Sub-Adamantine, Resinous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent, Opaque
Orange-yellow, yellow, honey-yellow, reddish-orange, rarely colourless, grey, brown, olive-green and even black.
Hardness (Mohs):
2½ - 3
Hardness Data:
Distinct on {011}; indistinct on {001}, {013}.
Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
6.5 - 7.5 g/cm3 (Measured)    6.88 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of Wulfenite

Uniaxial (-)
RI values:
nω = 2.405 nε = 2.283
Measured: 8°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.122
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Optical Extinction:
Orange and yellow
May be anomalously biaxial.

Chemical Properties of Wulfenite

IMA Formula:
Elements listed in formula:
Common Impurities:

Crystallography of Wulfenite

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
4/m - Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Space Group Setting:
Cell Parameters:
a = 5.433 Å, c = 12.110 Å
a:c = 1 : 2.229
Unit Cell Volume:
V 357.46 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Crystals commonly thin tabular {001}, square, exhibiting {001}, with flat or rounded vicinal faces, {010}; may be elongated [001], or pyramidal {011}, with the pyramid truncating or replacing {001}; more rarely pseudo-octahedral; and very rarely either cubic or short prismatic pyramidal. Commonly exhibits additional forms, some exhibiting pyramidal hemihedrism; granular, massive.
Twinning on {001} as contact twins; common but rarely seen due to the typical {001} morphology.
Class may be 4/m or -4; space Group may be I41/a or I-4. Cell parameters for space group I-4: a = 5.441, c = 12.068 A.

Crystallographic forms of Wulfenite

Crystal Atlas:
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Wulfenite no.10 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Wulfenite no.39 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Wulfenite no.44 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Wulfenite no.54 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Wulfenite no.68 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Wulfenite no.81 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Wulfenite - Contact twin on {00-1}
Wulfenite - {110}, {001}, {00-1}, overgrown with small pyramidal crystals
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

Crystal Structure

Lugli C Medici L Saccardo D (1999) Natural wulfenite: structural refinement by single-crystal X-ray diffraction Locality: Monte Cengio, Vicenza, Italy. Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, Monatshefte 1999:281-288.

Unit Cell | Structure | Polyhedra

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More Crystal Structures
Click here to view more crystal structures at the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
4.96 (10)
3.24 (100)
3.03 (20)
2.72 (25)
2.02 (30)
1.921 (10)
1.787 (18)
1.653 (25)

Occurrences of Wulfenite

Type Occurrence of Wulfenite

Place of Conservation of Type Material:
Mining Academy, Freiberg, Germany.

Relationship of Wulfenite to other Species

Forms a series with Stolzite (see here)
Member of:
Other Members of Group:
7.GA.05Fergusonite-(Ce)CeNbO4 · 0.3H2O
27.3.6MouriteUO2Mo56+O16 · 5H2O
27.3.7Iriginite(UO2)Mo26+O7 · 3H2O
27.3.8Umohoite(UO2)Mo6+O4 · 2H2O
27.3.9MoluraniteH4U4+(UO2)3(MoO4)7 · 18H2O
27.3.10CousiniteMgU24+(MoO4)2(OH)6 · 2H2O (?)
27.3.11Calcurmolite(Ca1-xNax)2(UO2)3(MoO4)2(OH)6-x · nH2O
27.3.12TengchongiteCa(UO2)6(MoO4)2O5 · 12H2O
27.3.14FerrimolybditeFe23+(Mo6+O4)3 · 7H2O

Other Names for Wulfenite

Other Information

Fluorescence noted from a small number of localities. Medium intensity Yellow in LW
Some individual crystals may be piezoelectric.
Thermal Behaviour:
Melting Point 1065° C.
Other Information:
Decomposed by evaporation in HCl with the separation of lead chloride and molybdic oxide. Soluble in concentrated H2SO4 and alkalies. Decomposed by HNO3 with the separation of molybdic oxide.

Reported to alter to Descloizite, Ilsemannite and Vanadinite.
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 Wulfenite

Reference List:
von Born, I. (1772) Lythophylacium Bornianum; Index fossiliumquae colligit, etc., Prague. part 1: 90. [as Plumbum spatosum flavo-rubrum]

Jacquin (1781) Misc. Austriaca, Vienna: 2 (as Kärntherischer Bleispath).

de Lisle, R. (1783) Cristallographie, ou description des formes propres à tous les corps du regne minéral. 4 volumes, Paris: 3: 387. [as Plomb jaune]

von Wulfen, F.X. (1785): Abhandlung vom kärnthnerischen Bleyspate. J. P. Krauß, Vienna, 150 pp. [as Kärntherischer Bleispat]

Kirwan, R. (1796) Elements of Mineralogy. second edition: 2: 212. [as Yellow Leadspar, Molybdenated Lead Ore]

Klaproth, M.H. (1797): Untersuchung des Gelb-Bleierzes, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Zweiter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 265-275.

Haüy, R.J. (1801) Traité de minéralogie. First edition: in 4 volumes with atlas in fol. Paris: 3: 353. [as Plomb molybdaté]

Beudant, F.S. (1832) Traité élémentaire de Minéralogie, second edition, 2 volumes: 2: 664. [as Mélinose]

Haidinger, W. (1845) Zweite Klasse: Geogenide. II. Ordnung. Baryte. VII. Bleibaryt. Wulfenit. Handbuch der bestimmenden Mineralogie, Braumüller und Seidel, Wien: 499-506. [as Wulfenit]

Smith, J.L. (1855) American Journal of Science: 20: 245.

Wöhler, F. (1857) Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie: 102: 383.

Schrauf (1871) Königliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, Sitzber.: 63: 176.

Rammelsberg, C.F. (1875) Handbuch der Mineralchemie. second edition: 283. [Domeyko analysis]

von Wulfen, F.X. (1875) Abhandlung vom Kärntherischer Bleispath, Vienna.

von Koksharov, N. (1878) Materialien zur Mineralogie Russlands. 11 volumes with atlas: vol. 8: 394.

Groth (1882) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie: 7: 592.

Koch, S. (1882) Ueber den Wulfenit. Zeitschrift für Krystallographie und Mineralogie: 6: 389-409.

Regnard (1882) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 5: 2.

Zepharovich (1883) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie: 8: 583.

Dana, E.S. (1892) System of Mineralogy, 6th. Edition, New York: 989.

de Gramont (1893) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 16: 127.

Traube (1896) Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Beilagen: 10: 457.

Ites (1903) Preisschr. Göttingen [corrected by Ehringhaus (1920) Jb. Min., Beil.-Bd.: 43: 566.

Johnsen (1908) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie: 712.

Baumhauer (1910) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie: 47: 7.

Ullman (1912) Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales: 46: 186.

Mingaye (1916) Records of the Geological Survey of New South Wales: 9: 171.

Jaeger, Germs (1921) Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie: 119: 158.

Goldschmidt, V. (1922) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 8: 12.

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

Barthoux (1924) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 47: 36.

Hlawatsch (1925) Annalen des naturhistorischen Staats-Museums: 38: 15.

Bach (1926) Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Beilagen: 54: 380.

Comucci (1926) Atti della Reale accademia nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, Att.: 3: 335.

Shannon (1926) U.S. National Museum Bulletin 131: 474.

Vegard (1926) Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 1: 1151.

Doelter, C. (1927) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 4 [2]: 785.

Honess, A.P. (1927) The Nature, Origin and Interpretation of the Etch Figures on Crystals. 171pp., New York: 92.

Vegard, Refsum (1927) Norske Videnskaps-Akademi, Oslo. Skrifter, Mat.-Nat. Kl., no. 2.:

Hintze, C. (1929) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3B]: 4059.

Padurova (1929) Mem. soc. russe min.: 58: 109.

Jung (1931) Jahrbuch für Minalogie, Beilagen: 64A: 197.

Royer (1936) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 202: 1346.

Barić (1939) Min. Abstracts: 7: 360.

Sillén, Nylander (1943) Arkiv för Kemi, Mineralogi och Geologi, Stockholm: 17A, no. 4.

Russell, A. (1946) An account of the Struy Lead Mines, Inverness-Shire, and of wulfenite, harmotome, and other minerals which occur there. Mineralogical Magazine: 27: 151.

Koning (1948) Proc. Kon. Nederl. Ak. Wet.: 51: 390.

Schroll (1949) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: [3], 1: 325.

Haberlandt, Schroll (1950) Experientia: 6: 89.

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.: 1081-1086.

National Bureau of Standards Circular 539 (1957) 7, 23.

Williams, S.A. (1966) The significance of habit and morphology of wulfenite. American Mineralogist: 51: 1212.

Leciejewicz, J. (1965) A neutron crystallographic investigation of lead molybdenum oxide, PbMoO4. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 121: 158-164.

Niedermayr, G. (1989) Der Wulfenit- ein Kärntner Mineral? Carinthia II: 179./99.: 29-45. []

Papp, G. (1993) Ignaz von BORN und der Kärntner Bleispat. Carinthia II: 183./103: 95-108. []

Huber, P. (1994) Annaberg oder Bleiberg? Zur Typlokalität des Wulfenits. Lapis: 19(2): 21-24; 50. [in German]

Gaines, R.V., Skinner, H.C.W., Foord, E.E., Mason, B., Rosenzweig, A. (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy: The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 999.

Lugli, C., Medici, L., Saccardo, D. (1999) Natural wulfenite: structural refinement by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Monatshefte: 1999: 281-288.

Hibbs, D.E., Jury, C.M., Leverett, P., Plimer, I.R., Williams, P.A. (2000) An explanation for the origin of hemihedrism in wulfenite: the single-crystal structures of I41/a and I4 wulfenites. Mineralogical Magazine, 64, 1057–1062.

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.: 764.

Secco, L., Nestola, F., Dal Negro, A. (2008) The wulfenite–stolzite series: centric or acentric structures? Mineralogical Magazine: 72: 987-990.

Cora, I., Czugler, M., Dódony, I., Recnik, A. (2011) On the symmetry of wulfenite (Pb[MoO4]) from Mezica (Slovenia). Acta Crystallographica: C67: i33-i35.

Talla, D., Wildner, M., Beran, A., Škoda, R., Losos, Z. (2013) On the presence of hydrous defects in differently coloured wulfenites (PbMoO4): an infrared and optical spectroscopic study. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 40: 757-769.

Africano, F., Van Rompaey, G., Bernard, A., Le Guern, F. (2002): Deposition of trace elements from high temperature gases of Satsuma-Iwojima volcano. Earth Planets Space: 54: 275-286

Internet Links for Wulfenite URL:
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Localities for Wulfenite

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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