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Zircon

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Formula:
Zr(SiO4)
May contain minor U, Th, Pb, Hf, Y/REE, P, and others.
Colour:
Colourless, yellow, grey, reddish-brown, green, brown, black
Lustre:
Adamantine, Vitreous, Greasy
Hardness:
Specific Gravity:
4.6 - 4.7
Crystal System:
Tetragonal
Member of:
Name:
Renamed in 1783 by Abraham Gottlob Werner from the Arabic (and, in turn, from the Persian "azargun") "zar", gold, plus "gun", coloured, referring to one of the many colours that the mineral may display. Originally named λυγκύριον "lyncurion" in ~300 BCE by Theophrastus. A mineral that may have been today's zircon was called chrysolithos by Pliny in 37. Called jacinth by Georgius Agricola in 1555. Mentioned as jargon by Axel Cronstedt in 1758. Called hyacinte by Barthelemy Faujas de Saint-Fond in 1772. Numerous later synonyms have been advanced.
Dimorph of:
Zircon Group. The zirconium analogue of Thorite and Hafnon. Zircon-Hafnon Series. The low-pressure dimorph of Reidite.

Zircon, zirconium orthosilicate, is found in most igneous rocks and some metamorphic rocks as small crystals or grains, mostly widely distributed and rarely more than 1% of the total mass of the rock. It is also found as alluvial grains in some sedimentary rocks due to its high hardness. Zircon has a high refraction index and, when the crystals are large enough, is often used as a gemstone.
In geology, zircon is used for radiometric dating of zircon-bearing rocks (using isotopes of U which is often present as an impurity element, as is Th, radiogenic Pb, Hf, Y, P, and others).

Compare 'UM1984-36-SiO:CaNaZr'.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Zircon.


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Classification of ZirconHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
9.AD.30

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
A : Nesosilicates
D : Nesosilicates without additional anions; cations in [6] and/or greater coordination
51.5.2.1

51 : NESOSILICATES Insular SiO4 Groups Only
5 : Insular SiO4 Groups Only with cations in >[6] coordination
14.10.1

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
10 : Silicates of Zr or Hf

Physical Properties of ZirconHide

Adamantine, Vitreous, Greasy
Transparency:
Transparent, Translucent, Opaque
Comment:
Greasy when metamict
Colour:
Colourless, yellow, grey, reddish-brown, green, brown, black
Streak:
White
Hardness:
7½ on Mohs scale
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Poor/Indistinct
Indistinct on {110}{111}
Fracture:
Conchoidal
Density:
4.6 - 4.7 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.714 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of ZirconHide

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.925 - 1.961 nε = 1.980 - 2.015
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.055
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Dispersion:
Very strong
Pleochroism:
Weak

Chemical Properties of ZirconHide

Formula:
Zr(SiO4)

May contain minor U, Th, Pb, Hf, Y/REE, P, and others.
IMA Formula:
ZrSiO4
Common Impurities:
Hf,Th,U,REE,O,H,H2O,Fe,Al,P

Age informationHide

Age range:
Precambrian : 4348 ± 3 Ma to 1576 ± 22 Ma - based on data given below.
Sample ages:
Sample IDRecorded ageGeologic TimeDating method
14324 ± 18 to 3362 ± 20 MaPrecambrian207Pb/206Pb
23948 ± 9 to 3921 ± 6 MaEoarchean207Pb/206Pb
33955 ± 4 to 2504 ± 6 MaArchean207Pb/206Pb
44348 ± 3 to 3362 ± 10 MaPrecambrian207Pb/206Pb
54177 ± 18 to 3339 ± 575 MaPrecambrian207Pb/206Pb
62590 ± 30 to 1576 ± 22 MaPrecambrian207Pb/206Pb
74062 ± 10 MaEarly Imbrian207Pb/206Pb
84164 ± 33 to 2867 ± 5 MaPrecambrian207Pb/206Pb
Sample references:
IDLocalityReference
1Jack Hills, Nookawarra Station, Murchison Shire, Western Australia, AustraliaCavosie, A. J., Wilde, S. A., Liu, D., Weiblen, P. W., & Valley, J. W. (2004). Internal zoning and U–Th–Pb chemistry of Jack Hills detrital zircons: a mineral record of early Archean to Mesoproterozoic (4348–1576Ma) magmatism. Precambrian Research, 135(4), 251-279.
2  "  "  "  "
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6  "  "  "  "
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8  "  "  "  "

Crystallography of ZirconHide

Crystal System:
Tetragonal
Class (H-M):
4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) - Ditetragonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
I41/amd
Cell Parameters:
a = 6.607(1) Å, c = 5.982(1) Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 0.905
Unit Cell V:
261.13 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
4
Morphology:
Tabular to square prismatic or tetragonal-dipyramidal crystals.
Twinning:
On {101}
Comment:
May be partly or fully metamict, especially U-/Th-rich crystals. Metamictisation leads to an enlarged unit cell.

Crystallographic forms of ZirconHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Zircon no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.24 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.66 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.81 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.97 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.133 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.137 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon - {100}, {301}, {101}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
4.434 (45)
3.302 (100)
2.518 (45)
2.066 (20)
1.908 (14)
1.712 (40)
1.651 (14)

Type Occurrence of ZirconHide

Synonyms of ZirconHide

Other Language Names for ZirconHide

Basque:Zirkoi
Bulgarian:Циркон
Catalan:Zircó
Croatian:Cirkon
Czech:Zirkon
Dutch:Zirkoon
Esperanto:Zirkono
Finnish:Zirkoni
Hungarian:Cirkon
Italian:Zircone
Lithuanian:Cirkonas
Norwegian (Bokmål):Zirkon
Polish:Cyrkon
Portuguese:Zircão
Romanian:Zircon
Russian:Циркон
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Циркон
Simplified Chinese:锆石
Slovak:Zirkón
Swedish:Zirkon
Ukrainian:Циркон

Varieties of ZirconHide

AlviteA metamict, often Hf-rich variety of Zircon from granite pegmatites.
Original analysis (1855) of material from several localities in Aust-Agder, Norway, shows major Si, Y, Th, Al, Fe, Zr and H2O. Later analysis cited by Clark (1993) shows Zr, Be and/or ...
ArshinoviteA partially metamict Zircon.
AuerbachiteMorphological variety of Zircon.
Originally described by Morozevich from Mariupol' Massif (Oktyabr'skii), Azov Sea Region, Donetsk Oblast', Ukraine.
BeccariteA variety of Zircon containing optical anomalies.
CalyptoliteShown to be an altered zircon by Shepard (1857).
ChernobyliteA technogenic variety, formed due to the meltdown of the Chernobyl reator no. 4, found within the "corium" ("lava"-like material) of the so-called elephant foot structure. Zr and U are from fuel elements. Contains 6-12 mass % of U.
CyrtoliteCyrtolite is a hydrous Th+U bearing zircon (up to 27 mas.% of sum). It sometimes occurs with curved, rounded crystals.
Hafnian ZirconA hafnium-bearing variety of zircon with insufficient hafnium to constitute hafnon.
HyacinthYellow-red to red-brown gem variety of zircon.
Jargoon
Matura DiamondA misnomer for colourless zircon.
NaegiteGreenish grey to greenish brown anhedral grains, crude crystals or spheroidal aggregates. Originally mis-described as a new U-Th-silicate, without having analyzed for Zr, but within a year it was found to really be a Y-Th-U-rich variety of zircon (or "cyr...
OerstediteSpelling variant of Œrstedtite.
Varietal name used by Forchhammer (1835) for a metamict/altered zircon from Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway (see also Clark, 1993 - "Hey's Mineral Index").
OerstedtiteVarietal name used by Forchhammer (1835) for a metamict zircon from Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway.
OrvilliteAn altered zircon.
Originally reported from Poços de Caldas, Minas Gerais, Southeast Region, Brazil.
OyamaliteREE-P rich variety
RibeiriteAn yttrian hydrous Zircon.
Originally reported from Macarani, Bahia, Northeast Region, Brazil.
StarliteBlue variety of zircon.
Uraniferous ZirconAn U-bearing zircon (may or may not correspond to Cyrtolite, which does not necessarily contain U).
YamaguchiliteA REE- & P-rich variety of Zircon.

Relationship of Zircon to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
Coffinite(U4+,Th)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4xTet.
HafnonHfSiO4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
ThoriteTh(SiO4)Tet.
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Quartz107 photos of Zircon associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Aegirine106 photos of Zircon associated with Aegirine on mindat.org.
Microcline88 photos of Zircon associated with Microcline on mindat.org.
Titanite47 photos of Zircon associated with Titanite on mindat.org.
Albite46 photos of Zircon associated with Albite on mindat.org.
Orthoclase42 photos of Zircon associated with Orthoclase on mindat.org.
Feldspar Group40 photos of Zircon associated with Feldspar Group on mindat.org.
Diopside38 photos of Zircon associated with Diopside on mindat.org.
Uraninite37 photos of Zircon associated with Uraninite on mindat.org.
Smoky Quartz32 photos of Zircon associated with Smoky Quartz on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

9.AD.05LarniteCa2SiO4Mon.
9.AD.10Calcio-olivineCa2SiO4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
9.AD.15MerwiniteCa3Mg(SiO4)2Mon. 2/m : P21/b
9.AD.20BredigiteCa7Mg(SiO4)4Orth.
9.AD.25AndraditeCa3Fe3+2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25AlmandineFe2+3Al2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25Calderite(Mn2+,Ca)3(Fe3+,Al)2(SiO4)3Iso.
9.AD.25GoldmaniteCa3V3+2(SiO4)3Iso.
9.AD.25GrossularCa3Al2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25HenritermieriteCa3(Mn3+,Al)2(SiO4)2(OH)4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/acd
9.AD.25HibschiteCa3Al2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4xIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25HydroandraditeCa3Fe3+2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4x
9.AD.25KatoiteCa3Al2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4xIso.
9.AD.25KimzeyiteCa3(Zr,Ti)2((Si,Al,Fe3+)O4)3Iso.
9.AD.25KnorringiteMg3Cr2(SiO4)3Iso.
9.AD.25MajoriteMg3(Fe2+,Si,Al)2(SiO4)3Iso.
9.AD.25MorimotoiteCa3(Ti,Fe2+,Fe3+)2((Si,Fe3+)O4)3Iso.
9.AD.25PyropeMg3Al2(SiO4)3Iso.
9.AD.25SchorlomiteCa3(Ti,Fe3+)2((Si,Fe3+)O4)3Iso.
9.AD.25SpessartineMn2+3Al2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25UvaroviteCa3Cr2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25Wadalite(Ca,Mg)6(Al,Fe3+)4((Si,Al)O4)3O4Cl3Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
9.AD.25HoltstamiteCa3(Al,Mn3+)2(SiO4)2(OH)4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/acd
9.AD.25KerimasiteCa3Zr2(SiO4)(Fe3+O4)2Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25ToturiteCa3Sn2(SiO4)(Fe3+O4)2Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25Momoiite(Mn2+,Ca)3V3+2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25EltyubyuiteCa12Fe3+10Si4O32Cl6Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
9.AD.25HutcheoniteCa3Ti2(SiAl2)O12Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.30Coffinite(U4+,Th)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4xTet.
9.AD.30HafnonHfSiO4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
9.AD.30ThoriteTh(SiO4)Tet.
9.AD.30Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
9.AD.35HuttoniteThSiO4Mon.
9.AD.35Tombarthite-(Y)Y4(Si,H4)4O12-x(OH)4+2xMon.
9.AD.40EulytineBi4(SiO4)3Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
9.AD.45ReiditeZrSiO4Tet. 4/m : I41/a

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide

51.5.2.2HafnonHfSiO4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
51.5.2.3ThoriteTh(SiO4)Tet.
51.5.2.4Coffinite(U4+,Th)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4xTet.
51.5.2.5Thorogummite(Th,U)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4xTet.
51.5.2.6Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

14.10.2HafnonHfSiO4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
14.10.3ZektzeriteLiNaZrSi6O15Orth.
14.10.4ParakeldyshiteNa2ZrSi2O7Tric.
14.10.5VlasoviteNa2ZrSi4O11Mon. 2/m : B2/b
14.10.6Keldyshite(Na,H)2ZrSi2O7Tric. 1 : P1
14.10.7GaidonnayiteNa2Zr(Si3O9) · 2H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmna
14.10.8TerskiteNa4ZrSi6O16 · 2H2OOrth.
14.10.9ElpiditeNa2ZrSi6O15 · 3H2OOrth.
14.10.10HilairiteNa2Zr[SiO3]3 · 3H2OTrig.
14.10.11PetarasiteNa5Zr2(Si6O18)(Cl,OH) · 2H2OMon. 2/m : P21/m
14.10.12KhibinskiteK2ZrSi2O7Mon.
14.10.13WadeiteK2Zr(Si3O9)Hex.
14.10.14DalyiteK2ZrSi6O15Tric.
14.10.15KostyleviteK2Zr(Si3O9) · H2OMon.
14.10.16UmbiteK2(Zr,Ti)Si3O9 · H2OOrth.
14.10.17ParaumbiteK3Zr2H(Si3O9)2 · nH2OOrth.
14.10.18GeorgechaoiteNaKZr[Si3O9] · 2H2OOrth. mm2
14.10.19GittinsiteCaZrSi2O7Mon.
14.10.20CalciocatapleiiteCaZr(Si3O9) · 2H2O
14.10.21CalciohilairiteCaZr[SiO3]3 · 3H2OTrig.
14.10.22ArmstrongiteCaZr[Si6O15] · 3H2OMon.
14.10.23Lemoynite(Na,K)2CaZr2Si10O26 · 5H2OMon. 2/m : B2/b
14.10.24CatapleiiteNa2Zr(Si3O9) · 2H2OMon.
14.10.25BaghdaditeCa3(Zr,Ti)(Si2O7)O2Mon.
14.10.26LovozeriteNa2Ca(Zr,Ti)(Si6O12)[(OH)4O2] · H2OMon.
14.10.27Låvenite(Na,Ca)2(Mn2+,Fe2+)(Zr,Ti)(Si2O7)(O,OH,F)2Mon. 2/m : P21/b
14.10.28PenkvilksiteNa4Ti2Si8O22 · 4H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
14.10.29DarapiositeK(Na,◻,K)2(Li,Zn,Fe)3(Mn,Zr,Y)2[Si12O30]Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P6/mcc
14.10.30BaziriteBaZr(Si3O9)Hex.
14.10.31KomkoviteBaZr[Si3O9] · 3H2OTrig.
14.10.32ZirsinaliteNa6(Ca,Mn2+,Fe2+)Zr(Si6O18)Trig.
14.10.33Tranquillityite(Fe2+,Ca)8(Zr,Y)2Ti3(SiO4)3O12Hex.

Fluorescence of ZirconHide

Virtually all zircon is fluorescent, from dull to bright in intensity, and in shades of yellow, golden-yellow and yellow-brown (SW UV). This property is often diagnostic in identification.

Other InformationHide

Thermal Behaviour:
Thermoluminescent
Notes:
Cathodoluminescent
Health Risks:
U- and Th-bearing zircon is radioactive. Gemstones should be tested for radioactivity before being worn on or near the body.

Zircon in petrologyHide

References for ZirconHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Werner, A.G. (1783), in Romé de l'Isle - Cristallographie, 2nd ed., Paris, 2, 229.
Trofimov, A.K. (1962) The luminescence spectrum of zircon. Geochemistry: 1962: 1102-1108.
Hazen, R.M., Finger, L.W. (1979) Crystal structure and compressibility of zircon at high pressure. American Mineralogist: 64: 196.
Pupin, J.P. (1980) Zircon and granite petrology. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 73: 207-220.
Watson, E.B., Cherniak, D.J. (1997) Oxygen diffusion in zircon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 148: 527-544.
Wang, R.C., Zhao, G.T., Lu, J.J., Chen, X.M., Xu, S.J., Wang, D.Z. (2000) Chemistry of Hf-rich zircons from the Laoshan I- and A-type granites, eastern China. Mineralogical Magazine: 64: 867-877.
Parry, W.T., Wilson, P.N., Moser, D., Heizler, M.T. (2001) U-Pb dating of zircon and 40Ar/39Ar dating of biotite at Bingham, Utah. Economic Geology: 96: 1671-1683.
Gucsik, A., Koeberl, Ch, Brandstätter, F., Reimold, W.U., Libowitzky, E. (2002) Cathodoluminescence, electron microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy of shock-metamorphosed zircon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 202: 495-509.
Valley, J. (2003) Oxygen isotopes in zircon. Rev. Mineral. Geochem.: 53: 343-385.
Zhang, A.C., Wang, R.C., Hu, H., Zhang, H., Zhu, J.C., Chen, X.M. (2004) Chemical evolution of Nb-Ta oxides and zircon from the Koktokay no. 3 granitic pegmatite, Altai, northwestern China. Mineralogical Magazine: 68(5): 739-756.
Ulf Kempe, Sylvia-Monique Thomas, Gerhard Geipel, Rainer Thomas, Michael Plötze, Rolf Böttcher, Genia Grambole, Joachim Hoentsch, Michael Trinkler (2010): Optical absorption, luminescence, and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of crystalline to metamict zircon: Evidence for formation of uranyl, manganese, and other optically active centers. Am. Mineral. 95, 335-347.
Roszjar, J., Whitehouse, M.J., Bischoff, A. (2014) Meteoritic zircon – Occurrence and chemical characteristics. Chemie der Erde - Geochemistry: 74: 453-469.
Lenz, C., Nasdala, L., Talla, D., Hauzenberger, H., Seitz, R., Kolitsch, U. (2015) Laser-induced REE3+ photoluminescence of selected accessory minerals: An “advantageous artefact” in Raman spectroscopy. Chemical Geology: 415: 1-16.
Ulf Kempe, Michael Trinkler, Andreas Pöppl, Cameliu Himcinschi (2016): Coloration of natural zircon. Canadian Mineralogist, 54, 635-660.
Vaczi, T., Nasdala, L. (2017): Electron-beam-induced annealing of natural zircon: a Raman spectroscopic study. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 44 (2017), doi:10.1007/s00269-016-0866-x

Internet Links for ZirconHide

Localities for ZirconHide

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