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Ernest H. Carlson (1933–2010)
yellow to orange-brown
Specific Gravity:
2.167 (Calculated)
Crystal System:
Named in honor of Dr. Ernest H. Carlson (1933–2010) professor of mineralogy at Kent State University, Ohio from 1966 to 2009. At the time of his death, he had completed and submitted a revision of his popular Minerals of Ohio, originally published in 1991 by the Ohio Geological Survey, and was engaged in a study of the Huron River shale fire.
Structurally related to metavoltine. Chemically related especially to clairite and lonecreekite; Unnamed (Fe analogue of huizingite-(Al)); also somewhat to mohrite. The first NH4-Fe oxysulphate mineral. Probably has a narrow stability range.

The bipartite structure consist of:
- [Fe3O(H2O)3(SO4)6]5- cluster, comprising the structural unit, and being the same as in metavoltine
- [(NH4)5(H2O)4]5+ complex, comprising the interstitial unit.
In the structural unit three FeO6 octahedra are vertex-sharing.

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Classification of CarlsoniteHide

Approval Year:

Physical Properties of CarlsoniteHide

yellow to orange-brown
2.167 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of CarlsoniteHide

Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.576(1) nβ = 1.585(1) nγ = 1.591(1)
Measured: 80° (1), Calculated: 78°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.015
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
strong (r > v)
yellow (X), orange (Y & Z); X < Y ~ Z

Chemical Properties of CarlsoniteHide

IMA Formula:
(NH4)5Fe3+3O(SO4)6 · 7H2O

Crystallography of CarlsoniteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
1 - Pinacoidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 9.5927(2) Å, b = 9.7679(3) Å, c = 18.3995(13) Å
α = 93.250(7)°, β = 95.258(7)°, γ = 117.993(8)°
a:b:c = 0.982 : 1 : 1.884
Unit Cell V:
1506.15 ų
Forms observed: {100}, {001}, {110}, {111}, {111}, {012}
cross-hatched, rare

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Powder Diffraction Data:
From type description.

Type Occurrence of CarlsoniteHide

General Appearance of Type Material:
It occurs in crystal form as thin to thick tablets up to about 0.5 mm but often much smaller; the tablets are flattened on {001); at this scale, the yellow to orange-brown crystals are best viewed through a high-powered microscope; also as stout prisms el
Place of Conservation of Type Material:
Type and cotype material is deposited in the collections of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90007, USA, catalogue numbers 65544 and 65545, respectively
Geological Setting of Type Material:
Carlsonite was produced by the condensation of gases in the oil-shale fire. The shale fire occurred in a rock outcrop of the Late Devonian Huron Shale Member of the Ohio Shale along River Road, northeast of the town of Monroeville in Ridgefield Township, Huron County. At the time of inspection, geologists were uncertain of the cause. The current hypothesis suggests the fire started in September 2009 as the result of spontaneous combustion. The shale fire burned until March 2011 and created a variety of exotic mineral species, such as boussinggaulite and lonecreekite, as well as the never-before-observed carlsonite.
Associated Minerals at Type Locality:

Synonyms of CarlsoniteHide

Fluorescence of CarlsoniteHide

not observed

Other InformationHide

easily soluble in RT water; Lewis basicity: (1) structural unit: 0.23-0.11 valence units (vu); (2) interstitial unit: 0.13

Raman bands [cm-1]: 245, 275, 436, 478, 514, 552, 576, 617, 629, 670, 1015, 1066, 1104, 1140, 1160, 1188, 1219
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 CarlsoniteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Larsen, G.,, 2010, Survey inspects a rare Ohio geohazard: Ohio Geology, 2010, v. (1), p. 7
Carlson, E. (2010): Analysis of Huron River shale fire minerals reveals two specimens new to Ohio. Ohio Geology, 2010 (2), 7.
Kampf, A., Richards, R., and B., Nash, 2014, The 2H and 3R polytypes of sabieite, NH4Fe3+(SO4)2, from a natural fire in an oil-bearing shale near Milan, Ohio: American Mineralogist: 99(7): 1500–1506.
Kampf, A.R., Richards, R.P., Nash, B.P. and Murowchick, J.B. (2015) Carlsonite, IMA 2014-067. CNMNC Newsletter No. 23, February 2015, page 53; Mineralogical Magazine: 79: 51-58.
Blake, D. (2015): Carlsonite: New mineral species discovered in northern Ohio. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Geology Extra, http://geosurvey.ohiodnr.gov/extra-news-archives/2015-articles/carlsonite.
Kampf, A.R., Richards, R.P., Nash, B.P., Murowchick, J.B., Rakovan, J.R. (2016): Carlsonite, (NH4)5Fe3+3O(SO4)6·7H2O, and huizingite-(Al) (NH4)9Al3(SO4)8(OH)2·4H2O, two new minerals from a natural fire in an oil-bearing shale near Milan, Ohio. American Mineralogist, 101, 2095-2107.

Internet Links for CarlsoniteHide

Localities for CarlsoniteHide

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 ListHide

- This locality has map coordinates listed. - This locality has estimated coordinates. ⓘ - Click for further information on this occurrence. ? - Indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. - Good crystals or important locality for species. - World class for species or very significant. (TL) - Type Locality for a valid mineral species. (FRL) - First Recorded Locality for everything else (eg varieties). Struck out - Mineral was erroneously reported from this locality. Faded * - Never found at this locality but inferred to have existed at some point in the past (eg from pseudomorphs.)

All localities listed without proper references should be considered as questionable.
  • Ohio
    • Huron Co.
      • Huron River
Kampf, A.R., Richards, R.P., Nash, B.P. and Murowchick, J.B. (2015) Carlsonite, IMA 2014-067. CNMNC Newsletter No. 23, February 2015, page 53; Mineralogical Magazine, 79, 51-58.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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