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Cassiterite

This page kindly sponsored by Keith Compton
Formula:
SnO2
Colour:
Black, yellow, brown, red or white.
Lustre:
Adamantine, Greasy, Sub-Metallic
Hardness:
6 - 7
Specific Gravity:
6.98 - 7.01
Crystal System:
Tetragonal
Member of:
Name:
The mineral name is derived from the term “Cassiterides” which was applied 'islands off the western coast of Europe' in pre-Roman times (the exact location of these 'islands' has been hotly debated over the years, current thought is that the source was probably mainland Spain and that even 2000 years ago, traders had a habit of providing misleading locality information to protect their sources).
Isostructural with:
The primary ore of Tin, this mineral is found in hydrothermal veins and pegmatites associated with granite intrusions. Because of its durability, it is also frequently found concentrated in alluvial placer deposits, sometimes in large enough quantities to be commercially exploitable, as in Malaysia, for example.

May precipitate from volcanic gas, as shown by experiments of Africano et al. (2002), in which it deposits in the 550-240oC range.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Cassiterite.


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Classification of CassiteriteHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
4.DB.05

4 : OXIDES (Hydroxides, V[5,6] vanadates, arsenites, antimonites, bismuthites, sulfites, selenites, tellurites, iodates)
D : Metal: Oxygen = 1:2 and similar
B : With medium-sized cations; chains of edge-sharing octahedra
4.4.1.5

4 : SIMPLE OXIDES
4 : AX2
7.11.2

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
11 : Oxides of Sn and Pb

Physical Properties of CassiteriteHide

Adamantine, Greasy, Sub-Metallic
Transparency:
Transparent, Translucent, Opaque
Colour:
Black, yellow, brown, red or white.
Streak:
Brownish white, white, greyish
Hardness:
6 - 7 on Mohs scale
Hardness:
VHN200=1239 - 1467 kg/mm2 - Vickers
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Imperfect/Fair
{100} imperfect, {110} indistinct.
Parting:
More or less distinct on {111} or {011}.
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
Density:
6.98 - 7.01 g/cm3 (Measured)    6.993 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of CassiteriteHide

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.990 - 2.010 nε = 2.093 - 2.100
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.103
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Type:
Anisotropic
Anisotropism:
Strong
Colour in reflected light:
Light gray
Internal Reflections:
white to brownish
Pleochroism:
Weak
Comments:
Pleochroic haloes have been observed. Dichroic in yellow, green, red, brown, usually weak, or absent, but strong at times.
Comments:
Anomalously biaxial.

Chemical Properties of CassiteriteHide

Formula:
SnO2
Common Impurities:
Fe,Ta,Nb,Zn,W,Mn,Sc,Ge,In,Ga

Crystallography of CassiteriteHide

Crystal System:
Tetragonal
Class (H-M):
4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) - Ditetragonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
P42/mnm
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.7382(4) Å, c = 3.1871(1) Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 0.673
Unit Cell V:
71.55 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
2
Morphology:
Untwinned crystals usually short prismatic [001] with {110} and {100} prominent. Long prismatic at times, or with acute terminations. Less commonly pyramidal. Faces {001} and {110} frequently uneven; faces in zone [10_1] and in zone [001] often striated parallel to their intersections. Fibrous, botryoidal crusts or concretionary masses. Granular, coarse to fine.
Twinning:
1. On {011}, very common. Both contact and penetration twins; often repeated producing complex forms. Stellate fivelings at times. 2. Reported on {031}.

Crystallographic forms of CassiteriteHide

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
Cassiterite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.19 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.175 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.177 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.178 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cassiterite no.207 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

Epitaxial Relationships of CassiteriteHide

Epitaxial Minerals:
QuartzSiO2
NordenskiöldineCaSn4+[BO3]2
Epitaxy Comments:
Oriented overgrowths of cassiterite on nordenskiöldine; oriented growths of quartz on cassiterite.

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Image Loading

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

Synonyms of CassiteriteHide

Other Language Names for CassiteriteHide

Varieties of CassiteriteHide

AinaliteA variety of Cassiterite containing up to 10% FeTa2O6.
Originally reported from Penikoja (Pennikoja), Somero, Southwestern Finland Region, Finland
Dough tin'Dough Tin', a Cornish variety of cassiterite, owns its name for the white colouration and texture giving it an appearance of uncooked bread dough.
Toad's Eye TinA variety of cassiterite similar to Wood Tin but with a smaller reniform structure.
Wood TinA variety of Cassiterite showing a radiating structure resembling dried wood. Related to cassiterite the same way agate is related to quartz. Most commonly as a low-temperature hydrothermal deposit in acid volcanic rocks. Alluvial "stream tin", without th...

Relationship of Cassiterite to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
ArgutiteGeO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
ParatelluriteTeO2Tet.
PlattneritePbO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m)
PyrolusiteMnO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
RutileTiO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
StishoviteSiO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
TripuhyiteFe3+Sb5+O4Tet.

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Quartz700 photos of Cassiterite associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Muscovite241 photos of Cassiterite associated with Muscovite on mindat.org.
Siderite102 photos of Cassiterite associated with Siderite on mindat.org.
Pyrite70 photos of Cassiterite associated with Pyrite on mindat.org.
Fluorite62 photos of Cassiterite associated with Fluorite on mindat.org.
Tourmaline59 photos of Cassiterite associated with Tourmaline on mindat.org.
Albite52 photos of Cassiterite associated with Albite on mindat.org.
Arsenopyrite50 photos of Cassiterite associated with Arsenopyrite on mindat.org.
Scheelite48 photos of Cassiterite associated with Scheelite on mindat.org.
Topaz43 photos of Cassiterite associated with Topaz on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

4.DB.05ArgutiteGeO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.DB.05PlattneritePbO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m)
4.DB.05PyrolusiteMnO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.DB.05RutileTiO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.DB.05TripuhyiteFe3+Sb5+O4Tet.
4.DB.05TugarinoviteMoO2Mon.
4.DB.05Varlamoffite(Sn,Fe)(O,OH)2
4.DB.10ByströmiteMgSb2O6Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/nmm
4.DB.10Tapiolite-(Fe)(Fe,Mn)(Ta,Nb)2O6Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.DB.10Tapiolite-(Mn)(Mn,Fe)(Ta,Nb)2O6Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.DB.10OrdoñeziteZnSb2O6Tet.
4.DB.15bAkhtenskiteε-Mn4+O2Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
4.DB.15cNsutite(Mn4+,Mn2+)(O,OH)2Hex.
4.DB.15aParamontroseiteV4+O2Orth.
4.DB.15aRamsdelliteMn4+O2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
4.DB.20Scrutinyiteα-PbO2Orth.
4.DB.25IshikawaiteU4+Fe2+Nb2O8Mon.
4.DB.25Ixiolite(Ta,Nb,Sn,Fe,Mn)4O8Orth.
4.DB.25Samarskite-(Y)(Y,Fe3+,Fe2+,U,Th,Ca)2(Nb,Ta)2O8Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
4.DB.25SrilankiteZrTi2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
4.DB.25Yttrocolumbite-(Y)Y(U4+,Fe2+)Nb2O8
4.DB.25Calciosamarskite(Ca,Fe3+,Y)2(Nb,Ta,Ti)2O8Mon.
4.DB.25Samarskite-(Yb)(Yb,Y,Fe3+,Fe2+,U,Th,Ca)2(Nb,Ta)2O8Mon. 2/m : P2/b
4.DB.30FerberiteFeWO4Mon. 2/m : P2/b
4.DB.30HübneriteMnWO4Mon. 2/m : P2/b
4.DB.30Sanmartinite(Zn,Fe)WO4Mon. 2/m : P21/b
4.DB.30KrasnoselskiteCoWO4Mon.
4.DB.30HeftetjerniteScTaO4Mon. 2/m
4.DB.30HuanzalaiteMgWO4Mon. 2/m : P2/b
4.DB.35Columbite-(Fe)FeNb2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Fe)FeTa2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
4.DB.35Columbite-(Mn)(Mn,Fe)(Nb,Ta)2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Mn)MnTa2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
4.DB.35Columbite-(Mg)(Mg,Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)2O6Orth.
4.DB.35Qitianlingite(Fe,Mn)2(Nb,Ta)2WO10Orth.
4.DB.35Magnocolumbite(Mg,Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)2O6
4.DB.35Tantalite-(Mg)(Mg,Fe2+)(Ta,Nb)2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
4.DB.40FerrowodginiteFe2+Sn4+Ta2O8Mon.
4.DB.40LithiotantiteLiTa3O8Mon.
4.DB.40LithiowodginiteLiTa3O8Mon.
4.DB.40TitanowodginiteMn2+TiTa2O8Mon.
4.DB.40WodginiteMn2+Sn4+Ta2O8Mon.
4.DB.40FerrotitanowodginiteFe2+TiTa2O8Mon.
4.DB.40WolframowodginiteMn(Mn,Sn,Fe,Ta)(W,Ta,Nb)2O8
4.DB.45TivaniteV3+TiO3(OH)Mon.
4.DB.50Carmichaelite(Ti,Cr,Fe)[O2-x(OH)x]Mon. 2/m : P21/b
4.DB.55AlumotantiteAlTaO4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
4.DB.60Biehlite((Sb,As)O)2[MoO4]Mon.

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

4.4.1.1RutileTiO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.4.1.2IlmenorutileFex(Nb,Ta)2x · 4Ti1-xO2Tet.
4.4.1.3Strüverite(Ti,Ta,Fe)O2
4.4.1.4PyrolusiteMnO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.4.1.6PlattneritePbO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m)
4.4.1.7ArgutiteGeO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
4.4.1.9StishoviteSiO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

7.11.1RomarchiteSnOTet.
7.11.4SchoenfliesiteMg[Sn(OH)6]Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pn3
7.11.5BurtiteCa[Sn(OH)6]Iso.
7.11.6VismirnoviteZn[Sn(OH)6]Iso.
7.11.7WickmaniteMn2+[Sn(OH)6]Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pn3
7.11.8TetrawickmaniteMn2+[Sn4+(OH)6]Tet. 4/m : P42/n
7.11.9JeanbandyiteFe3+xFe2+1-xSn(OH)6-xOx (1 ≥ x > 0.5)Tet. 4/m : P42/n
7.11.10NataniteFe2+[Sn(OH)6]Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Pn3m
7.11.11Mushistonite(Cu,Zn,Fe2+)[Sn(OH)6]
7.11.12Ferronigerite-2N1S(Al,Fe,Zn)2(Al,Sn)6O11(OH)Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
7.11.13MagnesionigeriteTrig.
7.11.14ArgutiteGeO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
7.11.15BrunogeieriteFe2+2Ge4+O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
7.11.16StottiteFe2+[Ge4+(OH)6]Tet.
7.11.17CarboiriteFeAl2(GeO4)O(OH)2Tric.
7.11.18OtjisumeitePbGe4O9Tric.
7.11.19BartelkeitePb(Fe2+Ge)[Ge2O7](OH)2 · H2OMon. 2/m : P21/m
7.11.20MassicotPbOOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Cmmm
7.11.21LithargePbOTet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/nmm
7.11.22MiniumPb3O4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mbc
7.11.23PlattneritePbO2Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m)
7.11.24Scrutinyiteα-PbO2Orth.
7.11.25MurdochitePbCu6O8-x(Cl,Br)2x where x<=0.5Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
7.11.26MacedonitePbTiO3Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/nmm
7.11.27CesàrolitePb(Mn4+)3O6(OH)2
7.11.28CoronaditePb(Mn4+6Mn3+2)O16Mon. 2/m
7.11.29QuenselitePbMnO2(OH)Mon. 2/m : P2/b
7.11.30PlumboferritePb2(Fe3+,Mn2+,Mg)11O19Trig. 3 2
7.11.31Magnetoplumbite(Pb,Mn)(Fe,Mn)12O19Hex.
7.11.32SenaitePb(Mn,Y,U)(Fe,Zn)2(Ti,Fe,Cr,V)18(O,OH)38Trig.

Other InformationHide

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

Cassiterite in petrologyHide

References for CassiteriteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Klaproth, M.H. (1797) Untersuchung der Zinnsteine, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Zweiter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 245-256.
Palache, C., Berman, H., Frondel, C. (1944) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 574-581.
Cecchini A., Franzini M., Troysi M.(1990) La microdurezza della cassiterite. Atti Soc. Tosc. Sc. Nat., Mem., Serie A: 97: 85-92.
Maldener, J., Rauch, F., Gavranic, M., Beran, A. (2001) OH absorption coefficients of rutile and cassiterite deduced from nuclear reaction analysis and FTIR spectroscopy. Mineralogy and Petrology: 71: 21-29.
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 CassiteriteHide

Localities for CassiteriteHide

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