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Class: Silicates

A secondary mineral typically found in the oxidised zone of zinc-bearing mineral deposits (Anthony et al., 2001—2005). Faceted specimens are extremely rare.

Original description: ‘Hemimorphit’ Kenngott, A., 1853. Hemimorphit — Das Mohs’sche Mineralsystem, Verlag und Druck, Wien: 67—68 [view in ‘Library’].

Type locality: Băiţa mining district, Nucet, Bihor, Romania.

Type material: unknown.

Etymology: in allusion to the mineral’s hemimorphic morphology.

Distribution: Germany: Saxony, Freiberg; Italy: Sardinia; Mexico: large crystals from Santa Eulalia, Chihuahua, and in the Ojuela mine, Mapimí, Durango; Romania: Bihor; Russia: Siberia, Nerchinsk (Anthony et al., 2001—2005).



Essential elements: hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), silicon (Si), zinc (Zn).

Crystal data

Crystallography: orthorhombic — pyramidal. Crystal habit: commonly crystallised, thin tabular, to 10 cm; doubly-terminated crystals show hemimorphism; typically in sheaflike or fan-shaped aggregates (Anthony et al., 2001—2005).

Physical properties

Cleavage: perfect on {110}, poor on {101}; {001}, rare (Anthony et al., 2001—2005). Fracture: uneven to conchoidal (Anthony et al., 2001—2005). Tenacity: brittle (Arem, 1987: 110). Hardness: 5 (Lazzarelli, 2012). Density: 3.3—3.5 g/cm3 (Lazzarelli, 2012). Luminescence: may fluoresce bluish under SW UV (Anthony et al., 2001—2005). Other: strongly pyroelectric (Anthony et al., 2001—2005).

Optical properties

Colour: colourless, white; pale blue, pale green, grеy, brown from impurities (Anthony et al., 2001—2005). Diaphaneity: translucent, transparent in small crystals (Anthony et al., 2001—2005). Lustre: vitreous, subpearly, adamantine, rarely silky (Anthony et al., 2001—2005). Refractive index: 1.614—1.636 — anisotropic [biaxial (+)] (Lazzarelli, 2012). Birefringence: 0.022. Dispersion: 0.02. Pleochroism: none (Arem, 1987: 111).

Material from ‘Repository’

1 specimen: 0157 — 0.13 ct, Mexico.

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