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Thin Graphite Crystal on Matrix

The Mineral graphite




Graphite is rather common, but fine crystals are rare. Most Graphite mining areas produce enormous quantities from a single or several large Graphite veins. Graphite has the same chemical composition as the mineral Diamond, but the molecular structure of Graphite and Diamond is entirely different. This causes almost opposite characteristics in their physical properties.

Much care should be given to Graphite specimens, especially thin crystals, which are fragile. It is very hard to wash crystals as they peel off and get ruined. Graphite will also smudge on its surface, and can get worn out if it is moved around too much. Graphite also smudges the hand if handled, and will smudge a label or cardboard box if stored in one.
Chemical Formula C
Composition Carbon
Color Silver-gray to black
Streak Black
Hardness 1 - 2
Crystal System Hexagonal
3D Crystal Atlas
(Click for animated model) 
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Crystals consist of thin hexagonal plates or distorted clusters of flaky plates on a matrix. Large thick hexagonal crystals are rare. Most often occurs as veins and in massive form, which can be very large in size. Small, rounded ball-like aggregates and radiating spheres also occur.
Transparency Opaque
Specific Gravity 1.9 - 2.3
Luster Metallic
Cleavage 1,1 - basal
Fracture Conchoidal
Tenacity Brittle; thin flakes are flexible
Other ID Marks 1) Has a greasy feel.
2) Smudges the hands when touched.
3) Is a good conductor of electricity (although it is a poor conductor of heat).
In Group Native Elements; Non-Metallic Elements
Striking Features Low weight, greasy feel, smudge, and low hardness.
Environment Most often in metamorphic rock caused from the metamorphism of carbonates. Rarely in pegmatites and hydrothermal veins.
Rock Type Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 1
Prevalence (1-3) 1
Demand (1-3) 1

Graphite ON EBAY
OTHER NAMES
Black Lead
Grafito
Pencil Ore
Plumbago

VARIETIES
 -  Rare hexagonal polymorph of Graphite and Diamond formed only in a meteoric environment where extreme heat and pressure caused it to form. To date, it is only found in Mottigen, Ries Crater, in Bavaria, Germany. As it differs in crystal structure, Chaoite is scientifically categorized as an individual mineral species.
POLYMORPHS
Diamond, Lonsdaleite, Chaoite

USES
The "lead" in pencils is in fact composed of a mixture of Graphite and clay. There is no lead in pencils at all. Much of the commercially mined Graphite is used for pencil fillings. Its main function, however, is as a lubricant. It has many electrical uses, primarily because it is the only common nonmetal that is a good conductor of electricity.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
Fine Graphite crystals are rare, but some well-known worldwide localities are Pargas, Finland; Mount Vesuvius, Italy; Borrowdale, Cumbria, England; and Mont Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, Canada. The Merelani Hills of Arusha, Tanzania, has produced sharp crystal plates.

In the U.S., extensive commercial Graphite deposits exist in Ticonderoga, Essex Co., New York, and in Clay Co., Alabama. Graphite as small flakes and plates is common in the Franklin Marble Belt, specifically at Amity, Orange Co., NY, and across the state border at Franklin, Ogdensburg, and Sparta, Sussex Co., New Jersey. Crystal masses and large plates have also come from the Hudson Highlands region, especially near Stony Point, Rockland County, New York. Flecks have also been found at the French Creek mine Chester Co., Pennsylvania; at Bisbee, Cochise Co., Arizona; and at Crestmore, Riverside Co., California.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Calcite, Quartz, Muscovite, Biotite (Marble, Limestone)

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
There are quite a number of minerals similar in appearance to Graphite, but Graphite's intrinsic properties will easily distinguish it. Molybdenite, which is commonly confused with Graphite, is heavier and does not smudge.


graphite PHOTOS
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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