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Stacked Witherite Aggregate

The Mineral witherite




Witherite is an uncommon mineral, especially since it easily alters to the more common mineral Barite. It alters when sulfuric acid from sulfide minerals dissolves the Witherite, and the sulfur combines with the barium to form Barite. Witherite is also formed from Calcite that loses its calcium, and gets replaced by barium, thus forming Witherite in the process.

Witherite was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in honor of William Withering (1741-1799), an English geologist, chemist, botanist, and physician. Withering is credited with the identification of this mineral as a separate species from Barite.
Chemical Formula BaCO3
Composition Barium carbonate
Color White, cream, grayish-white, pale yellow, pale green
Streak White
Hardness 3 - 3.5
Crystal System Orthorhombic
3D Crystal Atlas
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Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Crystals are always almost always twinned, usually in pseudohexagonal trillings that are bipyramidal, resembling bipyramidal hexagons. Crystals may also be elongated pseudohexagonal trillings that are not bipyramidal, and are usually scepter shaped. May also be in bladed or tabular crystals. Most crystals have striations on crystals faces, which sometimes may be deep indentations. Witherite also occurs fibrous, grainy, platy, mammilary, columnar, crusty, massive, and as groups of crystals in layers.
Transparency Transparent to translucent
Specific Gravity 4.3 - 4.6
Luster Vitreous
Cleavage 3,1 - prismatic
Fracture Uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Other ID Marks Fluorescent whitish-blue in shortwave ultraviolet light.
Complex Tests Soluble and slightly effervescent in cold, diluted, hydrochloric acid, and soluble in sulfuric acid.
In Group Carbonates; Aragonite group
Striking Features Heaviness and hardness
Environment In low temperature hydrothermal lead and Fluorite veins.
Rock Type Sedimentary
Popularity (1-4) 3
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 2


Witherite ON EBAY



USES
Witherite is used in the production of glass. Good crystals of this mineral are highly desirable among collectors.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
There are not many significant localities for Witherite. The two most noteworthy localities are are the deposits in Alston Moor, North Pennines, Cumbria, England; and the Minerva No. 1 Mine, Cave-in-Rock, Hardin Co., Illinois. Other occurrences are the Fallowfield and Settlingstones Mines, Acomb, near Hexham, Northumberland,  England; the Pigeon Roost Mine, Glenwood, Montgomery Co., Arkansas; El Portal, Mariposa Co., California; and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Barite, Fluorite, Calcite, Galena, Sphalerite

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
Strontianite and Aragonite- Lighter in weight.
Cerussite - Heavier, exhibits better cleavage.
Weloganite - Occurs in a different mineral locality.


witherite PHOTOS
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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