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Hexagonal Wurtzite Plate

The Mineral wurtzite




Wurtzite is a rare, high temperature polymorph of the common mineral Sphalerite. It forms at temperatures above 2192º F (1200º C) as hexagonal crystals. An ornamental stone known as Schalenblende (an intergrowth of Wurtzite, Sphalerite, and often Galena) is usually referenced with Wurtzite but is more often listed as a variety of Sphalerite.
Chemical Formula ZnS
This above is the formula for pure Wurtzite. However, since it often has some iron replacing the zinc, its formula is more accurately described as (Zn,Fe)S
Composition Zinc sulfide
Variable Formula (Zn,Fe)S
Color Light to dark brown
Streak Light brown
Hardness 3.5 - 4
Crystal System Hexagonal
3D Crystal Atlas
(Click for animated model) 
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Occurs in pyramidal crystals, often striated or with growth layers. Also occurs as short prismatic and tabular crystals, in capillary groupings, as fibrous and columnar masses, and in compacted aggregates.
Transparency Translucent to nearly opaque
Specific Gravity 4
Luster Resinous
Cleavage 2,1 - basal ; 3,1 - prismatic
Fracture Uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Complex Tests Dissolves in hydrochloric acid, producing a sulfurous, rotten-egg odor.
In Group Sulfides; Simple Sulfides
Striking Features Streak, color, and unique crystal habits
Environment In hydrothermal deposits usually in the sulfide zone.
Rock Type Sedimentary, Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 3
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 2


Wurtzite ON EBAY

VARIETIES
 -  Banded form of Sphalerite and Wurtzite often associated with Galena (and sometimes Pyrite). The term Schalenblende is occasionally incorrectly used as a synonym for Wurtzite.
POLYMORPHS
Sphalerite


USES
Wurtzite is a very rare mineral, and only of value to scientists and mineral collectors. Schalenblende is used as a rare ornamental stone.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
Large Wurtzite crystals come from two Bolivian mines: the San Jose Mine, Oruro; and the Siglo Veinte Mine, Llallagua, Potosi Department. Good European localities include Carrara, Tuscany, Italy; the Les Malines Mine, Saint-Laurent-le-Minier, Gard, France; Kirki, Thrace, Greece; and Pribram, Bohemia, Czech Republic. Wurtzite is also found in China in the Yaogangxian Mine, Hunan Province. A small finding of large, translucent, reddish-brown crystals, which many consider to be the best of species, have come from a recent find in the Merelani Hills, Arusha, Tanzania.

In the U.S., Wurtzite comes from Butte, Silver Bow Co., Montana; Frisco, Beaver Co., Utah; the Thomaston Dam, Litchfield Co., Connecticut; Negley, Columbiana Co., Ohio; and in the the lead mines of Reynolds Co., Missouri. Small amounts were also found in the Sterling Hill Mine in Ogdensburg, Sussex Co., New Jersey; and in Ellenville, Ulster Co., New York.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Sphalerite, Galena, Marcasite, Pyrite, Quartz, Calcite, Chalcopyrite

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
Sphalerite - Differs in crystal form and cleavage.


wurtzite PHOTOS
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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