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Gemstones 250x250

The Mineral babingtonite

Very Large Babingtonite on Calcite

Babingtonite is a not a common mineral, and is usually associated with zeolites. It is found as small, dark, lustrous crystals on light-colored zeolites, creating specimens of strong contrast. Such specimens are much sought after by collectors. Recent findings in China have produced some very large crystals unlike any others previously known. Babingtonite sometimes pseudomorphs into other minerals, especially amphiboles as witnessed by the abundance of altered Babingtonite at Paterson and Prospect Park, New Jersey.

Chemical Formula

Ca2Fe2+Fe3+Si5O14(OH)
This is the formula for pure Babingtonite. However, it usually contains a small amount of manganese replacing some of the 2+ iron, and because of this its formula is sometimes written Ca2(Fe2+,Mn)Fe3+Si5O14(OH).

Color

Black, dark green, dark brown, bluish gray

Crystal System

Triclinic

Properties

Streak
Gray
Hardness
5.5 - 6
Transparency
Opaque. Translucent in thin splinters.
Specific Gravity
3.2 - 3.4
Luster
Submetallic
Cleavage
2,2 - forming at an angle near 90º
Fracture
Subconchoidal to uneven
Tenacity
Brittle
Other ID Marks
Occasional weak attraction to magnetic fields.

Crystal Habits

Rarely as prismatic crystals. Most often as small flat plates and in equant crystals, but sometimes in grainy and platy aggregates. Also in thin flattened rectangular crystals and in rosette shaped aggregates. Babingtonite crystals are sometimes striated.

3D Crystal Atlas

Additional Information

Composition
Basic calcium iron silicate, very often with some manganese
In Group
Silicates; Inosilicates
Striking Features
Color, luster, mineral associations, and paramagnetism.
Environment
As a secondary mineral in igneous basalt environments.
Rock Type
Igneous

Varieties

 -   Mineral very similar to Babingtonite in which there is a greater content of manganese over iron over as the second element. Its chemical formula is Ca2(Mn,Fe2+)Fe3+Si5O14(OH). Manganbabingtonite is often regarded as a variety of Babingtonite, but it scientifically classified as a separate species.

Uses

Babingtonite is a rare mineral that is very much sought after by collectors.

Noteworthy Localities

Exceptional crystals, the largest in the world, come from Qiaojia, Yunnan Province, China. Another important Chinese locality of large crystals is the Hongquizhen Quarry, Meigu Co., in Sichuan Province. The Deccan Plateu basalts of India have also produced good lustrous crystals associated with Apophyllite and zeolites, especially at Nasik, Kandivali, Mumbai, and Poona, all in Maharashtra state.

European Babingtonite localities include Baveno, Piedmont, Italy; Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway; and Grönsjöberget, Borlänge, Sweden.

In the U.S., the most notable occurrence is the Lane Quarry, Westfield, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. There are several other quarries in Massachusetts that have produced notable Babingtonite crystals, including the Cheapside Quarry, Deerfield, Franklin Co.; Blueberry Hill, near Woburn, Middlesex Co.; and Mount Tom, Holyoke, Hampden Co.

Very large crystals associated with Prehnite came from the Roncari quarry, East Granby, Hartford Co., Connecticut. The New Jersey traprock quarries, especially Paterson and Prospect Park, in Passaic Co. produce interesting rosette shaped Babingtonite aggregates, very often alter to bluish-gray Actinolite. Manganbabingtonite is well known from the Iron Cap Mine, Graham Co., Arizona.

Common Mineral Associations

Quartz, Prehnite, Apophyllite, Stilbite, Chabazite, Natrolite, Epidote

Distingushing Similar Minerals

The mineral associations and occasional paramagnetism of Babingtonite make it distinct.

babingtonite Photos



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