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The Mineral celestine

Elongated Celestine

Celestine is an attractive mineral that forms in well-shaped crystals with a distinctive soft blue color. Crystals may be a solid color, but may also have lighter and darker color zones of blue. While pure Celestine is colorless, various impurities give this mineral a wider range of colors, especially its celestial blue color. Celestine geodes of large, deep sky-blue crystals are well-known and abundant from Madagascar.


Celestine is isomorphous with Barite, and may partially replace it. One specimen may even be part Barite and part Celestite within a single crystal. Celestine is named from the Latin term caelestis, alluding to it typical celestial sky-blue color.

Chemical Formula

SrSO4

Color

Blue, white, colorless, orange, orange-brown, light brown, yellow, greenish-blue, gray. Crystals may also be slightly multicolored, with light blue on one end and colorless on the other.

Crystal System

Orthorhombic

Properties

Streak
White
Hardness
3 - 3.5
Transparency
Transparent to translucent
Specific Gravity
3.9 - 4.0
Luster
Vitreous; pearly on cleavage surfaces
Cleavage
1,1 - basal ; 2,1 - prismatic ; 3,1 - pinacoidal
Fracture
Uneven
Tenacity
Brittle
Other ID Marks
1) Occasionally fluorescent in shortwave ultraviolet light.
2) May be thermoluminescent.

Crystal Habits

As prismatic and tabular crystals, and as thin tabular plates. Also in thick, pseudohexagonal trillings, as well as dense aggregates of such crystals. May also be massive, radiating, grainy, nodular, and botryoidal. Additional habits include fibrous masses, as dense clusters of tabular crystals, as fragile, elongated crystal clusters, as fillings in geodes, and as cleavage fragments. Crystals are sometimes striated, and occassionally contain phantom growths.

3D Crystal Atlas

Additional Information

Composition
Strontium sulfate, sometimes with small amounts of barium
In Group
Sulfates; Anhydrous Sulfates
Striking Features
Crystal forms, color zoning in some specimens, and hardness.
Environment
In sedimentary rock such as limestone. Rarely in metal ore veins.
Rock Type
Sedimentary

Other Names

Celestite

Varieties

 -   Celestine with inclusions of sand, causing the specimen to be brown or grayish in color and opaque.

Uses

Celestine is the most common mineral containing the element strontium, and is its primary ore. It is a popular mineral among collectors, and the geodes from Madagascar are used as ornamental rocks.

Noteworthy Localities

Fine Celestine specimens have been obtained from many localities worldwide. Blue and white crystals are found in Italy associated with bright yellow Sulfur crystals in the famous Sicilian mines of Cattolico, Agrigento, Floristella, and Caltanissetta. Another locality of Celestine associated with Sulfur is the Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg, Poland. 

Several important Spanish localities for this mineral are known, especially Puente Tablas, in Andalusia; Tora, in Catalonia; and Arneva, in Alicante. Fine crystals once came from Yate in Gloucester, England. Beineu-Kyr, Turkmenistan, is an uncommon yet desirable source of this mineral in the form of tabular and platy white crystals with red inclusions.

Enormous blue Celestine crystals, some in geodes, are found in Madagascar, in Sakoany, Mahajanga Province. Red Celestine which at one time was thought to be Barite comes from the Hammam-Zriba Mine, Tunisia. Other African localities are Jabal Akhdar, Libya; and the Wessels Mine, Hotazel, South Africa.

In Canada, Celestine comes from the Lafarge Quarry, Dundas; and from the Deforest Quarry, Inglewood, both in Ontario. In Mexico, Celestine is found in the Mojina Mine, Ahumada, Chihuahua; and in the Tule Mine, Melchor Múzquiz, Coahuila.

Some of the best specimens of Celestine mineral are from the United States. The type locality and earliest occurrence is Bell's Mill, Bellwood, Blair Co., Pennsylvania, where it was found in fibrous veins. Another important Pennsylvania locality is the Meckley's Quarry, Mandata, Northumberland Co. A historic Celestine occurrence is Lockport, Niagara Co., New York, where this mineral was discovered while digging the Erie Canal. There are several other Celestine localities in central New York, especially Chittenango Falls, Madison Co; and Walworth, Wayne Co. 

The state of Ohio contains perhaps the greatest deposits. Especially of note is South Bass Island in Lake Erie, where giant pale blue crystals were obtained in the hamlet of Put-in-Bay. Also in Ohio are Lime City, Portage, and the Pugh Quarry, all in Wood Co.; and Clay Center, Ottawa Co., where the Celestine occurs with pale brown Calcite and Fluorite.

Michigan contains well-known Celestine deposits in the Maybee and Scofield Quarries (near Maybee), and at the Newport Quarry, Monroe Co. Other U.S. occurrences are the Annabel Lee mine,  Hardin Co., Illinois; Bull Creek, Austin, Travis Co., Texas; and Death Valley, Inyo Co., California, where it occurs as large, colorless crystals associated with Colemanite in geodes. Celestine in geodes is also found in the Summerville and Curtis Formations, Emery and Wayne Cos., Utah.

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Barite - Very difficult to distinguish without locality information, although Barite is heavier.
Gypsum - Softer, sectile, much lighter in weight.
Calcite - Perfect rhombohedral cleavage, lighter in weight, effervesces in acid.
Feldspars - Harder, lighter in weight.
Fluorite - Forms only in isometric crystals, lighter in weight, has perfect cubic cleavage.
Colemanite - Harder, lighter in weight.


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