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Gemstones 250x250

The Mineral strontianite

Spiky Strontianite Cluster

Strontianite is one of the few important minerals containing the element strontium, and, along with Celestine, is its principal ore. Strontianite was named in 1791 after its initial discovery in Strontian, Argyllshire, Scotland. The element strontium, which was undescribed prior to this occurrence, was subsequently named after this mineral and its locality.

Chemical Formula

SrCO3

Color

Colorless, white, grayish-white, light yellow, light pink, light orange, and light brown. Occasionally dark yellow and reddish-brown. May also have color zoning with pink and white colors in a single crystal.

Crystal System

Orthorhombic

Properties

Streak
White
Hardness
3.5 - 4
Transparency
Transparent to translucent
Specific Gravity
3.7
Luster
Vitreous. Greasy on cleaved surfaces.
Cleavage
1,1 - prismatic ; 3,1 - basal
Fracture
Uneven
Tenacity
Brittle
Other ID Marks
Often fluoresces blue or bluish-white in shortwave ultraviolet light.
May also thermoluminesce.

Crystal Habits

As dense, fragile, fibrous veins or in massive form, containing microscopic needles or plates. Also in globular balls with small visible crystal spikeheads. May also form as radiating, fibrous, grainy, and columnar. Other habits include bundles of long, curved crystals, and thin, long, sharply pointed needles. Rarely in pseudohexagonal trillings and singular prismatic or tabular crystals.

3D Crystal Atlas

Additional Information

Composition
Strontium carbonate, often with some calcium, and sometimes with some barium
In Group
Carbonates; Aragonite group
Striking Features
Interesting crystal habits, weight, and hardness
Environment
In low temperature sedimentary limestone deposits, sometimes also in weathered basalt and Serpentine rocks.
Rock Type
Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic

Uses

Strontianite is an important ore of strontium, and is used in sugar refining and in the production of fireworks.

Noteworthy Localities

One of the world's best Strontianite localities is Oberdorf an der Laming, Styria, Austria, which has produced large, sharp, and beautifully colored crystals of this mineral. Excellent Strontianite specimens have come from Westphalia, Germany at the Dreislar Mine, Winterberg; and the Phoenix quarry, Beckum, where large veins of this mineral contain pockets of fine crystals. A famous locality, from which the name Strontianite is derived, is Strontian, Argyllshire, Scotland. Other European localities are the Ratum quarry, Vosseveld, Netherlands; the Cavradi Gorge, Grischun, Switzerland; and Piagnolo, Campegli, and Casazzascany, Italy.

In the U.S., arguably the best Strontianite locality is the Minerva No. 1 Mine, Cave-in-Rock, Hardin Co., Illinois. Another excellent occurrence is Lime City Quarry, Lime City, Wood Co., Ohio. Pennsylvania contains several important limestone quarries where this mineral is found, specifically the Meckley Quarry, Mandata, Union Co.; Winfield, Union Co., Pennsylvania; and Lime Ridge, Mt. Pleasant Mills, Snyder Co. Other Strontianite localities include Schoharie, Schoharie Co., New York; the Holston River Quarry, Dublin, Pulaski Co., Virginia; the Strontium hills near Barstow, San Bernardino Co., California; and the Alverson Mine, Lake Conner, Skagit Co., Washington.

In Canada, Strontianite comes from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec; and the Lafarge Quarry, Dundas, Ontario.

Common Mineral Associations

Calcite, Celestine, Barite, Fluorite, Dolomite

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Calcite - Lighter in weight, usually forms in different crystal aggregates.
Aragonite - Lighter in weight.
Cerussite and Witherite - Heavier.


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