Babingtonite – Occurrence, Properties, and Distribution Of Babingtonite

Babingtonite was named after the Irish mineralogist and physician, Dr. William Babington. It is a member of the Babingtonite group of minerals. The other members are scandiobabingtonite and manganbabingtonite.

Properties of Babingtonite

The following are the key properties of Babingtonite:

  • Cell Data
    • Space group: P1
    • a = 7.50(1)
    • b = 12.18(1)
    • c = 6.68(1)
    • α = 86°3(5)'
    • β = 93°59(5)'
    • γ = 112°19(5)'
    • Z = 2
  • Crystal Data
    • Triclinic
    • Point group: 1
    • Stubby, prismatic, striated crystals, to 3 cm
    • Platy and sub-parallel aggregates
    • X-ray powder pattern: 2.75 (100), 2.87 (80), 3.12 (70), 2.17 (60), 2.95 (60b), 2.47 (50),  6.69 (40)
  • Chemical Composition
    Elements Content 1 Content 2 Content 3
    SiO2 52.8 52.44 52.41
    CaO 19.19 19.67 19.56
    Fe2O3 13.17 14.43 13.93
    FeO 7.68 10.12 12.53
    Al2O3 2.41 0.23 -
    MnO 1.89 1.03 -
    MgO 0.92 0.65 -
    H2O 0.91 1.27 1.57
    Na2O 0.48 0.08 -
    TiO2 0.29 0 -
    Total 99.74 99.92 100
  • Optical Properties
    • Optical class: Biaxial (-)
    • Pleochroism: X = deep green; Y = lilac-brown; Z = pale to deep brown.
    • Dispersion: r > v; strong.
    • α = 1.700(3)
    • β = 1.710(3)
    • γ = 1.725(3)
    • 2V (meas.) = 50(2)°
  • Estimated Properties
    Electron density Bulk density (electron density)=3.48 gm/cm3
    note: Specific gravity of Babingtonite =3.53 gm/cm3
    Photoelectric PEBabingtonite = 8.31 barns/electron
    U=PEBabingtonite x ρelectron density= 28.96 barns/cm3
    Fermion index Fermion index = 0.01
    Boson index = 0.99
    Radioactivity
     
    GRapi = 0 (Gamma Ray American Petroleum Institute Units)
    Babingtonite is not radioactive

How to Identify Babingtonite

Babingtonite can be identified in the field by its greenish black, brownish black, and black variations. The appearance of this mineral is transparent to translucent. It is a non-fluorescent mineral with a glassy lustre, a brown streak, and cleavages. The conchoidal fractures on the surface are smooth curves. Its radial crystals radiate from the center without producing stellar patterns. A number of crystal tipped surfaces are produced by druse crystal growth in a cavity. The density of Babingtonite is 3.4 gm/cm3 and its hardness ranges from 5.5 to 6.

Global Distribution

Babingtonite is widely distributed in many locations. The key locations are listed below:

  • Russia - Norilsk, western Siberia
  • Norway- Brastad mine, Oyestad, near Arendal
  • Germany- Herbornseelbach, Hesse
  • Italy - Baveno, Piedmont
  • Austria - Seebach valley, Bodenhütte
  • China - Tongshankou Mine ,Zhaotong Prefecture, Qiaojia Co.
  • Iceland - Hvalfjordur
  • India - Khandivali quarry, near Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Sweden -Gronsjoberg, Dalarma
  • Japan- Mitani, Kochi Prefecture, Yaguki mine
  • New Zealand - Three Kings Islands
  • Australia -Black Perry Mountain, Western Australia-Weld Range
  • USA – In Massachusetts- Lane's quarry, Westfield, Hampden Co.
    In the Cheapside and Deerfield quarries, East Deerfield, Franklin Co.
    At Paterson, Passaic Co., Mine Hill, Morris Co., New Jersey
    At Goose Creek quarry, Leesburg, Loudoun Co., Virginia
    At Winchester Highlands, Uxbridge, Norfolk Co.
    At Lenoir, Caldwell Co., North Carolina.

Occurrence of Babingtonite and Useful Mineral Association

Babingtonite occurs in the veins cutting granite pegmatite and diorite, in the cavities and vugs in mafic volcanic rocks and gneisses, and in skarns. It is often associated with minerals such as calcite, epidote, orthoclase, prehnite, albite, zeolites, garnet, quartz, and hornblende.

G.P. Thomas

Written by

G.P. Thomas

Gary graduated from the University of Manchester with a first-class honours degree in Geochemistry and a Masters in Earth Sciences. After working in the Australian mining industry, Gary decided to hang up his geology boots and turn his hand to writing. When he isn't developing topical and informative content, Gary can usually be found playing his beloved guitar, or watching Aston Villa FC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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