Editorial Feature

Raite – Occurrence, Properties and Distribution

Raite was discovered in the year 1973 and named in honor of the international group of scientists, headed by Thor Heyerdahl, who were crewing the papyrus ship, Ra. Its structure is related to tuperssuatsiaite and windhoekite.

Properties of Raite

The key physical properties of Raite are as below:

  • Cell Data
    • Space group: C222
    • a = 30.44-30.6
    • b= 5.31-5.371
    • c=18.20-18.25
    • Z = 4
  • Crystal Data
    • Orthorhombic
    • Point group: 222
    • Crystals – acicular, to 2mm, in radiating clusters.
    • X-ray powder pattern: Lovozero massif, Russia
      11.4 (100), 2.939 (100), 2.650 (100), 4.5 (80), 3.8 (60b), 2.482 (60), 1.640 (60)
  • Chemical Composition
    Elements Content
    SiO2 46.20
    TiO2 3.11
    ZrO2 0.16
    Al2O3 0.12
    RE2O3 0.16
    Fe2O3 1.86
    (Nb,Ta)2O5 0.44
    FeO 0.37
    MnO 15.00
    MgO 0.20
    CaO 1.24
    Na2O 11.24
    K2O 0.17
    H2O+ 8.01
    H2O- 11.36
    CO2 0.40
  • Optical Properties
    • Semitransparent
    • Optical class- Biaxial
  • Estimated Properties
    Electron density Bulk density (electron density)= 2.37 g/cm3
    note: Specific gravity of Raite = 2.38 g/cm3
    Photoelectric PERaite = 6.19 barns/electron
    U=PERaite x ρelectron density= 14.66 barns/cm3
    Fermion index Fermion index = 0.01
    Boson index = 0.99
    GRapi = 0 (Gamma Ray American Petroleum Institute Units)
    Raite is not radioactive

How to Identify Raite

Raite appears as semitransparent gold, tan, brown, reddish brown, yellow and rose colored mineral. It shows a vitreous, silky lustre. It is a brittle mineral having density ranging from 2.32 to 2.39 and a hardness of 3.

Global Distribution

Raite is widely distributed in the following locations:

  • Canada – from Poudrette Quary in Quebec
  • Russia –from Jubilee pegmatite near the valley of Ilmajok river and Khibiny massif, Kola Peninsula

Occurrence of Raite and Useful Mineral Association

Raite occurs in the walls of fractures that are filled with nepheline in alkalic pegmatite in a differentiated alkalic massif. It is usually associated with minerals such as nepheline, aegirine, mountainite, natrolite and zorite.


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