Editorial Feature

Brucite - Occurrence, Properties, and Distribution

Brucite is the mineral form of magnesium hydroxide, first discovered in 1824 from the New Jersey serpentine, USA. The mineral was named after the American mineralogist, A. Bruce.

Properties of Brucite

The following are the key properties of Brucite:

  • Cell Data
    • Space Group: P3m1
    • a = 3.142(1)
    • c = 4.766(2)
    • Z = 1

  • Crystal Data
    • Hexagonal
    • Point Group: 3 2/m
    • Crystals tabular {0001}, to 19cm, in platy or foliated masses and rosettes; also fibrous, to 50cm; granular, massive
    • X-ray Powder Pattern: 2.365 (100), 4.77 (90), 1.794 (55), 1.573 (35), 1.494 (18), 1.373 (16), 1.310 (12)

  • Chemical Composition
    Elements Content 1 Content 2 Content 3
    MgO 68.29 60.33 69.11
    H2O 30.74 28.6 30.89
    MnO 0.84 - -
    Fe2O3 0.1 1.95 -
    FeO - 9.57 -
    Total 99.97 100.45 100

  • Optical Properties
    • Optical Class: Uniaxial (+); anomalously biaxial
    • ω = 1.56–1.59
    • ε = 1.58–1.60
    • 2V(meas.) = Small

  • Estimated Properties
    Electron density Bulk density (electron density)= 2.44 g/cm3
    note: Specific gravity of Brucite = 2.37 g/cm3
    Photoelectric PEBrucite = 1.01 barns/electron
    U= PEBrucite x ρ Electron density= 2.45 barns/cm3
    Fermion index Fermion index = 0.04
    Boson index = 0.96
    Radioactivity
    Brucite is not radioactive

How to Identify Brucite

Brucite occurs in a white, yellow, gray-blue, gray or blue color. It exhibits perfect cleavage, transparent appearance, non-fluorescent luminescence, and non-magnetic properties. The mineral has irregular fractures, vitreous luster and white streak.

It can be formed as lamellar structures or fibrous crystals. The average density of the mineral is 2.39 g/cm3, and its hardness ranges from 2.5 to 3.

Global Distribution

Brucite is distributed in the following places:

  • Hoboken, Hudson Co. New Jersey
  • Wood’s Chrome mine, near Texas
  • Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania
  • Tilly Foster mine, Brewster, Putnam Co. New York
  • Near Gabbs, Gabbs district, Nye Co. Nevada
  • Crestmore quarry, Riverside Co. California
  • Asbestos and Wakefield, Quebec, Canada
  • Mt. Vesuvius, Campania, and at Teulada, Sardinia, Italy
  • Unst, Shetland Islands, and at Camas Mor, Isle of Muck, Scotland
  • Langban and Nordmark, Varmland, Sweden
  • Asbest, Ural Mountains, Russia
  • Ethyl mine, Mutorashanga, Zimbabwe
  • Phalaborwa, Transvaal, South Africa

Occurrence of Brucite and Useful Mineral Association

Brucite occurs as a common alteration of periclase in marble, and a low-temperature hydrothermal vein mineral in metamorphic limestones and chlorite schists. It is closely associated with chrysotile, talc, artinite, hydromagnesite, magnesite, dolomite, aragonite, and calcite.

References

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