Editorial Feature

Burckhardtite - Occurrence, Properties, and Distribution

Burckhardtite was named after Carlos Burckhardt (1869-1935), a Mexican geologist.

Properties of Burckhardtite

The following are the key properties of burckhardtite:

  • Cell Data
    • Space group: C-centered cell
    • a = 5.21
    • b = 9.04
    • C =12.85
    • β = 90°
    • Z = 2

  • Crystal Data
    • Monoclinic; pseudohexagonal
    • Point group: n.d.
    • Rarely as hexagonal crystals, to 50µm, typically overgrown on dickite
    • As crystal rosettes, < 0.2mm
    • X-ray powder pattern: 3.11 (100), 12.8 (90), 3.70 (90), 2.60 (70), 1.840 (60), 1.590 (50), 2.26 (30b)

  • Chemical Composition
    Elements Content 1
    PbO 45.23
    SiO2 20.28
    TeO2 17.03
    Fe2O3 7.25
    Al2O3 5.44
    H2O [3.59]
    Mn2O3 1.18
    Total [100.00]

  • Optical Properties
    • Optical Class: Biaxial (–)
    • Pleochroism: X = pale magenta; Y = Z = carmine
    • α = 1.82; β = 1.85 ; γ = 1.85
    • 2V(meas.) = Small

  • Estimated Properties
    Electron density Bulk density (electron density) = 4.36 g/cm3
    note: Specific gravity of Burckhardtite = 4.96 g/cm3
    Photoelectric PEBurckhardtite = 824.4 barns/electron
    U=PEBurckhardtite x ρ electron density = 3,593.24 barns/cm3
    Fermion index Fermion index = 0.11
    Boson index = 0.89
    Burckhardtite is not radioactive

How to Identify Burckhardtite

Burckhardtite can be identified in the field by its color variations, such as violet-red, carmine-red, and pink. It has {001} perfect cleavage. This mineral has an adamantine - pearly luster, with light red streak.

The density of Burckhardtite is 4.96 g/cm3 with a hardness of 2 – approximate to gypsum.

Global Distribution

Burckhardtite is distributed in the following places:

  • Mexico -In the Moctezuma mine, Moctezuma, Sonora
  • USA – Arizona Cochise Co. Huachuca Mts, Hartford District (Huachuca Mountains District), Carr Canyon, Reef Mine (Tungsten Reef Mine; Exposed Reef Mine; Sitric Mine; Reef group of claims); California, San Bernardino Co. Baker, Otto Mountain, Bird Nest drift

Occurrence of Burckhardtite and Useful Mineral Association

Burckhardtite typically occurs in a breccia, loosely cemented by dickite, in very thin disseminations on quartz fragments.

It is often associated with minerals such as moctezumite, zemannite, tellurite, dickite, barite, and quartz.


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