Spodumene

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spodumene

[′spä·jə‚mēn]
(mineralogy)
LiAlSi2O6 A white to yellowish-, purplish-, or emerald-green clinopyroxene mineral occurring in prismatic crystals; hardness is 6.5-7 on Mohs scale, and specific gravity 3.13-3.20; an ore of lithium. Also known as triphane.

Spodumene

 

(also triphane), a mineral of the clinopyroxene group, which belongs to the inosilicate class of silicates. The chemical composition is LiAl[Si2O6]. Spodumene forms elongated prismatic crystals 1–10 cm in length; the length of the crystals sometimes reaches 1 m and, less frequently, 10–16 m. Colors are gray, yellowish, greenish, or pinkish, but sometimes the mineral is colorless. The transparent pink and violet-pink varieties are called kunzite, whereas the emerald green varieties are called hiddenite.

Spodumene has a vitreous luster, a hardness of 6.5–7 on Mohs’ scale, a density of 3,100–3,200 kg/m3, and a perfect cleavage along the prism. When heated in the temperature range 950°-l 100°C, natural α-spodumene changes to the β-modification of the crystal structure (β-spodumene).

Spodumene occurs in granitic pegmatites of the sodium-lithium type in association with quartz, microcline, albite, beryl, lepidol-ite, tantalite, and, sometimes, pollucite and other minerals. It often alters to aggregates of eucryptite (LiAlSiO4) or aggregates of sericite with albite. In the waste mantle, it alters easily to clay minerals. Spodumene is the primary mineral of lithium ores; kun-zite and hiddenite are gems. In other countries, spodumene is used in the production of ceramics.

REFERENCES

Ginzburg, A. I. “Spodumen i protsessy ego izmeneniia.” Tr. Mineralogicheskogo muzeia AN SSSR, 1959, issue 9.
Gordienko, V. V. Mineralogiia, geokhimiia i genezis spodumenovykh pegmatitov. Leningrad, 1970.
Ginzburg, A. I., and G. P. Lugovskoi. “Mestorozhdeniia litiia.” In Rudnye mestorozhdeniia SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1974.

A. I. GINZBURG