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(măg`nətīt), lustrous black, magnetic mineral, Fe3O4. It occurs in crystals of the cubic system, in masses, and as a loose sand. It is one of the important ores of iron (magnetic iron ore) and is a common constituent of igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is found in Norway, Sweden, the Urals, and various parts of the United States. A variety of magnetite, lodestone (or loadstone) exhibits polarity and is especially interesting for its natural magnetism; Magnet Cove, Ark., became famous as a source.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a mineral, a complex oxide of composition FeO.Fe2O3, containing 31 percent FeO and 69 percent Fe2O3 (a total of 72.4 percent Fe), and frequent admixtures of MgO, Cr2O3, Al2O3, MnO, and ZnO. Magnetite is a ferrite and has the inverse spinel structure. It crystallizes in the isometric system a0 = 8.3963 Å, generally forming octahedral, more rarely dodecahedral, crystals and granular aggregates. Magnetite rarely occurs in the form of colloform aggregates.

Synthesized magnetite is widely used in industry. It is usually obtained by synthesis in the solid phase following the combined roasting of pressed FeO and Fe2O3 powders at temperatures of 1000-1400°C

Magnetite is brittle with an uneven fracture; it exhibits no cleavage. It has a hardness of 5.5-6 on Mohs’ scale and a density of 4,800-5,300 kg/m3. A black mineral, it is opaque, and has a semimetallic, sometimes dull, luster. A good conductor of electricity, magnetite is classified as a ferrimagnet owing to its magnetic properties. Its magnetization is determined by the difference in magnetic moments of the mineral’s two magnetic sublattices: (1) composed of Fe2+ and Fe3+ ions, located at the octahedral points, and (2) composed of Fe3+ ions, located at the tetrahedral points. At room temperature, the saturation magnetization of magnetite is Js = 4.8 ×102 tesla (480 gauss). The coercive force Hc of natural magnetite depends on the admixture content, while that of synthesized magnetite is conditioned by the method used to obtain the magnetite. In magnetite powders, Hc increases with decreasing particle size [in fine powders, Hc ~ 12-16 kA/m (150-200 oersteds)]. Magnetodielectrics are manufactured from these powders. At temperatures above 550-600°C (above the Curie point), magnetite becomes paramagnetic. Magnetite has a melting point of 1591-1597°C. Oxidation of magnetite leads to hematite (martite); muschketowite is the pseudomorph of magnetite after crystalline hematite. Varieties of magnetite are distinguished as a result of increased content of isomorphic admixtures: magnesioferrite, manganmagnetite, vanadomagnetite, chromian magnetite, and aluminian magnetite. Magnetite is included in the titanomagnetite category when found in close penetration with ilmenite and other titanium minerals (decomposition structure of solid solutions).

Magnetite occurs in deposits of various origins; however, the main industrial deposits are located in complex magmatic, con-tact metasomatic, or regional metamorphic formations. Magnetite frequently occurs in magmatic, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks as an accessory mineral.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An opaque iron-black and streak-black isometric mineral and member of the spinel structure type, usually occurring in octahedrals or in granular to massive form; hardness is 6 on Mohs scale, and specific gravity is 5.20. Also known as magnetic iron ore; octahedral iron ore.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A natural black oxide of iron, containing from about 65 to 72% iron and sometimes a small amount of nickel and titanium; used as an aggregate in high-density concrete.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a black magnetic mineral, found in igneous and metamorphic rocks and as a separate deposit. It is a source of iron. Composition: iron oxide. Formula: Fe3O4. Crystal structure: cubic
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The magnetite concentrate proposed to be produced by the Beneficiation Plant will be treated through the planned TIVAN Processing Facility in Darwin.
It was found that the ZP of the magnetite decreased from -21.8 mV to -44 and -18.8 mV to -40 mV, respectively.
Engineer Juancho Pablo Calvez, chief metallurgist of the MGB-DENR and a member of the RandD team, said the discovery of the vanadium byproduct in magnetite sand processing into steel bolstered the case for the country to pursue efforts in value-added processing of its mineral resources.
(i) In chloride containing solutions the untreated steel sample had the least noble potential followed by samples with scales dominated by magnetite and wustite.
The values also are still quite high compared to a dissociation [mathematical expression not reproducible] of surface oxide phase (magnetite) observed.
M: magnetite nanoparticles; Dx-M: dextran-modified magnetite nanoparticles; As-M: AEPTMS-modified magnetite nanoparticles; HD: hydrodynamic diameter; SD: standard deviation; ZP: zeta potential.
As for why it took so long to tease out the true nature of magnetite, McDermott notes that experimental methods had to get ahead of what had been a satisfying chemical description.
As previously mentioned, toner is manufactured by combining polymer, pigment, magnetite, and additives.
Secondary mineralization includes serpentine, magnetite, chlorite and gamierite mostly.
Angular magnetite particles form naturally in the brain but the ones observed by the researchers were spherical showing signs that they were present due to high-temperature formation.