Babingtonite - Encyclopedia

    Class : Silicates
    Subclass : Inosilicates
    Crystal system : Triclinic
    Chemistry : Ca2Fe2Si5O14(OH)
    Rarity : Rare


Babingtonite is a rare mineral from the group of pyroxenoids, silicates whose chain structure is very similar to that of pyroxenes. It is a mineral of granitic pegmatites, as well as of basalt cavities, where it is frequently associated with zeolites. This mineral owes its name to the Irish physicist and mineralogist William Babington. Usually massive, forming encrustations, it sometimes occurs as small, shiny dark brown to greenish black crystals. Voted "state mineral" in Massachusetts, in reference to the abundance and quality of the crystals found there, babingtonite has no particular use.

Babingtonite from Hongquizhen Quarry, Sichuan Province, China
Babingtonite from Hongquizhen Quarry, Sichuan Province, China
Babingtonite from Hongquizhen Quarry, Sichuan Province, China
Babingtonite from Hongquizhen Quarry, Sichuan Province, China

Babingtonite in the World

It is an almost common mineral in Massachusetts, where the basalt quarries of Lane Trap Rocks and Athol yielded the most beautiful crystals known (4 cm) until the discovery of the Chinese deposits, black in color, associated with the epidote and prehnite. The zeolite basalt quarries at Khandivali near Mumbai yielded rosettes of crystals at most centimeter size on prehnite and with okenite. The granitic pegmatites of Baveno (Piedmont, Italy) present crystals of 10 mm maximum, implanted on twinned orthoclase, constituting very spectacular associations. Finally, the Norwegian Arendal deposit gave 2 cm babingtonite crystals associated with epidote. Since the 2010's, small Chinese occurrences have provided excellent large babingtonite crystals (up to 5.5 cm) and other minerals in basalt cavities, which cover large parts of the southern Sichuan provinces and from northeastern Yunnan. A productive area stretches for many kilometers along the Yangtze River in Qiaojia County, and similar occurrences are also seen in many places in neighboring Sichuan Province. The localities consist of small artisanal quarries which were mostly dug by collectors.

Babingtonite in France

In France, babingtonite is reported in the Rossberg Massif (Haut-Rhin) associated with datolite and prehnite as well as with the andesite quarry of Trapp near Raon-l'Etape (Vosges).

Twinning

Babingtonite has no twinned crystals known.

Fakes and scams

No scam known for this mineral.



Hardness : 5.5 to 6
Density : 3.34 to 3.37
Fracture : Irregular
Trace : Green



TP : Opaque
RI : 1.700 to 1.725
Birefringence : 0.025
Optical character : Biaxial -
Pleochroism : Not visible (opaque)
Fluorescence : None


Solubility : Hydrofluoric acid

Magnetism : None
Radioactivity : None

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