Kamacite - Encyclopedia

    Class : Elements
    Subclass : Metals
    Crystal system : Cubic
    Chemistry : Fe,Ni
    Rarity : Uncommon

Kamacite is a nickel-plated iron (it contains between 5 and 7% nickel, and sometimes a little cobalt) of almost exclusively meteoritic origin. Its name comes from the Greek kamas (perch, pole) to emphasize the elongated shape of its crystals. Kamacite forms flakes and lamellar masses in intergrowth with taenite, exceptionally crystals from a few millimeters to 30 cm. Along with taenite, it is the essential component of metallic meteorites (siderites), a little pure iron sometimes completing the paragenesis. In polished plate, after acid attack, these siderites show characteristic geometric arrangements : Widmanstätten figures, which result from the regular growth of taenite around lamellae of kamacite. Kamacite and taenite are also accessory minerals of lithosiderites, meteorites composed of silicates and alloys of iron and nickel. This natural alloy constituted a resource in the manufacture of various weapons for the first men.

Main photo : Metallic meteorite (Muonionalusta, Sweden) with Widmanstätten figures © R. Tanaka

Kamacite in the World

The famous Meteor Crater meteorite in Arizona, also called Canyon Diablo, is the most famous example and also the largest known mass of siderite. Kamacite is dominant there. But this mineral is also known in masses of 5 kg in Bühl, near Weimar (Hesse, Germany) and on the island Disko (Greenland) in masses of several tonnes ; these are the only two localities where kamacite is not found. meteoritic origin.

Kamacite in France

In France, kamacite is reported in iron meteorites that fell on the territory.


No twin known for this mineral species.

Fakes and treatments

No fake listed for this mineral species.

Hardness : 4
Density : 7.3 to 7.87
Fracture : Undetermined
Streak : Gray

TP : Opaque
RI : -
Birefringence : 0
Optical character : None
Pleochroism : None
Fluorescence : None

Solubility : Hydrochloric acid

Magnetism : Ferromagnetic
Radioactivity : None


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