Namesake Minerals #6

The exploration of minerals named after myths continues! This week’s minerals have volcanic origins but only one of them derives its name from an ancient fire god. Adranosite and aiolosite are found in La Fossa Crater in Sicily (pictured above) and are ‘new minerals’ since they were discovered in 2011 and 2008 respectively.


Left: Adranosite-(Al) from La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy (image by Enrico Bonacina from Right: Adranosite-(Fe) from Anna Mine, Alsdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (image by Thomas Witzke from

Quick facts:

  • Sulphate mineral
  • Found as a sublimate on pyroclastic breccia around active fumaroles
  • Type locality: La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy
  • Formulae:
    • (NH4)4NaAl2(SO4)4Cl(OH)for adranosite-(Al)
    • (NH4)4NaFe23+(SO4)4Cl(OH)2 for adranosite-(Fe)
  • Crystal system: Tetragonal
  • Hardness: Undetermined
  • Density:
    • 2.176g/cm3 for adranosite-(Al)
    • 2.18g/cm3 for adranosite-(Fe)

This mineral comes in two forms which are isostructural with each other; the only difference in their formulae is the presence of Fe23+ in adranosite-(Fe) and Al2 in adranosite-(Al). Adranosite-(Fe) was originally classified as an anthropogenic phase that forms in burning coal dumps because it was first discovered in the coal dump at Anna Mine in Germany. However, it was later found at a natural fumarole on Vulcano Island.

Adranosite is named after an ancient god of fire called Adranus. He was worshipped by the Sicels who were an ancient population on Sicily; he was highly revered in the town Adranus (now called Adrano) which was named after him. He lived under Mount Etna, a stratovolcano in Sicily, but was driven out by Hephaestus, the Greek god of blacksmiths, metallurgy and volcanoes.



Aiolosite from La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily (image by Enrico Bonacina from

Quick facts:

  • Sulphate mineral
  • Found on altered pyroclastic breccia around intracrater fumaroles
  • Type locality: La Fossa Crater, Vulcano Island, Sicily, Italy
  • Formula: Na4Bi(SO4)3Cl
  • Crystal system: Hexagonal
  • Hardness: Undetermined
  • Density: 3.589 g/cm3

Aiolosite forms 0.5mm acicular crystals at temperatures of around 250 °C and is usually found alongside alunite, anhydrite and bismuthinite.


A carving of Aeolus in marble (image by Ed Stevenhagen from

There isn’t much information available about this mineral but a lot can be said about Aeolus, the god from which the name aiolosite is derived. Aeolus was an ancient Greek mythological character with multiple interpretations which are all associated with wind.

The most well known myth comes from Homer’s Odyssey. In this epic poem, Aeolus, the son of Hippotes, lived on a floating island called Aeolia with wife his Cyane and his six sons and six daughters. He was a mortal who kept violent storm winds locked up in his island which he would release at the command of the gods; this gave him the nickname ‘the Keeper of the Winds’. One day, he was visited by Odysseus and his crew and he invited them to stay at his home for one month. Before the crew left, he gave them the west wind to carry them home along with a bag of all the other winds. As Odysseus made his way back to Ithaca, some members of his crew opened the bag in search of riches and this blew them back to Aeolia. Aeolus refused to help them because he thought their unsuccessful journey back home meant the gods did not favour them.

In the second interpretation, Aeolus was the son of Hellen and Orseis. He became the ruler of Aeolia which later became known as Thessaly and had numerous children including Sisyphus, Athamas, Cretheus, and Salmoneus.

The final interpretation, states that Aeolus was the son of Poseidon and Arne. He led a colony to a group of islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea which became known as the Aeolian Islands. He had six sons and six daughters.


Header image by Andrea Michaliszyn from


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