Namesake Minerals #9

Sadly, it’s the final mineral in the mythological namesake series. But don’t worry, I’ll return to posts about minerals named after mortals in the coming weeks. If you happen to come across any more minerals named after myths and legends, please let me know! Today’s post features chabazite which gets its name from an ancient poem.

Chabazite-Ca_(Imilchil_-_Maroc)_2.JPG

Chabazite-Ca, from Imilchil, Errachidia Province, Morocco (image by Parent Gery from commons.wikimedia.org)

Quick facts:

  • Silicate mineral
  • Found in voids in basaltic rocks
  • Type locality: Dependent on composition
    • Chabazite-K: Ercolano, Mount Somma, Naples Province, Campania, Italy
    • Chabazite-Mg: Karikás Hill Quarry, Bazsi, Veszprém County, Hungary
    • Chabazite-Sr: Seidozeritovyi pegmatite, Lovozero Massif, Kola Peninsula, Russia
  • Formula: (Na2,K2,Ca,Sr,Mg)2[Al2Si4O12]2·12H2O
  • Crystal system: Triclinic
  • Hardness: 4-5
  • Density: 2.05-2.2g/cm3
white-chabazite

White chabazite, from Gamlaraett, Streymoy, Faroe Islands (image by Volker Betz from zeolite-collection.eu)

There are five varieties of chabazite which contain calcium, potassium, sodium, strontium or magnesium cations. Chabazite crystals come in a variety of colours such as orange, white, pink, yellow and brown and usualy display contact or penetration twinning. This mineral has a widespread distribution and can be found in countries such as America, Canada, Germany, Iceland and India. Materials have been created in a laboratory which are isostructural with chabazite, i.e. they have the same crystal structure but their chemical composition or unit cell dimension are different. An example of this is SSZ-13 which has an unnaturally high Si/Al ratio of 14.

chabazite-k

Chabazite-K showing twinning, from Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA (image by Van King from mindat.org)

Chabazite was named in 1788 by Louis-Augustin Bosc d’Antic. The name comes from the Greek ‘chabazios’ which means tune or melody. Chabazios is the name of one of the 20 stones in a poem called ‘Peri Lithos’ written by Orpheus. This particular stone praises the virtues of minerals so Peri Lithos sounds like the perfect poem for mineral lovers!

 

References
http://www.mindat.org/min-956.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chabazite

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