Gaspeite

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Gaspeite
Gaspeite-235283.jpg
Gaspeite
General
Category Carbonate mineral, anhydrous subgroup
Formula
(repeating unit)
(Ni,Fe,Mg)CO3
Strunz classification 05.AB.05
Dana classification 14.01.01.08 Calcite group
Identification
Color Pale green, light grass or apple green
Crystal habit Rhombic crystal aggregates, nodular concretions (botryoidal), massive
Crystal system Trigonal - Hexagonal Scalenohedral H-M Symbol (32/m) Space Group: R 3c
Cleavage {1011} Good
Fracture Uneven
Mohs scale hardness 4.5 - 5
Luster Vitreous to dull
Streak Yellow green
Diaphaneity Translucnt
Specific gravity 3.71
Optical properties Uniaxial (-)
Refractive index nω = 1.830 nε = 1.610
Birefringence δ = 0.220
Solubility HCl soluble
Other characteristics Weakly magnetic
References [1][2][3]

Gaspeite, a very rare nickel carbonate mineral, with the formula (Ni,Fe,Mg)CO3, is named for the place it was first described, in the Gaspé Peninsula, Québec, Canada.

Gaspeite is the nickel rich member of the calcite group. A solid solution series exists between all members of this group with divalent cations readily exchanged within the common crystal structure. It forms massive to reniform pappillary aggregates in fractures, bottryoidal concretions in laterite or fracture infill. It is also present as stains and patinas on iron oxide boxworks of gossanous material.

Paragenesis[edit]

Gaspeite is formed in the regolith as a supergene enrichment mineral of hypogene nickel sulfide minerals, generally in arid or semi-arid environments which produce conditions amenable to concentration of calcareous or carbonate minerals in the weathering profile.

Gaspeite from Widgiemooltha is associated with talc carbonated komatiite-associated nickel sulfide gossans and is probably formed by substitution of nickel into carbonates such as magnesite which are formed by oxidation of the talc-carbonate lithology, and of primary and supergene nickel sulfide minerals.

Gaspeite is formed from a similar process to the weathering of other sulfide minerals to form carbonate minerals. The sulfide minerals which are weathered to produce gaspeite are pentlandite, violarite, millerite and rarely nickeline.

Occurrence[edit]

Gaspeite is known from a handful of locations worldwide. Aside from its type locality in Canada, gaspeite is found in the nickeliferous gossans of Kambalda type komatiitic nickel ore deposits in Kambalda, and nearby Widgie Townsite, Widgiemooltha, both south of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, in both locations also associated with garnierite and kambaldaite.

Nickel carbonate, though not conclusively proven to be gaspeite, is also reported in hydrothermally altered ultramafic rocks in New South Wales, Australia, associated with serpentinite bodies and lode gold deposits.

Gaspeite is reported from the Lord Brassey Mine, Tasmania, in association with hellyerite.

Uses[edit]

Gaspeite presence in the geologic environment may be used as an ore mining indicator of nickel rich minerals nearby.

Gaspeite stones are used for carving ornamental objects and animal figurines, and are also cut and polished into attractive apple green color (often veined) cabochons for jewelry use.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  • Thornber, M. R. (1975a) Supergene alteration of sulphides, I. A chemical model based on massive nickel sulphide deposits at Kambalda, Western Australia. Chemical Geology, 15, 1-14.
  • Thornber, M. R. (1975b) Supergene alteration of sulphides, II. A chemical study of the Kambalda nickel deposits. Chemical Geology, 151 117-144.
  • Thornber, M. R.; Nickel, E. H. (1976). "Supergene alteration of sulphides, III. The composition of associated carbonates". Chemical Geology 17,: 45–72.