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Childrenite, atencioïte 7100.4927.jpg
Category Phosphate minerals
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 8.DD.20
Crystal system Orthorhombic
Crystal class Pyramidal (mm2)
(same H-M symbol)
Space group Bba2
Unit cell a = 10.41 Å, b = 13.42 Å,
c = 6.92 Å; Z = 8
Color Yellowish brown, brown, clove-brown; colorless in transmitted light.
Cleavage Poor/indistinct on {100}
Fracture Irregular/uneven, sub-conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness 5
Luster Vitreous, resinous
Streak White
Diaphaneity Transparent, translucent
Specific gravity 3.11 - 3.19
Optical properties Biaxial (-)
Refractive index nα = 1.644 - 1.649 nβ = 1.662 - 16.830 nγ = 1.671 - 1.691
Birefringence δ = 0.027 - 0.042
Pleochroism Visible
2V angle Measured: 40° to 45°, calculated: 50°
Dispersion r > v strong
Solubility Soluble in acids.
References [1][2][3]

Childrenite is a rare hydrated phosphate mineral with elements iron, manganese, aluminium, phosphorus, oxygen and hydrogen. Its chemical formula is (Fe,Mn)AlPO4(OH)2 • H2O and it has a molecular weight of 229.83 g/mol. Its specific gravity is 3.2 and it has a Mohs hardness of 4.5 to 5. It is usually translucent and non-fluorescent, with imperfect cleavage. It has a vitreous lustre with a white streak, and is brown or yellow in color. It has a conchoidal, uneven fracture, and an orthorhombic crystal system.

History and formation[edit]

Childrenite was discovered in 1823 by John George Children (1777–1852), who was a prominent English chemist and mineralogist. This secondary mineral was first found in the George and Charlotte Mine near Tavistock in Devon. Its formation is probably from the alteration of granitic phosphates like lithiophilite and triphylite. Childrenite is also found in some ore veins.

Relationship to other species[edit]

Childrenite forms a solid solution series with eosphorite. The chemical composition of eosphorite only differs by being rich in manganese and not in iron. The structures are the same, and differences in properties can be traced to the iron/manganese percentage. Of the two, childrenite is denser. Furthermore, eosphorite is normally pink in color, which can be attributed to manganese.