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CategoryOxide minerals
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification04.DH.15

Microlite was once[when?] known as a pale-yellow, reddish-brown, or black isometric mineral composed of sodium calcium tantalum oxide with a small amount of fluorine (Na,Ca)2Ta2O6(O,OH,F). Today[when?] it is a name of a group of oxide minerals of a similar stoichiometry having tantalum prevailing over titanium and niobium. The microlite group belongs to a large pyrochlore supergroup that occurs in pegmatites and constitutes an ore of tantalum. It has a Mohs hardness of 5.5 and a variable specific gravity of 4.2 to 6.4. It occurs as disseminated microscopic subtranslucent to opaque octahedral crystals with a refractive index of 2.0 to 2.2. Microlite is also called djalmaite, but both names are now obsolete.

"Microlite" occurs as a primary mineral in lithium-bearing granite pegmatites, and in miarolitic cavities in granites. Association minerals include: albite, lepidolite, topaz, beryl, tourmaline, spessartine, tantalite and fluorite.

"Microlite" was first described in 1835 for an occurrence on the Island of Uto, State of Stockholm, Sweden. A type locality is the Clark Ledges pegmatite, Chesterfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. The name is from Greek mikros for "small" and lithos for "stone."


  • Atencio, D., Andrade, M. B., Christy, A. G., Gieré, R., & Kartashov, P. M. (2010). The pyrochlore supergroup of minerals: nomenclature. The Canadian Mineralogist, 48(3), 673-698.doi: 10.3749/canmin.48.3.673[dead link]
  • Andrade, M. B., Atencio, D., Menezes Filho, L. A., & Ellena, J. (2011). The crystal structure of a microlite-group mineral with a formula near NaCaTa2O6F from the Morro Redondo mine, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil (vol 49, pg 615, 2011). CANADIAN MINERALOGIST, 49(5), 1338-1338.doi:10.3749/canmin.49.2.615[permanent dead link]