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CategoryPhyllosilicate mineral
Chemical formula(K,Na,Ca)1.2-2.0(Fe+3,Al,Fe+2,Mg)4(Si7-7.6Al1-0.4O20)(OH)4·7nH20 [1]
ColorBlue green, green, yellow green
Crystal habitPlaty micaceous or rounded pellets
Crystal systemMonoclinic - Prismatic 2/m
CleavagePerfect [001]
Mohs Scale hardness2
LusterDull - earthy
Refractive indexnα = 1.590 - 1.612 nβ = 1.609 - 1.643 nγ = 1.610 - 1.644
Optical PropertiesBiaxial (-)
Birefringenceδ = 0.020 - 0.032
PleochroismX = yellow-green, green; Y = Z = deeper yellow, bluish green
StreakLight green
Specific gravity2.4 - 2.95
DiaphaneityTranslucent to nearly opaque.

Glauconite is a phyllosilicate (mica group) mineral.

It can also be referred to as an iron silicate. It crystallizes with monoclinic geometry. The name is derived from the Greek glaucos (γλαυκος) meaning 'gleaming' or 'silvery', to describe the appearance of the blue-green color, presumably relating to the sheen and blue-green color of the sea's surface. Its color ranges from olive green, black green to bluish green. It is probably the result of the iron content of the mineral. In the Mohs scale it has hardness of 2. The relative specific gravity range is 2.4 - 2.95. It is normally found in dark green rounded nodules of sand size dimension. It can be confused with chlorite or with some clays.

Normally, glauconite is considered diagnostic of continental shelf marine depositional environments with slow rates of accumulation. Typically, it appears in Jurassic/lower Cretaceous deposits of greensand, so-called after the coloration provided by the glauconite. It can also be found in impure limestones and in chalk. It develops as a consequence of diagenetic alteration of sedimentary deposits, changes in the biotite micas, for example, being influenced by the decaying process of the organic matter in animal shells. Glauconite forms under reducing conditions in sediments and such deposits are commonly found in nearshore sandstones, open oceans and the Mediterranean Sea but not in the Black Sea or in fresh-water lakes. It oxidises on contact with air; the resulting deoxygenated air is a hazard to miners.

Glauconite has long been used in Europe as an artistic oil paint, especially in Russian "icon paintings".

The wide distribution of these sandy deposits was first made known by naturalists on board H.M.S. Challenger, in the expedition of 1872-1876.


  1. ^ Schlumberge Oilfield glossary
  2. ^ Handbook of Mineralogy
  3. ^ Webmineral
  4. ^ Mindat
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Glauconite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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