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Psilomelane



  Psilomelane, also known as black hematite, is a group name for hard black manganese oxides such as hollandite and romanechite. Psilomelane consists of hydrous manganese oxide with variable amounts of barium and potassium. Generalized formula may be represented as Ba(Mn2+)(Mn4+)8O16(OH)4 or as (Ba,H2O)2Mn5O10. It is sometimes considered to be a hydrous manganese manganate, but of doubtful composition. The amount of manganese present corresponds to 70-80% of manganous oxide with 10-15% of available oxygen. The mineral is amorphous and occurs as botryoidal and stalactitic masses with a smooth shining surface and submetallic lustre.

Additional recommended knowledge

Psilomelane is readily distinguished from other hydrous manganese oxides (manganite and wad) by its greater hardness 5 to 6; the specific gravity varies from 3.7 to 4.7. The streak is brownish black and the fracture smooth. Owing to its amorphous nature, the mineral often contains admixed impurities, such as iron hydroxides. It is soluble in hydrochloric acid with evolution of chlorine gas.

The name has reference to this characteristic appearance, from the Greek for (naked, smooth) and (black); a Latinized form is calvonigrite, and a German name with the same meaning is Schwarzer Glaskopf.

It is a common and important ore of manganese, occurring under the same conditions and having the same commercial applications as pyrolusite. It is found at many localities; amongst those which have yielded typical botryoidal specimens may be mentioned the Restormel iron mine at Lostwithiel in Cornwall, Brendon Hills in Somerset, Hoy in Orkney, Sayn near Coblenz, and Crimora in Augusta county, Virginia. With pyrolusite it is extensively mined in Vermont, Virginia, Arkansas, and Nova Scotia.

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Mindat with locality data
  • Webmineral
  • Mineral galleries
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Psilomelane". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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