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The chemical formula of mineral Cryolite is indicated by Na3AlF6 or Sodium Aluminum Fluoride. Cryolite is actually a Halide mineral. The name Cryolite is derived from the Greek words kryos, which means frost and lithos, which means stone. It actually signifies ice stone as an allusion to its appearance. Mineral Cryolite was actually first discovered in the year 1799 at the Ivigtut area in Greenland. But this locality ran out of deposit by the year 1987 and most Cryolite specimens nowadays are commonly synthetic. Cryolite is known to crystallize in the monoclinic system of crystal formation. In optical mineralogy, the monoclinic system of crystal formation comprises crystals having three axes of unequal lengths. Two of which are usually found in a position that is oblique or not perpendicular to one another. However, both of which are commonly found perpendicular to the third axis.

 

            Mineral Cryolite is commonly used as an aid to aluminum processing. It has also many industrial uses and most commonly, it is used as a mineral specimen. As a mineral specimen, Cryolite is also usually found exhibiting a nice and splendid appearance when it is viewed under petrographic polarizing microscope. Cryolite has very limited natural distribution and it is considered as an uncommon mineral species. Cryolite is also considered as a one locality mineral even though it can be also found in some few minor localities. Mineral Cryolite is commonly found in large quantities in the West Coast of Greenland. Cryolite has many industrial uses. It was also actually used as a solvent of mineral bauxite, an aluminum rich ore mineral. Bauxite is actually a combination of aluminum oxides like diaspore, gibbsite and boehmite. In order to produce an aluminum metal, aluminum atoms must be removed from oxygen atoms. This is a necessary procedure that is very difficult to do. That is why mineral Cryolite made an excellent flux that made the process less expensive. At present, Cryolite is rarely used for this purpose. Sodium Aluminum fluoride is artificially produced in order to fill the void.

 

            Mineral Cryolite has a very interesting and notable property. It has a very low index of refraction when evaluated under polarized microscopes used in optical mineralogy and it is actually very close to that of the water. That is why if a perfectly clear colorless crystal of Cryolite or the powdered Cryolite is immersed in water, it will certainly disappear. Cloudy Cryolite commonly appears more transparent when crystals are evaluated under petrographic polarizing microscope used in optical mineralogy. The edges will appear less distinct just like the effect exhibited by the ice in water except for the fact that ice floats. Cryolite mineral has many metallurgical applications. It is also used in the glass and enamel industries.

 

            Cryolite is most commonly found exhibiting a vitreous luster when the mineral is closely viewed in reflected light of polarizing light microscope for geologists. Cryolite is most commonly found clear or white to yellowish in color when viewed under polarized microscopes for mineralogists. But it can also appear black or purple at some times and can be very interesting when evaluated with the aid of petrographic polarizing microscopes. Cryolite has absent cleavage even when the mineral is evaluated with several adjustments on the aperture diaphragm of the polarized microscope. But there can be three partings that can be seen visible and are commonly found in three directions producing the form of what looks like a pseudo cubic cleavage. Cryolite is also most commonly found showing uneven fracture when the mineral is evaluated under several adjustments on the aperture diaphragm of the petrographic polarizing microscope for mineralogists. The flat surface of the Cryolite crystal is commonly fractured in an uneven pattern when evaluated with the aid of petrographic polarizing microscope used in optical mineralogy. The specific gravity measure of the mineral Cryolite is commonly found as 2.95 grams per cubic centimeters, which is usually considered as an average value. The hardness measure of the mineral Cryolite when it is evaluated using the Mohs scale method is usually found ranging from 2.5 to 3.0. Cryolite is commonly found leaving a white streak when mineral specimen is rubbed on a white porcelain streak plate.

 

            Most Cryolite mineral crystals are found transparent to translucent in appearance. The crystal habit of mineral Cryolite as described in optical mineralogy commonly includes massive and pseudocubic crystals with some pseudo octahedral truncations found visible when evaluated with the aid of polarizing light microscope for geologists. Cryolite crystals are also brittle property that is commonly displayed by glasses and most nonmetallic minerals.    Cryolite has a very low index of refraction of 1.338, which is very close to that of the water. There is no salty taste that can be used as a helpful distinguishing factor from the mineral halite. Twinned crystals of mineral Cryolite are very common and this can be seen more clearly exhibited when the mineral is evaluated under polarized microscopes used in optical mineralogy. A penetration twin is commonly found at about 90degrees or 270degrees stage rotation of the petrographic polarizing microscope. There can be a possible occurrence of repeated twins at about 180degree angle stage rotation of geological polarizing microscopes used in optical mineralogy. Cryolite mineral has no dispersion display in transmitted light of polarizing microscopes. Mineral Cryolite is a nonradioactive mineral.

 

            Mineral Cryolite is commonly associated with several other interesting minerals such as columbite, siderite, wolframite, topaz, molybdenite, galena, quartz, chalcopyrite, cassiterite and fluorite. The best field indicators of mineral Cryolite commonly include crystal habit, lack of salty taste, density, locality and index of refraction. Cryolite is commonly formed in large bed in a granitic vein in gray gneiss. Mineral Cryolite notably occurs at some famous mineral locality like the Mont Saint Hilaire and Francon Quarry in Montreal Quebec, Canada and also at the Miask in Russia as well as in the foot of Pikes Peak at Creede in Colorado, USA and the Ivigtut area of Greenland.



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Monday, December 15th, 2008 at 1:28 am
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The Halides Mineral Class
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