Smithsonite



Smithsonite, a zinc carbonate mineral, was possibly first reported by Nuttall (1822) as carbonate of zinc, but he might have seen hydrozincite. Although reported from both Franklin and Sterling Hill, smithsonite is anomalously rare in these orebodies so rich in carbonate and zinc. This may be partially explained by the decarbonatization of pre-existing smithsonite to form zincite.
Palache (1928a, 1935) described and illustrated colorless, scalenohedral crystals of smithsonite, with a density of 4.43 g/cm3, but such crystals are rare. The preponderance of the very sparse local smithsonite is impure and massive. Palache (1935) reported earthy white films on zincite and an occurrence in a vein, but few observations of any kind have been made on verified material. No measurements have been made on analyzed material. Bostwick (1992) reported it to have a moderate white fluorescence in shortwave and longwave ultraviolet. There are no chemical data.
From Franklin, Palache reported fine crystals, white coatings on zincite, and a foot-thick vein he considered to be derived from sphalerite. It was reported and illustrated from the Buckwheat Dolomite (Peters et al., 1983); it should be emphasized that this occurrence of smithsonite is probably unrelated genetically to the orebody zinc minerals.
At Sterling Hill, Frondel (1972) reported the same coatings on zincite and also reported it as stalactitic masses, globular aggregates, and crusts. Some so-labeled specimens have proven to be hydrozincite (which would also give positive chemical tests for Zn and carbonate). Much of the light blue material and white, dull, earthy material from Sterling Hill which has been mislabeled smithsonite is in fact hemimorphite. [Dunn] has found brown granular smithsonite as part of the impure yellow undercoating of Sterling Hill hemimorphite specimens. Much local calcite has been mislabeled as smithsonite. (Dunn, 1995)


 Location Found: Franklin and Ogdensburg
     
 
     
 Formula: ZnCO3
 Essential Elements: Carbon, Oxygen, Zinc
 All Elements in Formula: Carbon, Oxygen, Zinc
     
 IMA Status: Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
     
Fluorescent Mineral Properties

 Shortwave UV light: Fairly weak pale yellow
 Mid wave UV light: Fairly weak pale yellow
 Longwave UV light: Fairly weak pale yellow
 Additional Information: Phosphoresces fairly weak pale yellow
     
 To find out more about this mineral at minDat's website, follow this link   Smithsonite

     
 References:
Dunn, Pete J. (1995). Franklin and Sterling Hill New Jersey: the world's most magnificent mineral deposits. Franklin, NJ.: The Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society. p.615

Frondel, Clifford (1972). The minerals of Franklin and Sterling Hill, a checklist. NY.: John Willey & Sons. p.76


The Picking Table References
 PT Issue and PageDescription / Comment
V. 58, No. 1 - Spring 2017, pg. 17Fluorescent Minerals of Franklin and Sterling Hill, N.J., Part 2, Richard C. Bostwick - Smithsonite
View IssueV. 33, No. 2 - Fall 1992, pg. 11The Check List of Franklin-Sterling Hill Fluorescent Minerals - Smithsonite (Fluorescent Info)
View IssueV. 24 No. 2 - Fall 1983, pg. 17Minerals of the Buckwheat Dolomite Franklin, New Jersey, Smithsonite (small description)
View IssueV. 18, No. 2 - September 1977, pg. 18The Fluorescent Minerals of Franklin and Sterling Hill, NJ by Richard C. Bostwick - Smithsonite
View IssueV. 13, No. 2 - August 1972, pg. 13The Fluorescent Minerals of Franklin/Ogdensburg Area by Frank Z. Edwards - Smithsonite (Fluorescent Info)
     
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