Smithsonite Visible to Near-infrared Spectra (350 - 2800 nm)

Smithsonite, a zinc carbonate, occurs in a variety of colors. An absorption band centered at 937 nm that is responsible for the bluish-green color arises from Cu2+, a commonly associated minor component of the smithsonite. Cadmium (as the sulfide) is the cause of yellow color.


Notes on the color of smithsonite

Blue-Green; From the Graphic Mine, Kelly, Socorro County, New Mexico.

Bershov et al (1968) examined blue smithsonite and concluded that Cu2+ isomorphously replaces Zn2+ in smithsonite.

Yellow; From Marion County, Arkansas

In 1938, Schaller and Fairchild attributed the color of yellow smithsonite to the presence of greenockite (CdS) at the level of a few tenths of a percent. Hurlbut (1954) analyzed smithsonite from the Broken Hill Mine, Rhodesia and found 0.4 wt% FeO and 0.05 wt% CdO. 
Light brownish to yellowish smithsonite from Katy, Poland, was described by Zabinski (1958). He found iron contents ranging up to 15.8 wt% FeO. His X-ray data indicated that iron and zinc isomorphously substitute for each other in smithsonite.

Pink; From Chihuahua, Mexico
Mincheva-Stepanova (1955) and Mincheva-Stefonova and Neikov (1991) described raspberry-red to peach-colored smithsonite from Bulgaria that contained up to 5.30 wt% CoO.


Others:

Light brownish to yellowish smithsonite from Katy, Poland, was described by Zabinski (1958). He found iron contents ranging up to 15.8 wt% FeO. His X-ray data indicated that iron and zinc isomorphously substitute for each other in smithsonite.


References

Bershov, L. V.; Mineeva, R. M.; Nyussik, Ya. M (1968) Forms of copper entrance into some minerals. Geokhimiya 11,  1398-400.  In Russian.     
Schaller WT, Fairchild JG (1938) Cadmium in  smithsonite  from New Mexico. American Mineralogist 23, 894-897. 
Hurlbut CS (1954) Smithsonite  from Broken Hill Mine, Rhodesia. American Mineralogist 39, 47-50. 
Mincheva-Stepanova J (1955) A hydrothermal cobaltoan smithsonite.  Izvestiya na Geologicheskiya Institut, Bulgarska Akademiya na Naukite 3, 3-24. In German.
Mincheva-Stefanova, I, Neikov K (1991) Varieties of the hydrothermal smithsonite from the Sedmochislenici deposit, western Stara Planina. Geokhimiya, Mineralogiya i Petrologiya 27, 63-95. In Bulgarian.
Zabinski W (1958) Ferrosmithsonite (monheimite) from Katy near Chorzow. Bulletin de l'Academie Polonaise de Sciences, Serie des Sciences, Chimiques, Geologiques et Geographiques 6, 389-93.

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last updated: 16-Jun-2017