Mineral description : Serpentine

Yellow serpentine from Sala silver mine.
Massive serpentine from Innansjön limestone quarry.
Serpentine from Horsmanaho, Finland.
Chrysotile from Atoklinten.
Chrysotile??? from Atoklinten.

Mineral class Silicates : Phyllosilicates : Serpentine - Talc - Pyrophyllite group.
Chemical formula Mg3(OH)4(Si3O5)
Crystal system Orthorombic, hexagonal and monoclinic.
Habitus Antigorite : As thick lamellar masses, fibrous or massive.
Crysotile : As fibric aggregates (asbestos) or massively.
Cleavage Antigorite : Perfect basal.
Crysotile : none.
Hardness 2.5-4
Density 2.5-2.6
Color Green, yellow, brown to white.
Streak White
Luster Antigorite : Vitreous to greasy.
Crysotile : Pearly
Description An important industrial mineral, used for fireproof fabric and brakes. It's cancer risks have made the use of asbestos rare.
Massive serpentine is not dangerous and is sometimes used as a ornamental stone instead of jade. Sometimes serpentine is sold as jade, but the hardness gives it away.
Occurance Main constitute of the rock serpentinite. Also in metamorphic limestones and scarns.
Notes Serpentine is a common name for the minerals antigorite, lizardite and chrysotile. Crysotile is further divided into parachrysotile, orthochrysotile and clinochrysotile.
Antigorite fuses with difficulty.
Chrysotile gives off water when heated.
Chrysotile comes from the greek words for golden fibres.
Locations A very common mineral in Sweden (especially antigorite).
  • Atoklinten, Tärnaby, Lappland. As main part of the 600m long serpentinite mountain.
  • Norberg mining district, Västmanland.
  • Falu mine and Skyttgruvan, Dalarna.
  • In many of the manganeese mines in Värmland.
  • Taberggruvan, Småland. As a rare dense, darkgreen variety of antigorite, called picrolite.

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Last changed : 1998-08-29