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Augite Rwanda.jpg
Augite – Muhavura volcano
Category Inosilicates
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 9.DA.15
Crystal system Monoclinic
Crystal class Prismatic (2/m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space group C2/c
Unit cell a = 9.699, b = 8.844
c = 5.272 [Å]
β = 106.97°; Z = 4
ColorBlack, brown, greenish, violet-brown; in thin section, colorless to gray with zoning common
Crystal habit Commonly as stubby prismatic crystals, also acicular, skeletal, dendritic
Twinning Simple or multiple on {100} and {001}
Cleavage {110} good with 87° between {110} and {110}; parting on {100} and {010}
Fracture uneven to conchoidal
Tenacity brittle
Mohs scale hardness5.5 to 6
Luster Vitreous, resinous to dull
Streak Greenish-white
Diaphaneity Transparent to opaque
Specific gravity 3.19–3.56
Optical propertiesBiaxial (+)
Refractive index nα = 1.680–1.735, nβ = 1.684–1.741, nγ = 1.706–1.774
Birefringence δ = 0.026–0.039
Pleochroism X = pale green, pale brown, green, greenish yellow; Y = pale brown, pale yellow-green, violet; Z = pale green, grayish green, violet
References [1] [2] [3]

Augite is a common rock-forming pyroxene mineral with formula (Ca,Na)(Mg,Fe,Al,Ti)(Si,Al)2O6. The crystals are monoclinic and prismatic. Augite has two prominent cleavages, meeting at angles near 90 degrees.



Euhedral crystal of augite from Teide (4.4 x 3.0 x 2.3 cm) Augite-54563.jpg
Euhedral crystal of augite from Teide (4.4 x 3.0 x 2.3 cm)

Augite is a solid solution in the pyroxene group. Diopside and hedenbergite are important endmembers in augite, but augite can also contain significant aluminium, titanium, and sodium and other elements. The calcium content of augite is limited by a miscibility gap between it and pigeonite and orthopyroxene: when occurring with either of these other pyroxenes, the calcium content of augite is a function of temperature and pressure, but mostly of temperature, and so can be useful in reconstructing temperature histories of rocks. With declining temperature, augite may exsolve lamellae of pigeonite and/or orthopyroxene. There is also a miscibility gap between augite and omphacite, but this gap occurs at higher temperatures. There are no industrial or economic uses for this mineral. [4] [5]


Augite is an essential mineral in mafic igneous rocks; for example, gabbro and basalt and common in ultramafic rocks. It also occurs in relatively high-temperature metamorphic rocks such as mafic granulite and metamorphosed iron formations. It commonly occurs in association with orthoclase, sanidine, labradorite, olivine, leucite, amphiboles and other pyroxenes. [1]

Occasional specimens have a shiny appearance that give rise to the mineral's name, which is from the Greek augites, meaning "brightness", although ordinary specimens have a dull (dark green, brown or black) luster. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1792. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Gabbro A coarse-grained mafic intrusive rock

Gabbro is a phaneritic (coarse-grained), mafic intrusive igneous rock formed from the slow cooling of magnesium-rich and iron-rich magma into a holocrystalline mass deep beneath the Earth's surface. Slow-cooling, coarse-grained gabbro is chemically equivalent to rapid-cooling, fine-grained basalt. Much of the Earth's oceanic crust is made of gabbro, formed at mid-ocean ridges. Gabbro is also found as plutons associated with continental volcanism. Due to its variant nature, the term "gabbro" may be applied loosely to a wide range of intrusive rocks, many of which are merely "gabbroic".

Feldspar A group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals

Feldspars (KAlSi3O8 – NaAlSi3O8 – CaAl2Si2O8) are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals that make up about 41% of the Earth's continental crust by weight.

Basalt A magnesium- and iron-rich extrusive igneous rock

Basalt is a mafic extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of lava rich in magnesium and iron exposed at or very near the surface of a terrestrial planet or a moon. More than 90% of all volcanic rock on Earth is basalt.

Pyroxene A group of inosilicate minerals

The pyroxenes (commonly abbreviated to Px) are a group of important rock-forming inosilicate minerals found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. Pyroxenes have the general formula XY(Si,Al)2O6, where X represents calcium, sodium, iron (II) or magnesium and more rarely zinc, manganese or lithium, and Y represents ions of smaller size, such as chromium, aluminium, iron (III), magnesium, cobalt, manganese, scandium, titanium, vanadium or even iron (II). Although aluminium substitutes extensively for silicon in silicates such as feldspars and amphiboless, the substitution occurs only to a limited extent in most pyroxenes. They share a common structure consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra. Pyroxenes that crystallize in the monoclinic system are known as clinopyroxenes and those that crystallize in the orthorhombic system are known as orthopyroxenes.

Labradorite mineral: intermediate member of a solid solution series (50 to 70 % anorthite and albite)

Labradorite ((Ca, Na)(Al, Si)4O8), a feldspar mineral, is an intermediate to calcic member of the plagioclase series. It has an anorthite percentage (%An) of between 50 and 70. The specific gravity ranges from 2.68 to 2.72. The streak is white, like most silicates. The refractive index ranges from 1.559 to 1.573 and twinning is common. As with all plagioclase members, the crystal system is triclinic, and three directions of cleavage are present, two of which are nearly at right angles and are more obvious, being of good to perfect quality. (The third direction is poor.) It occurs as clear, white to gray, blocky to lath shaped grains in common mafic igneous rocks such as basalt and gabbro, as well as in anorthosites.

Bytownite mineral: intermediate member of a solid solution series (70 to 90 % anorthite and albite)

Bytownite is a calcium rich member of the plagioclase solid solution series of feldspar minerals with composition between anorthite and labradorite. It is usually defined as having between 70 and 90%An (formula: (Ca0.7-0.9,Na0.3-0.1)[Al(Al,Si)Si2O8]). Like others of the series, bytownite forms grey to white triclinic crystals commonly exhibiting the typical plagioclase twinning and associated fine striations.

Trachyte igneous rock

Trachyte is an igneous volcanic rock with an aphanitic to porphyritic texture. It is the volcanic equivalent of syenite. The mineral assemblage consists of essential alkali feldspar; relatively minor plagioclase and quartz or a feldspathoid such as nepheline may also be present.. Biotite, clinopyroxene and olivine are common accessory minerals.

Amphibolite A metamorphic rock containing mainly amphibole and plagioclase

Amphibolite is a metamorphic rock that contains amphibole, especially hornblende and actinolite, as well as plagioclase.

Anorthosite A mafic intrusive igneous rock composed predominantly of plagioclase

Anorthosite is a phaneritic, intrusive igneous rock characterized by its composition: mostly plagioclase feldspar (90–100%), with a minimal mafic component (0–10%). Pyroxene, ilmenite, magnetite, and olivine are the mafic minerals most commonly present.

Nepheline syenite holocrystalline plutonic rock

Nepheline syenite is a holocrystalline plutonic rock that consists largely of nepheline and alkali feldspar. The rocks are mostly pale colored, grey or pink, and in general appearance they are not unlike granites, but dark green varieties are also known. Phonolite is the fine-grained extrusive equivalent.

Diopside Pyroxene mineral

Diopside is a monoclinic pyroxene mineral with composition MgCaSi2O6. It forms complete solid solution series with hedenbergite (FeCaSi2O6) and augite, and partial solid solutions with orthopyroxene and pigeonite. It forms variably colored, but typically dull green crystals in the monoclinic prismatic class. It has two distinct prismatic cleavages at 87 and 93° typical of the pyroxene series. It has a Mohs hardness of six, a Vickers hardness of 7.7 GPa at a load of 0.98 N, and a specific gravity of 3.25 to 3.55. It is transparent to translucent with indices of refraction of nα=1.663–1.699, nβ=1.671–1.705, and nγ=1.693–1.728. The optic angle is 58° to 63°.

Enstatite pyroxene mineral

Enstatite is a mineral; the magnesium endmember of the pyroxene silicate mineral series enstatite (MgSiO3) – ferrosilite (FeSiO3). The magnesium rich members of the solid solution series are common rock-forming minerals found in igneous and metamorphic rocks. The intermediate composition, (Mg,Fe)SiO3, has historically been known as hypersthene, although this name has been formally abandoned and replaced by orthopyroxene. When determined petrographically or chemically the composition is given as relative proportions of enstatite (En) and ferrosilite (Fs) (e.g., En80Fs20).

Charnockite A type of granite containing orthopyroxene

Charnockite is applied to any orthopyroxene-bearing quartz-feldspar rock, formed at high temperature and pressure, commonly found in granulite facies metamorphic regions, as an end-member of the charnockite series.

Norite igneous rock

Norite is a mafic intrusive igneous rock composed largely of the calcium-rich plagioclase labradorite, orthopyroxene, and olivine. The name norite is derived from Norge, the Norwegian name for Norway.

Omphacite clinopyroxene mineral, solid solution of jadeite (25%-75%), augite (25%-75%), and aegirine (0%-25%)

Omphacite is a member of the pyroxene group of silicate minerals with formula: (Ca, Na)(Mg, Fe2+, Al)Si2O6. It is a variably deep to pale green or nearly colorless variety of pyroxene. Omphacite compositions are intermediate between calcium-rich augite and sodium-rich jadeite. It crystallizes in the monoclinic system with prismatic, typically twinned forms, though usually anhedral. Its space group (P2/n) is distinct from that of augite and jadeite (C2/c). It exhibits the typical near 90° pyroxene cleavage. It is brittle with specific gravity of 3.29 to 3.39 and a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6.

Cumulate rock

Cumulate rocks are igneous rocks formed by the accumulation of crystals from a magma either by settling or floating. Cumulate rocks are named according to their texture; cumulate texture is diagnostic of the conditions of formation of this group of igneous rocks. Cumulates can be deposited on top of other older cumulates of different composition and colour, typically giving the cumulate rock a layered or banded appearance.

Pigeonite pyroxene mineral

Pigeonite is a mineral in the clinopyroxene subgroup of the pyroxene group. It has a general formula of (Ca,Mg,Fe)(Mg,Fe)Si2O6. The calcium cation fraction can vary from 5% to 25%, with iron and magnesium making up the rest of the cations.

Leucitite igneous rock most common in lavas of recent and Tertiary age, which have a fair amount of potassium

Leucitite or leucite rock is an igneous rock containing leucite. It is scarce, many countries such as England being entirely without them. However, they are of wide distribution, occurring in every quarter of the globe. Taken collectively, they exhibit a considerable variety of types and are of great interest petrographically. For the presence of this mineral it is necessary that the silica percentage of the rock should be low, since leucite is incompatible with free quartz and reacts with it to form potassium feldspar. Because it weathers rapidly, leucite is most common in lavas of recent and Tertiary age, which have a fair amount of potassium, or at any rate have potassium equal to or greater than sodium; if sodium is abundant nepheline occurs rather than leucite.

The mineralogy of Mars is the chemical composition of rocks and soil that encompass the surface of Mars. Various orbital crafts have used spectroscopic methods to identify the signature of some minerals. The planetary landers performed concrete chemical analysis of the soil in rocks to further identify and confirm the presence of other minerals. The only samples of Martian rocks that are on Earth are in the form of meteorites. The elemental and atmospheric composition along with planetary conditions is essential in knowing what minerals can be formed from these base parts.


  1. 1 2 Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. 1 2 Augite on
  3. Webmineral data for Augite
  4. Klein, Cornelius; Hurlbut, Cornelius S., Jr. (1993). Manual of mineralogy : (after James D. Dana) (21st ed.). New York: Wiley. pp. 481–482. ISBN   047157452X.
  5. Nesse, William D. (2000). Introduction to mineralogy. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 268–269. ISBN   9780195106916.

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