In their mission to understand nature, geologists have managed to identify thousands of minerals and mineral deposits that are spread worldwide. Following these discoveries, it has been necessary to come up with effective methods to facilitate identification and differentiation of various mineral types .
Kyanite is a mineral whose occurrence and properties have been studied extensively. Correspondingly, this report will focus on this significant mineral by exploring its physical properties, chemical composition, lattice, and crystallography. In addition, the report will also highlight the physical conditions under which Kyanite exhibits stability, environmental factors that favor its formation, its associated minerals, its uses, environmental hazards associated with its occurrence, as well as its geological importance.
Background of Kyanite
Kyanite is a free occurring aluminosilicate mineral which chemical formula is similar to the other two polymorphs under the umbrella of silimanite group. The three polymorphs “kyanite, silimanite, and andalusite ‘exhibit the same chemical formula Al2SiO5, but are usually differentiated by their crystal structure.
This similarity between the three polymorphs implies that one can be used in place of the other. Kyanite, whose original spelling was cyanite, has its origins in Greek language ‘kyanos’ meaning blue because of its most familiar color (Government Printing Office 102).
Blue natural Kyanite crystal; source http://mineralminers.com/html/kyaminfo.htm
Properties of Kyanite
According to Shigeaki, Nakajima and Kenichi Funakoshi (1625), mineralogists utilize mineral properties to identify and differentiate minerals. While some of these properties are easily identifiable (color, shape), others (chemical composition, hardness) are identified after a series of laboratory experiments.
Against this background, mineralogists have identified several characteristics such as color, hardness, magnetism that form the basis of mineral identification. The table below identifies some significant properties that are often used to identify and classify Kyanite mineral.
Table 1: Properties of Kyanite
ColorBlue (most common), white, green , light gray and rarely orange, yellow, pink
Luster(Sub)Vitreous, greasy, Pearly
StreakColorless to white
CleavagePercent at (100) and good (010)
Hardiness7-7.5 perpendicular to crystal length, parallel hardiness to crystal length 4.5-5 .
FractureSplintery to fibrous
PleochrismStrong: colorless/ cobalt blue, violet-blue
Crystallography of Kyanite
Crystal systemTriclinic class
TwinningManifold common on (100)
Crystal habitTabular prismatic and are lengthened on c, folded of wavy, termination rare
Metaphysical properties Claim has it that wearing Kyanite jewelry promotes creativity
Brings calmness and tranquility
Assists in clearing sinus congestion
Curative properties to some muscular disorders (mineralminers.com)