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Rock & Minerals Study Guide

Rock & Minerals Study Guide

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Published by Gabriel Teixeira
Study Guide I made for Science Olympiad for identifying Rocks & Minerals
Study Guide I made for Science Olympiad for identifying Rocks & Minerals

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Published by: Gabriel Teixeira on Mar 18, 2013
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Galena is the natural mineral form of lead(II) sulfide. It is the most important lead ore mineral.

Galena is one of the most abundant and widely distributed sulfide minerals. It crystallizes in
the cubic crystal system often showing octahedralforms. It is often associated with the
minerals sphalerite, calcite and fluorite.

[edit]Lead ore deposit

Galena with druzy calcite

Galena deposits often contain significant amounts of silver as included silver sulfide mineral phases or as
limited solid solution within the galena structure. These argentiferous galenas have long been the most
important ore of silver in mining. In addition zinc, cadmium, antimony, arsenic and bismuth also occur in
variable amounts in lead ores. Selenium substitutes for sulfur in the structure constituting a solid solution
series. The lead telluride mineral altaite has the same crystal structure as galena. Within
the weatheringor oxidation zone galena alters to anglesite (lead sulfate) or cerussite (lead carbonate).
Galena exposed to acid mine drainage can be oxidized to anglesite by naturally
occurring bacteria and archaea, in a process similar to bioleaching.[4]

Galena deposits are found worldwide in various environments.[3]

Noted deposits include those

at Freiberg, Saxony;[1]

Cornwall, The Mendips, Somerset, Derbyshire, and Cumberland, England;
the Madan, Smolyan Province, Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria; the Sullivan Mine of British
Columbia; Broken Hill,Australia and the ancient mines of Sardinia. Galena also occurs at Mount
Hermon in Northern Israel. In the United States, it occurs most notably in the Mississippi Valley type
deposits of the Lead Belt in southeastern Missouri,[1]

and in the Driftless
Area of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. The economic importance of galena to the early history of
theDriftless Area was so great that one of the towns in the region was named Galena, Illinois.

Cubic galena with calcite from Jasper County, Missouri, USA (size: 5.1×3.2×2.8 cm)

Galena also was a major mineral of the zinc-lead mines of the tri-state district around Joplin in
southwestern Missouri and the adjoining areas of Kansas and Oklahoma.[1]

Galena is also an important
ore mineral in the silver mining regions of Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Montana. Of the latter, the Coeur
d'Alene district of northern Idaho was most prominent.[1]

Galena is the official state mineral of the U.S. states of Missouri and Wisconsin; the former mining town
of Galena, Kansas takes its name from deposits of this mineral.

The largest documented crystal of galena is composite cubo-octahedra from Great Laxey Mine, Isle of
Man, U.K. measuring 25 cm × 25 cm × 25 cm.[5]

[edit]Galena uses

One of the oldest uses of galena was as kohl, which, in Ancient Egypt, was applied around the eyes to
reduce the glare of the desert sun and to repel flies, which were a potential source of disease.[6]

Galena is the primary ore of lead which is mainly used in making lead-acid batteries; however, significant
amounts are also used to make lead sheets and shot. Galena is often mined for its silver content (e.g.
the Galena Mine in northern Idaho).

Galena is a semiconductor with a small bandgap of about 0.4 eV which found use in
early wirelesscommunication systems. For example, it was used as the crystal in crystal radio sets, in
which it was used as a point-contact diode to detect the radio signals. The galena crystal was used with a
safety pin or similar sharp wire, which was known as a "cat's whisker". Making such wireless sets was a
popular home hobby in Britain and other European countries during the 1930s. Derbyshire was one of the
main areas where galena was mined.

Scientists that were linked to this application are Karl Ferdinand Braun and Sir Jagdish Bose. In modern
wireless communication systems, galena detectors have been replaced by more reliable semiconductor
devices, though silicon point-contact microwave detectors still exist in the market.

Galena (lead glance)

Galena close-up



Sulfide mineral


(repeating unit)









Isometric H–M symbol 4/m 3 2/m

Unit cell

a = 5.936 Å; Z = 4



Lead gray and silvery

Crystal habit

Cubes and octahedra, tabular and sometimes

skeletal crystals

Crystal system

Cubic Hexoctahedral cF8, space

group Fm3m, No. 225


Contact, penetration and lamellar


Cubic perfect on [001], parting on [111]











Lead gray



Specific gravity




Isotropic and opaque



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