Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Chemical formula||calcium fluoride CaF2|
|Color||White or colorless, purple, blue, blue-green, yellow, brownish-yellow, or red.|
|Crystal habit||Occurs as well-formed coarse sized crystals also massive - granular.|
|Crystal system||Isometric 4/m bar 3 2/m.|
|Cleavage|| Perfect,  Perfect,  Perfect.|
|Mohs Scale hardness||4|
|Solubility||Slighty in water.|
|Other||sometimes phosphoresces when heated or scratched. Other varieties fluoresce beautifully.|
Fluorite may occur as a vein deposit, especially with metallic minerals, where it often forms a part of the gangue (the worthless `host-rock' in which valuable minerals occur) and may be associated with galena, sphalerite, barite, quartz, and calcite. It is a common mineral in deposits of hydrothermal origin and has been noted as a primary mineral in granites and other igneous rocks and as a common constituent of dolostone and limestone.
Fluorite is a widely occurring mineral which is found in large deposits in many areas. Notable deposits occur in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Norway, Mexico, and Ontario in Canada. In the United States deposits are found in Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kentucky, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Ohio, New Hampshire, and New York.
One of the most famous of the older localities of fluorite is Derbyshire, England, where under the name of Derbyshire Blue John beautiful blue fluorite is used for ornamental purposes. Its softness, however, has been a bar to general use.
As well as ornamental uses, fluorite is also used as a flux in the manufacture of steel, in the making of opalescent glass, enamels for cooking utensils, and for hydrofluoric acid. Fluorite is also used in some high performance telescopes and camera lens elements instead of glass. It has a very low dispersion so light diffraction is far less than ordinary glass and in telescopes it allows crisp images of astronomical objects even at high power. Most optical material is now synthetic. The name fluorite is derived from the Latin fluo, flow, in reference to its use as a flux. Fluorite is slightly soluble in water, and is decomposed by sulfuric acid and forms free hydrofluoric acid.
See also: List of minerals
- Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis, 1985, Manual of Mineralogy, pp. 324 - 325, 20th ed., ISBN 0471805807
- Mineral Galleries
- Illinois state mineral
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