magnetite (Fe3O4)


        Magnetite is a natural magnet, hence the name, giving it a very nice distinguishing characteristic. Explaining the magnetism is not easy but here is a go at it. Remember, electricity produces magnetic fields just as magnetism produces electic fields. Magnetite is a member of the spinel group which has the standard formula A(B)2O4. The A and B represent usually different metal ions that occupy specific sites in the crystal structure. In the case of magnetite, Fe3O4, the A metal is Fe +2 and the B metal is Fe +3; two different metal ions in two specific sites. This arrangement causes a transfer of electrons between the different irons in a structured path or vector. This electric vector generates the magnetic field.

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MAGNETITE   Chemical Formula:  Fe3O4, Iron Oxide Class:  Oxides and Hydroxides Group:  Spinel Uses:  Major ore of iron and as mineral specimens     Physical  caracteristics :   Color is  black. Luster is  metallic to dull. Transparency:  Crystals are opaque. Crystal System is  isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m Crystal Habits are  typically octahedrons but rarely rhombododecahedron and other isometric forms, most commonly found massive or granular. Twinning of octahedrons into spinel law twins is seen occassionally. Cleavage is  absent although octahedral parting can be seen on some specimens. Fracture is  conchoidal. Hardness is  5.5 - 6.5 Specific Gravity is  5.1+ (average for metallic minerals) Streak is  black. Associated Minerals  aretalc and chlorite (schists), pyrite and hematite. Other Characteristics:  Magnetism stronger in massive examples than in crystals, striations on crystal faces (not     always seen). Notable Occurrences  include South Africa, Germany, Russia and many locallities in the USA. Best Field Indicators  are magnetism, crystal habit and streak. 


Major ore of iron and as mineral specimens

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Magnetite is a mineral, one of the two common naturally occurring iron oxides (chemical formula Fe3O4) and a member of the spinel group. Magnetite is the most magnetic of all the naturally occurring minerals on Earth. Naturally magnetized pieces of magnetite, called lodestone, will attract small pieces of iron, and this was how ancient people first noticed the property of magnetism.

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