Goethite

Goethite

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Goethite'
Start a new discussion about 'Goethite'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Goethite named after the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, is an iron bearing oxide mineral found in soil and other low-temperature environments. Goethite has been well known since prehistoric times for its use as a pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

. Evidence has been found of its use in paint pigment samples taken from the caves of Lascaux
Lascaux
Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It was first described in 1806 for occurrences in the Hollertszug Mine, Dermbach
Dermbach
Dermbach is a municipality in the Wartburgkreis district of Thuringia, Germany....

, Herdorf
Herdorf
Herdorf is a town in the district of Altenkirchen, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated on the river Heller, approx. 12 km south-west of Siegen....

, Siegerland
Siegerland
The Siegerland is a region of Germany covering the old district of Siegen and the upper part of the district of Altenkirchen, belonging to the Rhineland-Palatinate adjoining it to the west.Geologically, the Siegerland belongs to the Rheinisches Schiefergebirge...

, Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.

In 2003, nanoparticulate authigenic
Authigenic
An authigenic mineral or sedimentary rock deposit is one that was generated where it is found or observed. Authigenic sedimentary minerals form during sedimentation by precipitation or recrystallization instead of being transported from elsewhere by water or wind. Authigenic sediments are the main...

 goethite was shown to be the most common diagenetic
Diagenesis
In geology and oceanography, diagenesis is any chemical, physical, or biological change undergone by a sediment after its initial deposition and during and after its lithification, exclusive of surface alteration and metamorphism. These changes happen at relatively low temperatures and pressures...

 iron oxyhydroxide in both marine and lake sediments.

Composition


It is an iron oxyhydroxide
Iron(III) oxide-hydroxide
A number of species are dubbed iron oxide-hydroxide. These chemicals are oxide-hydroxides of iron, and may occur in anhydrous or hydrated forms...

. Goethite's hardness ranges from 5.0 to 5.5 on the Mohs Scale
Mohs scale of mineral hardness
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. It was created in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and is one of several definitions of hardness in...

, and its specific gravity
Specific gravity
Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance. Apparent specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of a volume of the substance to the weight of an equal volume of the reference substance. The reference substance is nearly always water for...

 varies from 3.3 to 4.3. The mineral forms prismatic needle-like crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

s, but is more typically massive.

Feroxyhyte
Feroxyhyte
Feroxyhyte is an oxide/hydroxide of iron, δ-Fe3+O. Feroxyhyte crystallizes in the hexagonal system. It forms as brown rounded to concretionary masses. Feroxyhyte is opaque, magnetic, has a yellow streak, and has a relative density of 4.2....

 and lepidocrocite
Lepidocrocite
Lepidocrocite , also called esmeraldite or hydrohematite, is an iron oxide-hydroxide mineral. Lepidocrocite has an orthorhombic crystal structure, a hardness of 5, specific gravity of 4, a submetallic luster and a yellow-brown streak. It is red to reddish brown and forms when iron-containing...

 are both polymorphs of the iron oxyhydroxide FeO(OH). Although they have the same chemical formula as goethite they each have different crystalline structures making them distinct minerals.

Usage


Its main modern use is as an iron ore, being referred to as brown iron ore. It does have some use as a clay earth pigment
Clay earth pigment
Clay earth pigments are naturally occurring minerals, principally iron oxides, that have been used since prehistoric times as pigments. The primary types are*ochre*sienna*umber...

. Iron rich lateritic
Laterite
Laterites are soil types rich in iron and aluminium, formed in hot and wet tropical areas. Nearly all laterites are rusty-red because of iron oxides. They develop by intensive and long-lasting weathering of the underlying parent rock...

 soils developed over serpentinite
Serpentinite
Serpentinite is a rock composed of one or more serpentine group minerals. Minerals in this group are formed by serpentinization, a hydration and metamorphic transformation of ultramafic rock from the Earth's mantle...

 rocks in tropical climates are mined for their iron content as well as other metals.

Formation



Goethite often forms through the weathering
Weathering
Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soils and minerals as well as artificial materials through contact with the Earth's atmosphere, biota and waters...

 of other iron-rich minerals, and thus is a common component of soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

s. It may also be precipitated by groundwater
Groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 or in other sedimentary conditions, or form as a primary mineral in hydrothermal deposits.

Prevalence


Goethite is found all over the planet, usually in the form of concretion
Concretion
A concretion is a volume of sedimentary rock in which a mineral cement fills the porosity . Concretions are often ovoid or spherical in shape, although irregular shapes also occur. The word 'concretion' is derived from the Latin con meaning 'together' and crescere meaning 'to grow'...

s, stalactitic
Stalactite
A stalactite , "to drip", and meaning "that which drips") is a type of speleothem that hangs from the ceiling of limestone caves. It is a type of dripstone...

 formations, oolite
Oolite
Oolite is a sedimentary rock formed from ooids, spherical grains composed of concentric layers. The name derives from the Hellenic word òoion for egg. Strictly, oolites consist of ooids of diameter 0.25–2 mm; rocks composed of ooids larger than 2 mm are called pisolites...

s (a form consisting of tiny round grains cemented together), reniform (kidney shapes) or botryoidal (globular, like bunches of grapes) accumulations. It is frequently encountered in the swampy areas at the head of spring waters ('bog iron
Bog iron
Bog iron refers to impure iron deposits that develop in bogs or swamps by the chemical or biochemical oxidation of iron carried in the solutions. In general, bog ores consist primarily of iron oxyhydroxides, commonly goethite...

'), on cave floors, and on the bottom of lakes and small creeks. The boxworks or gossan
Gossan
Gossan is intensely oxidized, weathered or decomposed rock, usually the upper and exposed part of an ore deposit or mineral vein. In the classic gossan or iron cap all that remains is iron oxides and quartz often in the form of boxworks, quartz lined cavities retaining the shape of the dissolved...

 resulting from the oxidation of sulfide ore deposits is formed of goethite along with other iron oxides and quartz.

Significant deposits of goethite are found in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, and Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, and Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Deposits significant in location, if not in abundance, have been found in Gusev by NASA's Spirit rover, providing strong evidence for the presence of liquid water on the planet Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 in an earlier stage of its evolution.


File:Goethite3.jpg|Goethite from Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais is one of the 26 states of Brazil, of which it is the second most populous, the third richest, and the fourth largest in area. Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state with the largest number of Presidents of Brazil, the current one, Dilma Rousseff, being one of them. The capital is the...

, Brazil.