Fichtelite: Properties and Occurrence

Fichtelite is a rare white mineral found in fossilized wood from Bavaria. It is a rare white monoclinic mineral found in fossilized wood from Bavaria. It crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system. It is a cyclic hydrocarbon: dimethyl-isopropyl-perhydrophenanthrene, C19H34.

It was first described in 1841 and named for the location, Fichtelgebirge, Bavaria, Germany. It has been reported from fossilized pine wood from a peat bog and in organic-rich modern marine sediments.

General Information

  • Category: Organic mineral
  • Formula: C19H34
  • Crystal system: Monoclinic
  • Crystal class: Sphenoidal (2) (same H-M symbol)

Fig: Fichtelite

Properties

It is very soft with a Mohs hardness of 1, the same as talc. Its specific gravity is very low at 1.032, just slightly denser than water.

  • Color: Colorless, white, pale yellow
  • Crystal habit: Elongated tabular crystals
  • Cleavage: Good on {001} and {100}
  • Mohs scale hardness: 1
  • Luster: Greasy
  • Streak: White
  • Diaphaneity: Transparent
  • Specific gravity: 0.631 and calculated 1.032
  • Optical properties: Biaxial

Occurrence: In fossilized pine wood from a peat bog; in organic-rich modern marine sediment. It is a mineral resin occurring in white shining crystals or crystalline scales, embedded in the wood of a kind of pine found in peat-beds in the Fichtelgebirge, Bavaria.

Distribution: In Germany, from Gampen, seven km north of Marktredwitz, and at Zeitelmoos, northwest of Wunsiedel, Fichtelgebirge. At Sobeslav, Czech Republic. Additional older localities require confirmation by modern methods.

 

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