Gwihabaite: Properties and Occurrences

Gwihabaite is a rare ammonium potassium nitrate mineral (NH4, K)(NO3). It is a rare ammonium potassium nitrate mineral, orthorhombic in form and colorless with a vitreous luster. It was first described in 1996 as an occurrence in Gcwihaba Caves (Drotsky’s Cavern, type locality), Maun, North-West District, Botswana. It occurs as incrustations and efflorescences on cave surfaces formed by bacterial action on bat guano.

General information

  • Formula: (NH4, K)NO3
  • Specific Gravity: 1.77
  • Crystal System: Orthorhombic

Fig:¬†Gwihabaite –¬†ammonium potassium nitrate mineral

Properties

It is orthorhombic in form, colorless with a vitreous luster. It has a Mohs hardness of 5 and a specific gravity of 1.77. It is deliquescent and water-soluble. The mineral is also known as nitrammite.

  • Cleavage: None
  • Color: Colorless, White.
  • Density: 1.77
  • Diaphaneity: Transparent
  • Hardness: 5 – Apatite
  • Luster: Vitreous (Glassy)
  • Streak: white

Occurrence: As crusts and efflorescences formed by bacterial action on bat guano in caves.

Association: Gypsum, syngenite, boussingaultite, dittmarite, weddellite, glushinskite, struvite, biphosphammite (Gcwihaba Cave, Botswana) struvite, biphosphammite (Wow Gdoom Pothole, Namibia); gypsum, wedellite, glushinskite, dittmarite (Temple of Doom Cave, South Africa).

 

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