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Mineralpedia Details for Cerussite

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Cerussite

Cerussite

Named for the Latin cerussa, or ceruse, which means “white powder,” in reference to the mineral being known as white lead ore, which, when powdered, was used as “white lead,” a formerly common (at least in the West) lead pigment in paint and cosmetics. Cerussite is a relatively common and widespread mineral and can be found in oxidized lead deposits where it can, on occasion, be an important ore. Localities for fine Cerussite crystals include in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Scotland, England, France, Italy, Russia, Tunisia, Morocco, Namibia, Iran, Australia, and the United States. Cerussite can fluoresce yellow under long-wave ultraviolet light. Occurs in many habits, commonly as colorless, twinned and with a distinct adamantine luster. Often as white with "jackstraw" habit. Associations with Galena and other secondary minerals are key to identification. Tabular or elongated colorless, white, pale yellow, smoky, dark gray, or black crystals. Also in granular, crumbly, stalactitc, prismatic aggregate, and massive forms. 

Ref. Handbook of Mineralogy, Anthony et al (1995) and MSA at http://www.handbookofmineralogy.org/pdfs/cerussite.pdf


Formula
PbCO3 
Crystal System
Orthorhombic 
Crystal Habit
Reticulate, Massive - Granular, Crystalline - Coarse 
Cleavage
Distinct, Distinct, None 
Luster
Adamantine 
Color
colorless, white, gray, blue, green 
Streak
white 
Class
Orthorhombic - Dipyramidal 
Fracture
Brittle - Conchoidal 
Hardness
3-3.5 
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Mindat
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Cerussite from vein #5, Nakhlak mine, Anarak district, Iran

Cerussite
            from vein #5, Nakhlak mine, Anarak district, Iran

Generally, a web of reticulated twinned crystals

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Cerussite from Flux mine, Patagonia, Santa Cruz Co., Arizona, United States

Cerussite
            from Flux mine, Patagonia, Santa Cruz Co., Arizona, United States

Delicate white prismatic crystals to over 1cm. This habit is termed "Jack Straw".

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Cerussite from Carbonate Camp, Lawrence Co., South Dakota

Cerussite
            from Carbonate Camp, Lawrence Co., South Dakota

Colorless to almost smoky Cassiterite crystal around 5mm.

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Cerussite from Silver Queen mine, near Galena, Lawrence Co., South Dakota

Cerussite
            from Silver Queen mine, near Galena, Lawrence Co., South Dakota

Crystal group to 2cm.

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Cerussite from Pribram, Bohemia, Czech Republic

Cerussite
            from Pribram, Bohemia, Czech Republic

Translucent, hemimorphic and twinned Cerussite crystals to 5mm on a Galena and hard shale matrix.

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Cerussite from Tsumeb mine, Tsumeb, Namibia

Cerussite
            from Tsumeb mine, Tsumeb, Namibia

Reticulated, Cerussite crystal showing multiple cyclic twinning and a single colorless crystal to 1cm with Malachite.

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Cerussite from Mammoth mine, Tiger, Pinal Co., Arizona, United States

Cerussite
            from Mammoth mine, Tiger, Pinal Co., Arizona, United States

Reticulated Cerussite showing a fabulous 3D network of crystals.

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Cerussite from Leadville, Lake Co., Colorado, United States

Cerussite
            from Leadville, Lake Co., Colorado, United States

Compact adamantine-white Cerussite needles.

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