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Mineralpedia Details for Cassiterite

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Cassiterite

Cassiterite

Named for the Greek word for “tin,” kassiteros, which is the major component of the mineral. Cassiterite is a common and widespread mineral and is the main ore of tin. It forms in mid- to high-temperature hydrothermal veins through granite, granite pegmatites, and rhyolite, can occasionally be found in contact metamorphic deposits, and can also occur in large alluvial placer deposits. Important Cassiterite localities include in Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Portugal, England, Nigeria, Namibia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, China, Brazil, and Bolivia, among thousands of other localities worldwide. Short to long prismatic crystals that are black, brownish black, reddish brown, red, yellow, gray or white and from in radially fibrous botroidal crusts or granular masses.

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

Formula
SnO2 
Crystal System
Tetragonal 
Crystal Habit
Prismatic, Massive, Botryoidal 
Cleavage
Perfect, Indistinct, None 
Luster
Adamantine 
Color
brown, brownish black, colorless, green, gray 
Streak
brownish white 
Class
Tetragonal - Ditetragonal Dipyramidal 
Fracture
Irregular 
Hardness
6-7 
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Cassiterite from Peerless Mine, Pennington Co., South Dakota, United States

Cassiterite
            from Peerless Mine, Pennington Co., South Dakota, United States

Grey, adamantine, tetragonal Cassiterite crystals from 1cm.

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Cassiterite from Ingersoll mine, Pennington Co., South Dakota, United States

Cassiterite
            from Ingersoll mine, Pennington Co., South Dakota, United States

2cm, brownish-red to grey Cassiterite crystal.

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Cassiterite from Merekski dist., Bureya Massif, Khabarovskiy Kray, Russia

Cassiterite
            from Merekski dist., Bureya Massif, Khabarovskiy Kray, Russia

Absolutely superb well formed, dark brown Cassiterite crystals to over 2cm with a beautiful adamantine luster and a few smoky Quartz points to 1cm covering matrix.

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Cassiterite from Monserrat, Poopó prov., Oruro dept., Bolivia

Cassiterite
            from Monserrat, Poopó prov., Oruro dept., Bolivia

Most Cassiterite worldwide shows blocky, equant crystals not needle-like crystals like these. This is a known habit, but is uncommon. These groups are to 2mm.

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Cassiterite from Yunlong Sn deposit, Lancang river valley, Dali, Yunnan, China

Cassiterite
            from Yunlong Sn deposit, Lancang river valley, Dali, Yunnan, China

Glassy, lustrous brown Cassiterite crystal to 9mm perched nicely on matrix.

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Cassiterite from Yaogangxian mine, Chenzhou, Hunan prov., China

Cassiterite
            from Yaogangxian mine, Chenzhou, Hunan prov., China

Black crystals are from 5 to 10mm. 

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Cassiterite from Viloco, Araca dist., La Paz dept., Bolivia

Cassiterite
            from Viloco, Araca dist., La Paz dept., Bolivia

Dark rootbeer-brown Cassiterite crystals with a good adamantine luster with Quartz set on a piece of matrix that sets well without aid. The largest crystal is 2.5cm and is apparently twinned.

Translucent brown Cassiterite twinned crystals from 1.3 to 2cm. 

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Cassiterite from Panasqueira, Covilha, Castelo Branco dist., Portugal

Cassiterite
            from Panasqueira, Covilha, Castelo Branco dist., Portugal

Deep brown and lustrous, cyclic twinned Cassiterite crystals, the largest to 8mm.

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Cassiterite from Zaaiplaats mine, Mokopane dist., Limpopo prov., South Africa

Cassiterite
            from Zaaiplaats mine, Mokopane dist., Limpopo prov., South Africa

Pegmatite matrix with other minerals such as orthoclase and an unidentified green mineral with deep reddish brown euhedral crystals of Cassiterite to 4mm.

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Cassiterite from Taylor Creek Tin dist., Sierra Co., New Mexico, United States

Cassiterite
            from Taylor Creek Tin dist., Sierra Co., New Mexico, United States

There are very few if any tin mines in the USA. There are plenty of Cassiterite occurences, but this place actually produced some tin - about 1000 pounds. That's nothing in the tin world, but aside from the scarce deposits in the Black Hills, there is very little else on record in terms of viable tin mining. These deposits occured in an area roughly 450 square miles and first found as placers. The prospectors later discovered stringers in Tertiary rhyolite. 

This specimen is a one of those "nuggets", what was once termed "wood tin".

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