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Earth Treasures: Sanidine Mineral

By Chisom Ibemere

Sanidine is a feldspar mineral in the potassium-rich alkali feldspar group which was first described in 1808 by Finnish mineralogist Johan Gadolin.

Its name is gotten from the Greek word “sanis,” which means “sounding board,” which is used in making lithophones.

Sanidine is found in a variety of igneous rocks, including volcanic rocks like rhyolite and granite. It can also be found in some metamorphic rocks. Sanidine occurs in notable locations such as Italy, Germany, Russia, Brazil, and the United States.

Sanidine together with other feldspar minerals, is an essential ingredient in the production of glass and ceramics. It can be faceted and used as a gemstone, although it is relatively rare in this form. It is studied extensively by geologists as it provides great insights into the history and evolution of volcanic activity.

Sanidine contains potassium (K), aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), and oxygen (O) with chemical formula is KAlSi3O8. It has a monoclinic crystal structure, characterized by its specific angle between crystal axes. It can be white, yellow, pink, or gray or colourless. It is typically transparent to translucent.

Sanidine has a Mohs hardness of 6-6.5, making it moderately hard. It exhibits good cleavage in two directions, forming rectangular fragments. Its value lies mainly within the industrial markets, such as the glass and ceramic industry.

It is not popular as a highly valued mineral or gemstone outside of these specific fields. Its global market value is primarily based on its availability and demand in various industries that rely on feldspar minerals for their manufacturing processes.

 

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