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Muscovite from a pegmatite outcrop along the Patapsco River in Baltimore County, Maryland.
Category Silicate mineral
Chemical formula KAl2(AlSi3O10)(F,OH)2
Color White, grey, silvery
Crystal habit massive to platy
Crystal system Monoclinic (2/m) Space Group: C 2/m
Twinning common on the [310] less common on the {001}
Cleavage Perfect on the {001}
Fracture Micaceous
Tenacity Elastic
Mohs scale hardness 2–2.5 parallel to {001} to 4 right angle to {001}
Luster Vitreous
Streak White
Diaphaneity transparent to translucent
Specific gravity 2.76–3
Optical properties Biaxial (-)
Refractive index nα = 1.552–1.576 nβ = 1.582–1.615 nγ = 1.587–1.618
Birefringence δ = 0.035 - 0.042
Pleochroism weak when colored
Dispersion r > v weak
Ultraviolet fluorescence None
References [1][2][3]

Muscovite (also known as Common mica, Isinglass, or Potash mica[4]) is a phyllosilicate mineral of aluminium and potassium with formula KAl2(AlSi3O10)(F,OH)2, or (KF)2(Al2O3)3(SiO2)6(H2O). It has a highly-perfect basal cleavage yielding remarkably-thin laminæ (sheets) which are often highly elastic. Sheets of muscovite 5 metres by 3 metres have been found in Nellore, India.[5]

Muscovite has a Mohs hardness of 2–2.25 parallel to the [001] face, 4 perpendicular to the [001] and a specific gravity of 2.76–3. It can be colorless or tinted through grays, browns, greens, yellows, or (rarely) violet or red, and can be transparent or translucent. The green, chromium-rich variety is called fuchsite.

Muscovite is the most common mica, found in granites, pegmatites, gneisses, and schists, and as a contact metamorphic rock or as a secondary mineral resulting from the alteration of topaz, feldspar, kyanite, etc. In pegmatites, it is often found in immense sheets that are commercially valuable. Muscovite is in demand for the manufacture of fireproofing and insulating materials and to some extent as a lubricant.

The name of muscovite comes from Muscovy-glass, a name formerly used for the mineral because of its use in Russia for windows. It is anisotropic and has high birefringence. Its crystal system is monoclinic.

"Star" muscovite

See also



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MUSCOVITE, a rock-forming mineral belonging to the mica group (see Mica). It is also known as potash-mica, being a potassium, hydrogen and aluminium orthosilicate, H2KA13(S104)a.

As the common white mica obtainable in thin, transparent cleavage sheets of large size it was formerly used in Russia for window panes and known as "Muscovy glass"; hence the name muscovite, proposed by J. D. Dana in 1850. It crystallizes in the monoclinic system; distinctly developed crystals, however, are rare and have the form of rough six-sided prisms or plates: thin scales without definite crystal outlines are more common. The most prominent feature is the perfect cleavage parallel to the basal plane (c in the figure), on which the lustre is pearly in character. The hardness is 2-22 i and the spec. gra y. 2.8 -2.9. The plane of the optic axes is perpendicular to the plane of symmetry and the acute bisectrix nearly normal to the cleavage; the optic axial angle is 60-70°, and double refraction is strong and negative in sign.

Muscovite frequently occurs as fine scaly to almost compact aggregates, especially when, as is often the case, it has resulted by the alteration of some other mineral, such as felspar, topaz, cyanite, &c.; several varieties depending on differences in structure have been distinguished. Fine scaly varieties are damourite, margarodite (from Gr. pap-yapLTr7s, a pearl), gilbertite, sericite (from o gpercos, silky), &c. In sericite the fine scales are united in fibrous aggregates giving rise to a silky lustre: this variety is a common constituent of phyllites and sericiteschists. Oncosine (from 6-pcoot, intumescence) is a compact variety forming rounded aggregates, which swell up when heated before the blowpipe. Closely related to oncosine are several compact minerals, included together under the name pinite, which have resulted by the alteration of iolite, spodumene and other minerals. Other varieties depend on differences in chemical composition. Fuchsite or "chrome-mica" is a bright green muscovite containing chromium; it has been used as a decorative stone. Oellacherite is a variety containing some barium. In phengite there is more silica than usual, the composition approximating to H2KA13(S1308)3.

Muscovite is of wide distribution and is the commonest of the micas. In igneous rocks it is found only in granite, never in volcanic rocks; but it is abundant in gneiss and mica-schist, and in phyllites and clay-slates, where it has been formed at the expense of alkali-felspar by dynamo-metamorphic processes. In pegmatite-veins traversing granite, gneiss or mica-schist it occurs as large sheets of commercial value, and is mined in India, the United States and Brazil (see MICA), and to a limited extent, together with felspar, in southern Norway and in the Urals. Large sheets of muscovite were formerly obtained from Solovetsk Island, Archangel. (L. J. S.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also muscovite




1535. From Latin Moscovita (resident of Moscow or Muscovy, Russian), also Muscovita, Moschovita < Moscovia or Muscovia (Muscovy) + -ita.





Muscovite (plural Muscovites)

  1. An inhabitant or native of Muscovy or Moscow.
  2. (archaic) A Russian.



Muscovite (comparative more Muscovite, superlative most Muscovite)


more Muscovite

most Muscovite

  1. Of or relating to Muscovy or Moscow, or the people of these places.
  2. Russian.


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