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Aragonite Mineral Properties Facts and Photos

the mineral aragonite

What is Aragonite?

Aragonite is the crystal form of calcium carbonate.  This chemical compound occurs naturally in rocks most notably as limestone.

From a chemical perspective aragonite is identical to the mineral calcite.  It forms under slightly different geological conditions so has a different crystal structure.

Limestone contains both aragonite and calcite. 

aragonite mineral specimen against a blackened background

Aragonite can be colourless or can occur in different colours including white grey green blue violet brown and varying hues of red and yellow.

It tends to form at low temperatures quite close to the surface of the earth.  Aragonite can also be found as stalactites in caves and in the vicinity of hot springs.

The form that many people are familiar with are small clusters known as sputniks.  These shapes exhibit a twinned crystal habit in which the crystals radiate outwards.

This form of aragonite was named after the satelite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 because of its shape.

aragonite crystal known as a sputnik

Aragonite takes its name from Molina de Aragón in Spain where it was first discovered in 1797.

Article Pictures

The aragonite in our first photo is from Sicily.  The piece in the second photo is from Castile-La Mancha in Spain. The third is an aragonite sputnik. Photos courtesy of Stan Celestian.

All three images are clickable and redirect to the original non-compressed photo.

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