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Aragonite Facts and Great Photos

large aragonite mineral on a shelf in a museum display cabinet

The Mineral Aragonite

Aragonite is the crystal form of calcium carbonate, a chemical compound that occurs naturally in rocks most notably as limestone.  From a chemical perspective aragonite it's 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 - Castile-La Mancha, Spain



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.  It can also be found as stalactites in caves and in the vicinity of hot springs.

The form of aragonite 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 sputnik. Photo; Stan Celestian - Flickr



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

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