Cassiterite Facts

Cassiterite Facts
A tin oxide mineral found in vein deposits, granitic rocks, pegmatites, areas of contact metamorphism and the altered zone of ore deposits is cassiterite. It is also given the name "stream tin" because it is also found in placer deposits where it is most widely mined ore of tin. Cassiterite is sometimes referred to as tinstone, and is the best-known tin mineral, and is an igneous or metamorphic rock. Cassiterite can be red-brown, brown, and black, but can also be colorless like red, white, yellow, and yellow-grey. Its streak is pale brown, scores a 6 or 7 on the Mohs Hardness scale, a crystal system that is tetragonal, and a specific gravity of 6.8 to 7.1. In addition, its luster may be greasy, adamantine, or dull.
Interesting Cassiterite Facts:
Casiterite may precipitate from volcanic gas.
The name cassiterite comes from the Greek term "kassiteros", meaning tin.
The prominent features of cassiterite is its high specific gravity, high hardness, and streak color.
Another variety of cassiterite includes needle tin, which is an acicular form of cassiterite.
An additional variety is referred to as wood tin because it resembles wood with ringed, concentric bands due to a variety of botryoidal or reniform cassiterite with a dense radiating structure.
Cassiterite is important economically due it being the primary ore of the metal tin.
It is used as a collectors mineral with transparent forms being desired over other forms of the mineral.
Cassiterite sometimes is used as a minor gemstone, but mostly for the collectors of minerals.
Cassiterite can be found in locations all over the world including Bolivia which produces some of the best specimens in abundance.
China is also becoming an important producer of the mineral with shiny black crystals originating in several areas of the country, as well as some transparent brown crystals.
Europe and Australia contribute to the availability of cassiterite as well, with classic specimens found in in England, and large crystals coming from New South Wales.
Cassiterite, though found in the United States, it is not as common as in other parts of the world. Some pegmatite deposits in southern California and the New England area have produced sporadic cassiterite.
Elsewhere in the U.S. cassiterite has been located in Virginia and New Mexico.
The minerals commonly associated with cassiterite include hedenbergite, schorl, arsenopyrite, scheelite, calcite, apatite, limonite, and muscovite.
In the past, cassiterite was mostly used to produce "tin cans", which were actually steel plated with tin for food containers. The containers today, though, are being replaced with glass, plastic, paper, aluminum, and other materials.
There are small amounts of cassiterite that is used for solder and polishing compounds.

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