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Brookite from Balochistan
Category Oxide minerals
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 04.DD.10
Dana classification
Crystal symmetry Orthorhombic 2/m 2/m 2/m dipyramidal
Unit cell Z = 8, a = 5.4558 Å, b = 9.1819 Å, c = 5.1429 Å
Formula mass 79.88 g[1]
Color Deep red, reddish brown, yellowish brown, brown, or black
Crystal habit Tabular and striated, pyramidal or pseudohexagonal
Crystal system Orthorhombic
Twinning On {120}, uncertain
Cleavage Poor on {120}, in traces on {001}
Fracture Subconchoidal to irregular
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness 5½ to 6
Luster Submetallic
Streak White, greyish or yellowish
Diaphaneity Opaque to translucent
Specific gravity 4.08 to 4.18
Optical properties Biaxial (+)
Refractive index nα = 2.583 nβ = 2.584 nγ = 2.700
Birefringence δ = 0.117
Pleochroism Very weak, yellowish, reddish, orange to brown
2V angle Calculated: 12° to 20°
Dispersion 0.131 (compare to diamond at 0.044)
Ultraviolet fluorescence Non-fluorescent
References [1][2][3][4]

Brookite is the orthorhombic variant of titanium dioxide, TiO2, which occurs in four natural polymorphic forms (minerals with the same composition but different structure). The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) recognizes these four forms; the others are akaogiite (monoclinic), anatase (tetragonal) and rutile (tetragonal). Brookite is rare compared to anatase and rutile and, like these forms, it exhibits photocatalytic activity.[5] Brookite has a larger cell volume than either anatase or rutile, with 8 TiO2 groups per unit cell, compared with 4 for anatase and 2 for rutile.[6] Iron Fe, tantalum Ta and niobium Nb are common impurities.[3]

It was named in 1825 by French mineralogist Armand Lévy[3] for Henry James Brooke (1771–1857), an English crystallographer, mineralogist and wool trader.[1]

Arkansite is a variety of brookite from Arkansas, USA, that is also found in the Murunskii Massif, in the Eastern Siberian region of Russia, where many other unusual minerals occur.[3]

At temperatures above about 750 °C, brookite will revert to the rutile structure.[7]

Unit cell

Brookite belongs to the orthorhombic dipyramidal crystal class 2/m 2/m 2/m (also designated mmm). The space group is Pcab and the unit cell parameters are a = 5.4558 Å, b = 9.1819 Å and c = 5.1429 Å. The formula is TiO2, with 8 formula units per unit cell (Z = 8).[1][3][4]


Crystal structure of brookite

The brookite structure is built up of distorted octahedra with a titanium ion at the center and oxygen ions at each of the six vertices. Each octahedron shares three edges with adjoining octahedra, forming an orthorhombic structure.[8]


Crystals are typically tabular, elongated and striated parallel to their length. They may also be pyramidal, pseudo-hexagonal or prismatic.[3] Brookite and rutile may grow together in an epitaxial relationship.[3]

Brookite is usually brown in color, or sometimes yellowish or reddish brown, or even black. Beautiful, deep red crystals (seen above-right) similar to pyrope and almandite garnet are also known. Brookite displays a submetallic luster. It is opaque to translucent, transparent in thin fragments and yellowish brown to dark brown in transmitted light.[1][3][4]

Optical properties

Brookite is doubly refracting, as are all orthorhombic minerals, and it is biaxial (+). Refractive indices are very high, above 2.5, which is even higher than diamond at 2.42. For comparison, ordinary window glass has a refractive index of about 1.5.

Brookite exhibits very weak pleochroism, yellowish, reddish and orange to brown.[3][4] It is neither fluorescent nor radioactive.[1]

Physical properties

Brookite is a brittle mineral, with a subconchoidal to irregular fracture and poor cleavage in one direction parallel to the c crystal axis and traces of cleavage in a direction perpendicular to both the a and the b crystal axes.[1][3][4] Twinning is uncertain.[3][4] The mineral has a Mohs hardness of 5½ to 6, between apatite and feldspar. This is the same hardness as anatase and a little less than that of rutile (6 to 6½). The specific gravity is 4.08 to 4.18, between that of anatase at 3.9 and rutile at 4.2.[3][4]

Occurrence and associations

Brookite is an accessory mineral in alpine veins in gneiss and schist; it is also a common detrital mineral.[3][4] Associated minerals include its polymorphs anatase and rutile, and also titanite, orthoclase, quartz, hematite, calcite, chlorite and muscovite.[4]

The type locality is Twll Maen Grisial, Fron Olau, Prenteg, Gwynedd, Wales, UK,[3] and in 2004 fine brookite crystals were found at Kharan, in Balochistan, Pakistan, together with brookite and rutile inclusions in quartz.[3]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Brookite. Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  2. Gaines et al (1997) Dana’s New Mineralogy Eighth Edition. Wiley
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Brookite. (2011-09-17). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Brookite. Handbook of Mineralogy. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  5. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  6. Anatase and Brookite. (2007-05-08). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  7. Brookite (Titanium Oxide). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  8. The Crystal Structure of Brookite. 12 January 2010

External links