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The Mineralogy of Potassium

General Properties
Atomic Number:19
Standard atomic weight (Ar):39.0983(1)
Electron configuration:[Ar] 4s1
Potassium pearls under paraffin oil
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):0.82
Atomic Radius:243 pm
Ionic Radius:138 pm (+1)
Van der Waals Radius:275 pm
1st Ionization energy:419 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-48 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:1
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:337 K
Boiling Point:1032 K
Density:0.86 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:alkali metal
Main isotopes of Potassium
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Main ions of Potassium
NameIonExample minerals
potassiumK+Sylvite, Niter
Other Information
Year Discovered:1807
Discovered By:
Humphry Davy
Year Isolated:1807
Isolated By:Humphry Davy
Named For:from the English word "potash"
CPK color coding:#8F40D4
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Sulfidesdipotassium sulphideK2S+1
dipotassium disulphideK2S2+1
dipotassium hexasulphideK2S6+1
dipotassium trisulphideK2S3+1
dipotassium pentasulphideK2S5+1
dipotassium tetrasulphideK2S4+1
Selenidesdipotassium selenideK2Se+1
Telluridesdipotassium tellurideK2Te+1
Hydridespotassium hydrideKH+1
Hydroxidespotassium hydroxideKOH+1
Fluoridespotassium fluorideKF+1Carobbiite
Chloridespotassium chlorideKCl+1Sylvite
Iodidespotassium iodideKI+1
Oxidesdipotassium oxideK2O+1
potassium superoxideKO2+1
dipotassium peroxideK2O2+1
Carbonatespotassium carbonateK2CO3+1
Nitratespotassium nitrateKNO3+1Niter
Sulfatespotassium sulfateK2SO4+1
Mineral Diversity of Potassium
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 8 valid mineral species
3. Halides20 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 12 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 9 valid mineral species
6. Borates6 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 54 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates36 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 208 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds2 valid mineral species
Total:355 valid species containing essential Potassium
Geochemistry of Potassium
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
K+ enters later phases in igneous rocks due to its large size.
K+ is one of the eight most abundant solutes in average river water.
K+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
K+ solute is a macronutrient on land.
K+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Elemental Abundance for Potassium
Crust (CRC Handbook)2.09 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)1.7 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)1.8400 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)9.100 x 10-3mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)1.7600 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)1.7000 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.8000 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)2.5700 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)3.99 x 10-4mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)3.9 x 10-4mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)3.7 x 10-3atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)3.8 x 10-3atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)3.77 x 10-3 (7.7%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Potassium in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Potassium and the other elements listed based on the official IMA formula. Note that unlike other sections on this page this includes non-essential elements.

The first data column contains the total number of minerals listed with Potassium and the element listed for that row.

The second data column lists this number as a percentage of all minerals listed with Potassium.

The final data column compares this percentage against the percentage of all minerals that contain the element listed in each row.

Click on a heading to sort.
ElementValid Minerals listed with element and Potassium% of K mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen1464 minerals with K and O94.82%20.23% higher
Hydrogen1021 minerals with K and H66.13%20.22% higher
Silicon908 minerals with K and Si58.81%111.34% higher
Sodium684 minerals with K and Na44.30%134.98% higher
Aluminium533 minerals with K and Al34.52%74.40% higher
Calcium518 minerals with K and Ca33.55%39.42% higher
Iron371 minerals with K and Fe24.03%11.32% higher
Sulfur305 minerals with K and S19.75%4.06% lower
Magnesium266 minerals with K and Mg17.23%32.62% higher
Titanium234 minerals with K and Ti15.16%124.57% higher
Chlorine200 minerals with K and Cl12.95%77.65% higher
Fluorine198 minerals with K and F12.82%67.16% higher
Manganese174 minerals with K and Mn11.27%3.47% higher
Copper144 minerals with K and Cu9.33%27.81% lower
Barium131 minerals with K and Ba8.48%88.33% higher
Niobium109 minerals with K and Nb7.06%142.35% higher
Phosphorus106 minerals with K and P6.87%40.53% lower
Lithium88 minerals with K and Li5.70%178.77% higher
Uranium73 minerals with K and U4.73%7.66% lower
Arsenic69 minerals with K and As4.47%62.91% lower
Zinc63 minerals with K and Zn4.08%20.59% lower
Carbon63 minerals with K and C4.08%46.69% lower
Zirconium62 minerals with K and Zr4.02%77.55% higher
Boron59 minerals with K and B3.82%25.37% lower
Strontium52 minerals with K and Sr3.37%33.92% higher
Vanadium48 minerals with K and V3.11%29.58% lower
Lead44 minerals with K and Pb2.85%71.67% lower
Nitrogen44 minerals with K and N2.85%33.48% higher
Beryllium44 minerals with K and Be2.85%30.17% higher
Yttrium26 minerals with K and Y1.68%28.41% lower
Chromium21 minerals with K and Cr1.36%22.50% lower
Tantalum15 minerals with K and Ta0.97%17.39% lower
Caesium15 minerals with K and Cs0.97%114.78% higher
Antimony14 minerals with K and Sb0.91%81.30% lower
Cerium13 minerals with K and Ce0.84%70.92% lower
Selenium10 minerals with K and Se0.65%72.03% lower
Thallium10 minerals with K and Tl0.65%50.28% lower
Thorium10 minerals with K and Th0.65%8.21% lower
Nickel8 minerals with K and Ni0.52%82.95% lower
Tin7 minerals with K and Sn0.45%74.17% lower
Molybdenum6 minerals with K and Mo0.39%68.41% lower
Tellurium6 minerals with K and Te0.39%87.44% lower
Iodine6 minerals with K and I0.39%28.41% lower
Cadmium6 minerals with K and Cd0.39%20.45% lower
Tungsten6 minerals with K and W0.39%52.27% lower
Silver5 minerals with K and Ag0.32%90.43% lower
Bismuth4 minerals with K and Bi0.26%93.83% lower
Bromine3 minerals with K and Br0.19%28.41% lower
Lanthanum3 minerals with K and La0.19%82.68% lower
Scandium3 minerals with K and Sc0.19%43.48% lower
Rubidium3 minerals with K and Rb0.19%257.97% higher
Periodic Table
1H 2He
3Li 4Be 5B 6C 7N 8O 9F 10Ne
11Na 12Mg 13Al 14Si 15P 16S 17Cl 18Ar
19K 20Ca 21Sc 22Ti 23V 24Cr 25Mn 26Fe 27Co 28Ni 29Cu 30Zn 31Ga 32Ge 33As 34Se 35Br 36Kr
37Rb 38Sr 39Y 40Zr 41Nb 42Mo 43Tc 44Ru 45Rh 46Pd 47Ag 48Cd 49In 50Sn 51Sb 52Te 53I 54Xe
55Cs 56Ba 57La 72Hf 73Ta 74W 75Re 76Os 77Ir 78Pt 79Au 80Hg 81Tl 82Pb 83Bi 84Po 85At 86Rn
87Fr 88Ra 89Ac 104Rd 105Db 106Sg 107Bh 108Hs 109Mt 110Ds 111Rg 112Cn 113Nh 114Fl 115Mc 116Lv 117Ts 118Og
58Ce 59Pr 60Nd 61Pm 62Sm 63Eu 64Gd 65Tb 66Dy 67Ho 68Er 69Tm 70Yb 71Lu
90Th 91Pa 92U 93Np 94Pu 95Am 96Cm 97Bk 98Cf 99Es 100Fm 101Md 102No 103Lr
Default Categories CPK Electronegativity Atomic Radius Lowest Oxidation Highest Oxidation Crustal Abundance Goldschmidt Mineral Species Minerals with K Relative Frequency
Argon << Potassium >> Calcium

Most widespread minerals containing Potassium
This list of minerals containing Potassium is built from the locality database. This is based on the number of localities entered for mineral species and is therefore slanted towards minerals interesting to collectors with less coverage of common rock-forming-minerals so it does not give an undistorted distribution of Potassium mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities

Localities with greatest number of different Potassium mineral species
map should go here
2Poudrette quarry (De-Mix quarry; Demix quarry; Uni-Mix quarry; Carrière Mont Saint-Hilaire; MSH), Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada39 K minerals
Kukisvumchorr Mt, Khibiny Massif, Murmansk Oblast, Russia30 K minerals
5Mt Vesuvius, Somma-Vesuvius Complex, Naples, Campania, Italy31 K minerals
7Dara-i-Pioz Glacier (Dara-Pioz), Districts of Republican Subordination, Tajikistan30 K minerals
8Koashva Open Pit (Vostochnyi Mine), Koashva Mt, Khibiny Massif, Murmansk Oblast, Russia27 K minerals

Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to Thank you.

Constants and physical property data from:

David R. Lide (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida (2005).
Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants (2005). Section 3.1.3, Abundances of the elements
A. Earnshaw, N. Greenwood, Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, (1997)
Thomas J. Ahrens (ed.), Global Earth Physics : A Handbook of Physical Constants, American Geophysical Union (1995)
L.B. Railsback, An Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions : Geology 31:9 p737-740 (2003)
Emsley, J. Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford University Press (2001)
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