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The mineralogy of Selenium

General Properties
Atomic Number:34
Standard atomic weight (Ar):78.96(3)
Electron configuration:[Ar] 3d10 4s2 4p4
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):2.55
Atomic Radius:103 pm
Ionic Radius:198 pm (-2)
Van der Waals Radius:190 pm
1st Ionization energy:941 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-195 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-2,2,4,6
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:494 K
Boiling Point:958 K
Density:4.82 g/cm3
Main isotopes of Selenium
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
74Se0.87%-β+β+ ?74Ge
Main ions of Selenium
NameIonExample minerals
selenideSe2-Clausthalite, Klockmannite
diselenide[Se2]2-Ferroselite, Dzharkenite
selenite[SeO3]2-Chalcomenite, Molybdomenite, Alfredopetrovite
selenate[SeO4]2-Schmiederite, Carlosruizite
Other Information
Year Discovered:1817
Discovered By:
Jöns Jakob Berzelius
Johan Gottlieb Gahn

Jöns Jakob Berzelius and Johann Gottlieb Gahn
Year Isolated:1817
Isolated By:Jöns Jakob Berzelius and Johann Gottlieb Gahn
Named For:
Selene, Greek goddess of the moon
CPK color coding:#FFA100
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Nitridestetraselenium tetranitrideSe4N4+3
Sulfidesdiselenium hexasulphideSe2S6+6
tetraselenium tetrasulphideSe4S4+2
Fluoridesselenium difluorideSeF2+2
diselenium difluorideFSeSeF+2,+4
selenium difluoride selenideSeSeF2+2,+4
selenium hexafluorideSeF6+6
selenium tetrafluorideSeF4+4
Chloridesselenium dichlorideSeCl2+2
diselenium dichlorideSe2Cl2+1
tetraselenium hexadecachloride[SeCl4]4+4
Bromidesselenium dibromideSeBr2+2
diselenium dibromideSe2Br2+1
teteaselenium hexadecabromide[SeBr4]4+4
Oxidesselenium dioxideSeO2+4Downeyite
selenium trioxideSeO3+6
Mineral Diversity of Selenium
1. Elements 1 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 74 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 23 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 6 valid mineral species
Total:104 valid species containing essential Selenium
Geochemistry of Selenium
Goldschmidt classification:Chalcophile
Se6+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Se4+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Se2- forms minerals with Cu+.
Se2- forms minerals with Ag+.
Elemental Abundance for Selenium
Crust (CRC Handbook)5 x 10-8mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)5 x 10-8mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)5 x 10-8mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)5 x 10-8mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)1.53 x 10-7mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)5 x 10-8mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)2 x 10-10mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)9.0 x 10-11mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)6.3 x 10-5atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)6.21 x 10-5 (6.4%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Selenium in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Selenium 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 Selenium and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Selenium% of Se mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Copper167 minerals with Se and Cu43.72%244.41% higher
Oxygen105 minerals with Se and O27.49%64.53% lower
Bismuth89 minerals with Se and Bi23.30%464.89% higher
Lead80 minerals with Se and Pb20.94%111.87% higher
Sulfur71 minerals with Se and S18.59%8.13% lower
Hydrogen57 minerals with Se and H14.92%72.39% lower
Silver46 minerals with Se and Ag12.04%262.22% higher
Chlorine36 minerals with Se and Cl9.42%31.54% higher
Nickel30 minerals with Se and Ni7.85%162.95% higher
Tellurium29 minerals with Se and Te7.59%149.72% higher
Palladium28 minerals with Se and Pd7.33%480.71% higher
Iron27 minerals with Se and Fe7.07%66.67% lower
Antimony23 minerals with Se and Sb6.02%26.37% higher
Mercury22 minerals with Se and Hg5.76%227.23% higher
Arsenic21 minerals with Se and As5.50%53.57% lower
Uranium21 minerals with Se and U5.50%9.27% higher
Cobalt19 minerals with Se and Co4.97%299.68% higher
Zinc15 minerals with Se and Zn3.93%22.23% lower
Platinum12 minerals with Se and Pt3.14%404.86% higher
Potassium10 minerals with Se and K2.62%71.18% lower
Gold9 minerals with Se and Au2.36%301.59% higher
Sodium9 minerals with Se and Na2.36%87.28% lower
Thallium9 minerals with Se and Tl2.36%84.06% higher
Cadmium6 minerals with Se and Cd1.57%227.23% higher
Calcium6 minerals with Se and Ca1.57%93.36% lower
Iodine3 minerals with Se and I0.79%47.25% higher
Barium3 minerals with Se and Ba0.79%82.26% lower
Aluminium3 minerals with Se and Al0.79%95.96% lower
Magnesium3 minerals with Se and Mg0.79%93.85% lower
Molybdenum3 minerals with Se and Mo0.79%35.04% lower
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 Se Relative Frequency
Arsenic << Selenium >> Bromine

Most widespread minerals containing Selenium
This list of minerals containing Selenium 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 Selenium mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities

Localities with greatest number of different Selenium mineral species
map should go here
2El Dragón mine, Antonio Quijarro Province, Potosí, Bolivia23 Se minerals
5Tumiñico Mine, Sierra de Cacho, Villa Castelli, General Lamadrid department, La Rioja Province, Argentina21 Se minerals
6Předbořice deposit, Předbořice, Kovářov, Písek District, South Bohemian Region, Czech Republic19 Se minerals
7Bukov Mine, Rožná deposit, Rožná, Žďár nad Sázavou District, Vysočina Region, Czech Republic18 Se minerals
Los Llantenes mining district, La Rioja Province, Argentina18 Se 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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