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Cinnabar

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About CinnabarHide

Formula:
HgS
Colour:
Tint or shade of red; cochineal red, brownish red
Lustre:
Metallic
Hardness:
2 - 2½
Specific Gravity:
8.176
Crystal System:
Trigonal
Name:
From Persian "zinjifrah"; original meaning lost (dragon's blood?).
The α phase of HgS. Trimorphous with metacinnabar (the β phase) and hypercinnabar.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Cinnabar.


Classification of CinnabarHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
2.CD.15a

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
C : Metal Sulfides, M: S = 1: 1 (and similar)
D : With Sn, Pb, Hg, etc.
2.8.14.1

2 : SULFIDES
8 : AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
3.5.1

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
5 : Sulphides etc. of Hg and Tl

Pronounciation of CinnabarHide

Pronounciation:
PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of CinnabarHide

Metallic
Transparency:
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Tint or shade of red; cochineal red, brownish red
Streak:
Red-brown to scarlet
Hardness:
2 - 2½ on Mohs scale
Hardness:
VHN10=82 - 156 kg/mm2 - Vickers
Tenacity:
Sectile
Cleavage:
Perfect
Perfect {1010}
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
Comment:
slightly sectile
Density:
8.176 g/cm3 (Measured)    8.20 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of CinnabarHide

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 2.905 nε = 3.256
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.351
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Type:
Anisotropic
Anisotropism:
high
Reflectivity:
400nmR1=30.0%R2=33.5%
420nmR1=28.8%R2=32.1%
440nmR1=27.4%R2=30.9%
460nmR1=26.4%R2=29.9%
480nmR1=25.7%R2=29.5%
500nmR1=25.2%R2=29.4%
520nmR1=24.6%R2=29.4%
540nmR1=24.2%R2=29.1%
560nmR1=23.9%R2=28.6%
580nmR1=23.7%R2=27.9%
600nmR1=23.4%R2=27.3%
620nmR1=23.0%R2=26.8%
640nmR1=22.6%R2=26.3%
660nmR1=22.4%R2=26.0%
680nmR1=22.1%R2=25.7%
700nmR1=21.9%R2=25.5%

Reflectance graph
Graph shows reflectance levels at different wavelengths (in nm). Top of box is 100%. Peak reflectance is 33.5%.
R1 shown in black, R2 shown in red

Chemical Properties of CinnabarHide

Formula:
HgS
CAS Registry number:
1344-48-5

CAS Registry numbers are published by the American Chemical Society

Crystallography of CinnabarHide

Crystal System:
Trigonal
Class (H-M):
3 2 - Trapezohedral
Space Group:
P31 2 1
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.145(2) Å, c = 9.496(2) Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 2.291
Unit Cell V:
141.29 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
3
Morphology:
Rhombohedral crystals (to 10 cm), thick tabular {0001}, stout to slender prismatic || [1010]; massive, granular, as incrustations
Twinning:
Simple contact twins; plane {0001}, axis [0001]

Crystallographic forms of CinnabarHide

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
Cinnabar no.2 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.10 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.26 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.35 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.57 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

Toggle
Edge Lines | Miller Indices | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
3.34 Å(9)
2.85 Å(10)
2.06 Å(5)
1.969 Å(5)
1.725 Å(5)
1.672 Å(6)
1.339 Å(5)

Geological EnvironmentHide

Geological Setting:
low-temperature hydrothermal, in veins and sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic host rocks

Synonyms of CinnabarHide

Other Language Names for CinnabarHide

Basque:Zinabrio
Bosnian:Cinabarit
Bulgarian:Цинобър
Catalan:Cinabri
Czech:Cinabarit
Danish:Cinnober
Dutch:Cinnaber
Estonian:Kinaver
Finnish:Sinooperi
French:Cinabre
Galician:Cinabrio
Hungarian:Cinnabarit
Italian:Cinabro
Japanese:辰砂
Latvian:Cinobrs
Lithuanian:Cinoberis
Norwegian:Sinober
Polish:Cynober
Portuguese:Cinábrio
Simplified Chinese:辰砂
Slovak:Cinabarit
Slovenian:Cinabarit
Spanish:Cinabrio
Traditional Chinese:辰砂
Turkish:Zincifre
Ukrainian:Кіновар
Vietnamese:Chu sa

Varieties of CinnabarHide

CorallinerzA cuverd lamellar variety of hepatic (impure) Cinnabar

Common AssociatesHide

BaryteBaSO4
CalciteCaCO3
ChalcedonySiO2
DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2
MarcasiteFeS2
MercuryHg
OpalSiO2 · nH2O
PyriteFeS2
RealgarAs4S4
StibniteSb2S3
Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
395 photos of Cinnabar associated with DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2
294 photos of Cinnabar associated with QuartzSiO2
121 photos of Cinnabar associated with CalciteCaCO3
121 photos of Cinnabar associated with MercuryHg
70 photos of Cinnabar associated with BaryteBaSO4
58 photos of Cinnabar associated with StibniteSb2S3
30 photos of Cinnabar associated with PyriteFeS2
28 photos of Cinnabar associated with SideriteFeCO3
22 photos of Cinnabar associated with MetacinnabarHgS
15 photos of Cinnabar associated with FluoriteCaF2

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

2.CD.05HerzenbergiteSnSOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
2.CD.05TeallitePbSnS2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
2.CD.10AlabanditeMnSIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.CD.10AltaitePbTeIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.CD.10ClausthalitePbSeIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.CD.10GalenaPbSIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.CD.10Niningerite(Mg,Fe2+,Mn2+)SIso.
2.CD.10Oldhamite(Ca,Mg)SIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.CD.10Keilite(Fe2+,Mg)SIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.CD.15bHypercinnabarHgSHex.

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

3.5.2HypercinnabarHgSHex.
3.5.3MetacinnabarHgSIso. 4 3m : F4 3m
3.5.4ImiteriteAg2HgS2Mon.
3.5.5TiemanniteHgSeIso. 4 3m : F4 3m
3.5.6BalkaniteCu9Ag5HgS8Mon. 2/m : P2/m
3.5.7Danielsite(Cu,Ag)14HgS8Orth.
3.5.8ColoradoiteHgTeIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m)
3.5.9GortdrumiteCu24Fe2Hg9S23Tric. 1 : P1
3.5.10Polhemusite(Zn,Hg)STet.
3.5.11CarliniteTl2STrig. 3 : R3
3.5.12CrookesiteCu7(Tl, Ag)Se4Tet.
3.5.13SabatieriteCu6TlSe4Orth.
3.5.14PicotpauliteTlFe2S3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Cmcm
3.5.15RaguiniteTlFeS2Orth.
3.5.16ThalcusiteTl2Cu3FeS4Tet.
3.5.17BukoviteTl2(Cu,Fe)4Se4Tet.
3.5.18GalliteCuGaS2Tet. 4 2m : I4 2d
3.5.19RoquesiteCuInS2Tet. 4 2m : I4 2d
3.5.20InditeFeIn2S4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m

Fluorescence of CinnabarHide

Other InformationHide

Thermal Behaviour:
transition to the β phase (metacinnabar) occurs in the 673-698 K range
Special Storage/
Display Requirements:
Some cinnabar that contains trace amounts of chlorine will darken with exposure to sunlight (photosensitive).
Health Risks:
As with all mineral specimens it is always safer to wash your hands after handling.

Try to avoid inhaling dust and use caution when breaking.

Do not heat in an unventilated environment - emits toxic Hg fumes.

Mercury sulfide is, however, relatively insoluble and toxicity of the pure material is low.

Be aware that cinnabar from some localities, especially samples which are 'massive' rather than crystalline, may contain traces of native mercury, and this is far more easily absorbed by the body.

Crystals of cinnabar on calcite/dolomite from China, for example, are safe to handle.
Industrial Uses:
Principal ore of mercury. Used as a cosmetic pigment in ancient times.

Cinnabar in petrologyHide

An essential component of rock names highlighted in red, an accessory component in rock names highlighted in green.

References for CinnabarHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Theophrastus (315 BC) Cinnabar. in: Caley, E.R., Richards, J.F.C. (1956) Theophrastus On Stones. Introduction, Greek text, English translation and commentary, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Hoffmann, C.A.S (1789) Mineralsystem des Herrn Inspektor Werners mit dessen Erlaubnis herausgegeben von C.A.S. Hoffmann. Bergmännisches Journal: 10(1): 369-398.
Durand, F.E. (1873) Note on crystals of quartz of a red color, by the interposition of cinnabar. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 1: 4(1): 211.
Schrauf, A. (1894) Aphorismen über Zinnobar. Zeitschrift für Praktische Geologie: 10-18.
Palache, C., Berman, H., Frondel, C. (1944) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 834pp.: 251-255.
Auvray, P., Genet, F. (1973) Affinement de la structure cristalline du cinabre α-HgS. Bulletin de Mineralogie et de Cristallographie: 96: 218-219.
Potter, R.W., Barnes, H.L. (1978) Phase relations in the binary Hg-S. American Mineralogist: 63: 1143-1152.
McCormack, J.K. (2000) The darkening of cinnabar in sunlight. Mineralium Deposita: 35(8): 796-798.
Frost, R.L., Martens, W.N., Kloprogge, J.T. (2002) Raman spectroscopic study of cinnabar (HgS), realgar (As4S4), and orpiment (As2S3) at 298 and 77K. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Monatshefte: 2002: 469-480.
Borisov, S.V., Magarill, S.A., Pervukhina, N.V. (2009) Characteristic features of crystal chemistry of natural mercury-containing sulfides and sulfosalts. Journal of Structural Chemistry: 50: 853-860.
Ballirano, P., Botticelli, M., Maras, A. (2013) Thermal behavior of cinnabar, α-HgS, and the kinetics of the β-HgS (metacinnabar) → α-HgS conversion at room temperature. European Journal of Mineralogy: 25: 957-965.
Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W. and Nichols, M.C., Eds. (2016) Handbook of Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, VA 20151-1110, USA. (http://www.handbookofmineralogy.org/)

Internet Links for CinnabarHide

Localities for CinnabarHide

This map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.

Locality ListShow

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