Online Encyclopedia

ENSTATITE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 654 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
ENSTATITE, a rock-forming mineral belonging to the group of orthorhombic pyroxenes. It is a magnesium metasilicate, MgSiO3, often with a little iron replacing the magnesium: as the iron increases in amount there is a transition to bronzite (q.v.), and with still more iron to hypersthene (q.v.). Bronzite and hypersthene were known long before enstatite, which was first described by G. A. Kenngott in 1855, and named from ivgTaTi S, " an opponent," because the mineral is almost in-fusible before the blowpipe: the material he described consisted of imperfect prismatic crystals, previously thought to be scapolite, from the serpentine of Mount Zdjar near Schonberg in Moravia. Crystals suitable for goniometric measurement were later found in the meteorite which fell at Breitenhach in the Erzgebirge, Bohemia. Large crystals, a foot in length and mostly altered to steatite, were found in 1874 in the apatite veins traversing mica-schist and hornblende-schist at the apatite mine of Kjorrestad, near Brevig in southern Norway. Isolated crystals are of rare occurrence, the mineral being usually found as an essential constituent of igneous rocks; either as irregular masses in plutonic rocks (norite, peridotite, pyroxenite, &c.) and the serpentines which have resulted by their alteration, or as small idiomorphic crystals in volcanic rocks (trachyte, andesite). It is also a common constituent of meteoric stones, forming with olivine the bulk of the material: here it often forms small spherical masses, or chondrules, with an internal radiated structure. Enstatite and the other orthorhombic pyroxenes are distinguished from those of the monoclinic series by their optical characters, viz. straight extinction, much weaker double refraction and stronger pleochroism: they have prismatic cleavages (with an angle of S8° 16') as well as planes of parting parallel to the planes of symmetry in the ,prism-zone. Enstatite is white, greenish or brown in colour; its hardness is 51, and sp. gr. 3.2—3.3. (L. J. S.)
End of Article: ENSTATITE
[back]
ENSILAGE
[next]
ENTABLATURE (Lat. in, and tabula, a tablet)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.