Discovered by William Wavell in 1809, the mineral Wavellite is an interesting mineral that should be in everyone’s collection. It is an attractive color and forms interesting crystal habits.
Wavellite has three different and distinct crystal forms. The first crystal form—which is the most common—is spherical (figure 1); the spherical crystal form appears mainly on host rock such as limonite, turquoise, quartz and variscite. If you were to break the spherical crystals open you would see radiating lines that make up the crystal structure.
|Figure 1. Wavellite (Image © by Luke Sattler)|
The third crystal form is radial and is made up of straight prism crystals that radiate out from a center point (figure 2). This form of wavellite is also mainly found in Queensland Australia and is also rare.
|Figure 2. Image by Lou Perloff ©/Photo Atlas Of Minerals, used by permission.|
Wavellite is formed as a secondary mineral of low-grade metamorphic rocks in limonitic and phosphate deposits. It rarely forms as a mineral in hydrothermal veins.
|Figure 3. Locations of Wavellite.|
This short note should give you the basic facts of this interesting mineral, and due to the limited locations your best bet of obtaining a specimen for your cabinet is at a local rock and gem show.
Babbington (1805) Phil. Trans.: 162.
Davy (1805) Phil. Trans.: 155, 162 (as Hydrargillite).
Thomson; von Moll (1809)