Ulexite (NaCaB5O9·8H2O) (hydrated sodium calcium borate hydroxide) is a mineral occurring in silky white rounded crystalline masses or in parallel fibers. It was named after the German chemist Georg Ludwig Ulex (1811−1883) who first discovered it.

Ulexite is a structurally complex mineral, with a basic structure containing chains of sodium, water and hydroxide octahedra. The chains are linked together by calcium, water, hydroxide and oxygen polyhedra and massive boron units. The boron units have a formula of B5O6(OH)6 and a charge of -3, and are composed of three borate tetrahedra and two borate triangular groups.
Hardness is 2 (softer than a fingernail) and specific gravity is approximately 1.97.

Ulexite is found with the mineral borax and is directly deposited in arid regions from the evaporation of water in intermittent lakes called playas. The precipitated ulexite commonly forms a "cotton ball" tuft of acicular crystals. Ulexite is also found in a vein-like bedding habit composed of closely-packed fibrous crystals, also known as "TV rock" or "TV stone" due to its unusual optical characteristics. The fibers of TV rock act as fiber optics, transmitting light along their lengths by internal reflection, and when a piece of TV rock is cut with flat polished faces perpendicular to the orientation of the fibers a good-quality specimen will display an image of whatever surface is adjacent to its other side (as shown in the photograph).

The fiber-optic effect is the result of the polarization of light into slow and fast rays within each fiber, the internal reflection of the slow ray, and the refraction of the fast ray into the slow ray of an adjacent fiber. An interesting consequence is the generation of three cones, two of which are polarized, when a laser beam obliquely illuminates the fibers. These cones can be seen when viewing a light source through the mineral as discovered by E. Aalto and explained by D. Garlick and B. Kamb (J.Geol.Ed., 1991).

Ulexite decomposes in hot water.

Ulexite can only exhibit this Fiber optic property when it is polished and has two smooth sides

Ulexite is found principally in California and Nevada, USA; Tarapaca Region in Chile, and Kazakhstan.

External links


ee also

*List of minerals
*List of minerals named after people

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Uléxite — Catégorie VI : borates[1] Général …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ULEXITE — Borate hydraté dont la formule chimique peut s’écrire NaCaB598H2O, l’ulexite est parfois dénommée, à tort, boronatrocalcite, car ce terme peut aussi s’appliquer à la probertite de composition chimique qualitative analogue. L’ulexite contient… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ulexite — L’ulexite (NaCaB5O9·8H2O) est un minerai de bore et contient 43% de borates …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ulexite — U lex*ite, n. [After a German chemist.] (Min.) A mineral occurring in white rounded crystalline masses. It is a hydrous borate of lime and soda. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ulexite — /yooh lek suyt/, n. a mineral, hydrous sodium and calcium borate, NaCaB5O9·8H2O, occurring in arid regions in the form of white acicular crystals: a major source of borax. [1865 70; named after George L. Ulex, German chemist; see ITE1] * * * ▪… …   Universalium

  • ulexite — uleksitas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Mineralas. formulė NaCa[B₅O₆(OH)]·5H₂O atitikmenys: angl. boronatrocalcite; natronborocalcite; ulexite rus. боронатрокальцит; улексит ryšiai: sinonimas – natrioborokalcitas sinonimas –… …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • ulexite — noun Etymology: George L. Ulex died 1883 German chemist Date: 1867 a soft mineral consisting of a hydrous borate of sodium and calcium and usually occurring in loose masses of white fibers …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ulexite — noun A white mineral with triclinic crystals, NaCaB<sub>5</sub>O<sub>9</sub></sub>·8H<sub>2</sub>O …   Wiktionary

  • ulexite — ulex·ite …   English syllables

  • ulexite — u•lex•ite [[t]yuˈlɛk saɪt[/t]] n. mir a whitish mineral, hydrous sodium calcium borate, NaCaB5O9∙8H2O, occurring in arid regions as rounded masses of radiating crystal needles • Etymology: 1865–70; after George L. Ulex, German chemist …   From formal English to slang

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.