A gray metallic-like mineral composed of lead sulfide. Galena commonly occurs as cubic crystals. It is the principal ore source for metallic lead and often contains significant amounts of silver. Galena is mined from deposits in Canada, Mexico, England (Cornwall), Australia (Broken Hill), Germany (Clausthal Zellerfeld), Italy, Germany, Romania, Austria, France, Spain, Chile, Peru, Africa, and in the United States (Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Idaho, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, California). When crushed, lead sulfide is a black powder. Powdered galena was used on medieval pottery and 17th century slipware. In the mid 20th century, it was used as a semiconductor in crystal radio sets. Lead sulfide is still used in some ceramic glazes and as a source for the production of lead sulfate.
Synonyms and Related Terms
galenite; lead glance; lead sulfide; plumbus sulfide; Bleiglanz (Deut.); Galenit (Deut.); galène (Fr.); galaniet (Ned.); galena (Esp., Port.); galeniet (Ned.)
Soluble in nitric acid and hot, dilute hydrochloric acid. Insoluble in water.
Isometric crystal system with cubic crystals. Cleavage=perfect in three directions.
Luster = metallic. Streak = gray. Fracture = subconchoidal, brittle
|Molecular Weight||mol. wt. = 239.27|
Hazards and Safety
Toxic by inhalation or ingestion. Skin contact may cause irritation or ulcers. Carcinogen, teratogen, suspected mutagen.
Fisher Scientific: MSDS
Mineralogy Database: Galena
Sources Checked for Data in Record
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- C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979
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- The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 5445
- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "galena" Encyclopædia Britannica [Accessed December 11, 2001
- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at http://www.wikipedia.com Comment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galena (Accessed Sept. 7, 2005)
- Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
- Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
- CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=7.3-7.6