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Vaterite crystals
from Mindat Vaterite


A rare crystalline form of Calcium carbonate that is composed of at least two different coexisting crystallographic structures. The major form exhibits hexagonal symmetry, while the minor form occurs within the nanodomains of the major matrix. Vaterite can occur as a biomineral in fish often formed by the dehydration of amorphous calcium carbonate.

Synonyms and Related Terms

vaterite (Port.); Vaterit (Deut.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Hexagonal crystal system.
  • Reacts with acids to evolve carbon dioxide
Composition CaCO3
Morphology Thin fibers, spherulitic aggregates
Color Colorless
Streak White
Mohs Hardness 3
Density 2.54 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.550, 1.650
Birefringence 0.10

Resources and Citations

  • Mindat: Vaterite Accessed April 2024
  • R. Gettens, E. West Fitzhugh, R.Feller, "Calcium Carbonate Whites", Artists Pigments, Vol. 2., A. Roy ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993.
  • Mineralogy Database: Vaterite