THE MINERAL RAITE
Raite is a rare and beautiful mineral.
It was named in 1973 to honor the international scientific expedition of the ship "Ra II
" which was built of papyrus.
The ship was captained by Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer and scientist who was determined to prove the sea worthiness of reed boats.
The Ra II
was successfully sailed from Safi, Morocco to Barbados in 1970.
Raite is a bit of an oddball mineral in that its structure is hard to classify.
It is classified as a
phyllosilicate in the Dana classification scheme and as a
inosilicate in the Strunz classification scheme.
The structure of raite is composed of linked chains of silicates, four chains across.
Dana considers this a sheet structure and therefore a phyllosilicate, while Strunz considers this to still be a chain structure and therefore an inosilicate.
Raite is another rare and beautiful agpaitic mineral.
Agpaitic minerals are those found in unusual igneous intrusive rocks that contain alkali metals and high concentrations of unusual metals such as titanium and zirconium.
These rocks are called agpaites and there are only a few localities around the world that are identified as agpaites.
At two of these, raite is found;
Mount Saint Hilaire, Quebec, Canada and
Mt. Lovozero Massif, Kola Peninsula, Russia.
At both sites, raite forms beautiful acicular crystals arranged in sprays, fans, spherulites, rosettes and as crusts.
The color is golden-brown to red or even violet with a silky luster.
It is associated with other rare minerals and although hard to find, it is certainly a cool mineral to have in a collection.
- Color is golden-brown to red or even violet.
- Luster is silky to vitreous.
- Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
- Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2 2 2
- Crystal Habits include acicular crystals and aggregates are clustered into sprays, fans, spherulites, rosettes and as crusts.
- Cleavage is perfect, but rarely seen.
- Hardness is 3.
- Specific Gravity is 2.4
- Streak is yellow.
- Associated Minerals are
serandite and other rare minerals.
- Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Yubileinaya pegmatite, Karnasurt,
Mt. Lovozero Massif, Kola Peninsula,
Russia and the famous mineral site of
Mount Saint Hilaire, Quebec, Canada.
- Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, locality, associations and color.