1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Diaspore

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DIASPORE, a native aluminium hydroxide, AlO(OH), crystallizing in the orthorhombic system and isomorphous with göthite and manganite. It occurs sometimes as flattened crystals, but usually as lamellar or scaly masses, the flattened surface being a direction of perfect cleavage on which the lustre is markedly pearly in character. It is colourless or greyish-white, yellowish, sometimes violet in colour, and varies from translucent to transparent. It may be readily distinguished from other colourless transparent minerals, with a perfect cleavage and pearly lustre—mica, talc, brucite, gypsum—by its greater hardness of 612-7. The specific gravity is 3.4. When heated before the blowpipe it decrepitates violently, breaking up into white pearly scales; it was because of this property that the mineral was named diaspore by R. J. Haüy in 1801, from διασπείρειν, "to scatter." The mineral occurs an an alteration product of corundum or emery, and is found in granular limestone and other crystalline rocks. Well-developed crystals are found in the emery deposits of the Urals and at Chester, Massachusetts, and in kaolin at Schemnitz in Hungary. If obtainable in large quantity it would be of economic importance as a source of alumina. (L. J. S.)