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Cassiterite is a tin oxide ore mineral, SnO2. It is generally opaque but is translucent in thin crystals. Its luster and multiple crystal faces produce a desirable gem. Cassiterite has been the chief tin ore throughout ancient history and remains the most important source of tin today.

Chemical Composition

Chemical Formula:     SnO2
Composition:     IMolecular Weight = 150.71 gm
    Tin 78.77 % Sn 100.00 % SnO2
    Oxygen 21.23 % O
Environment:     Granite pegmatites and alluvial placer deposits
Locality:     Cornwall, Wales, Great Britain.
Name Origin:     From the Greek Kassiteros - "tin"


Axial Ratios:     a:c = 1:0.65808
Cell Dimensions:     a = 4.738, c = 3.118, Z = 2; V = 69.99 Den(Calc)= 7.15
Crystal System:     Tetragonal - Ditetragonal DipyramidalH-M Symbol
    (4/m 2/m 2/m) Space Group: P 4/mnm
X Ray Diffraction:     By Intensity(I/Io): 3.351(1), 2.644(0.81), 1.765(0.63).


Cassiterite crystals-1. Bolivia. Many of these crystals are larger than 1 centimeter.

Image Source: R.Weller/Cochise College

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