Thursday, May 20, 2010

Biotite is a common phyllosilicate mineral within the mica group, with the approximate chemical formula K(Mg,Fe)3AlSi3O10(F,OH)2. More generally, it refers to the dark mica series, primarily a solid-solution series between the iron-endmember annite, and the magnesium-endmember phlogopite; more aluminous endmembers include siderophyllite. Biotite was named by J.F.L. Hausmann in 1847 in honour of the French physicist Jean-Baptiste Biot, who, in 1816, researched the optical properties of mica, discovering many unique properties.

Biotite is a sheet silicate. Iron, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen form sheets that are weakly bond together by potassium ions. It is sometimes called "iron mica" because it is more iron-rich than phlogopite. It is also sometimes called "black mica" as opposed to "white mica" (muscovite) – both form in some rocks, in some instances side-by-side. Biotite is a very common mineral. In igneous rocks it is characteristic of silicic and alkalic rocks such as granite, granodiorite, quartz diotite, pegmatite, syenite, nepheline syenite, rhyolite, rhyodacite, dacite, and phonolite. It also is found as a late-stage magmatic product in more mafic rocks including diorite, gabbro, norite, and anorthosite.

Biotite is found in a wide variety of igneous and metamorphic rocks. For instance, biotite occurs in the lava of Mount Vesuvius and in the Monzoni intrusive complex of the western Dolomites. It is an essential phenocryst in some varieties of lamprophyre. Biotite is occasionally found in large cleavable crystals, especially in pegmatite veins, as in New England, Virginia and North Carolina.