Kyanite with a 90 mm macro lens.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Kyanite, whose name derives from the Greek word kuanos sometimes referred to as “kyanos”, meaning deep blue, is a typically blue silicate mineral, commonly found in aluminium-rich metamorphic pegmatites and/or sedimentary rock. Kyanite in metamorphic rocks generally indicates pressures higher than 4 kilobars. Although potentially stable at lower pressure and low temperature, the activity of water is usually high enough under such conditions that it is replaced by hydrous aluminosilicates such as muscovite, pyrophyllite, or kaolinite. Kyanite is also known as disthene, rhaeticite and cyanite.
Kyanite is a member of the aluminosilicate series, which also includes the polymorph andalusite and the polymorph sillimanite. Kyanite is strongly anisotropic, in that its hardness varies depending on its crystallographic direction. In Kyanite, this anisotropism can be considered an identifying characteristic.
At temperatures above 1100 °C kyanite decomposes into mullite and vitreous silica via the following reaction: 3(Al2O3·SiO2) → 3Al2O3·2SiO2 + SiO2. This transformation results in an expansion.
Kyanite is used primarily in refractory and ceramic products, including porcelain plumbing fixtures and dishware. It is also used in electronics, electrical insulators and abrasives.
Kyanite has been used as a semiprecious gemstone, which may display cat’s eye chatoyancy, though this use is limited by its anisotropism and perfect cleavage. Color varieties include recently discovered orange kyanite from Tanzania. The orange color is due to inclusion of small amounts of manganese (Mn3+) in the structure.
Kyanite is one of the index minerals that are used to estimate the temperature, depth, and pressure at which a rock undergoes metamorphism.