AskDefine | Define magnesite

Dictionary Definition

magnesite n : a black magnetic mineral consisting of magnesium carbonate; a source of magnesium

User Contributed Dictionary



Named after its composition in 1807.


  1. A form of magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, occuring as dolomite (with calcite) but is rarely found in the pure state.




  1. magnesite

Extensive Definition

Magnesite is not to be confused with Magnetite or Magnemite.
Magnesite is magnesium carbonate, MgCO3. Iron (as Fe2+) substitutes for magnesium (Mg) with a complete solution series with siderite, FeCO3. Calcium, manganese, cobalt, and nickel may also occur in small amounts. Dolomite, (Mg,Ca)CO3, is almost indistinguishable from magnesite.


Magnesite occurs as veins in and an alteration product of ultramafic rocks, serpentinite and other magnesium rich rock types in both contact and regional metamorphic terranes. These magnesites often are cryptocrystalline and contain silica as opal or chert.
Magnesite is also present within the regolith above ultramafic rocks as a secondary carbonate within soil and subsoil, where it is deposited as a consequence of dissolution of magnesium-bearing minerals by carbon dioxide within groundwaters.


Magnesite can be formed via talc carbonate metasomatism of peridotite and other ultrabasic rocks. Magnesite is formed via carbonation of olivine in the presence of water and carbon dioxide, and is favored at moderate temperatures and pressures typical of greenschist facies;
Magnesite can also be formed via the carbonation of magnesian serpentine (lizardite) via the following reaction: Serpentine + carbon dioxide → Talc + magnesite + Water
2Mg_3Si_2O_5(OH)_4 + 3CO_2 \rarr Mg_3Si_4O_10(OH)_2 + 3MgCO_3 + H_2O
Forsterite magnesia-rich olivine compositions favor production of magnesite from peridotite. Fayalitic (iron-rich) olivine favors production of magnetite-magnesite-silica compositions.
Magnesite can also be formed from metasomatism in skarn deposits, in dolomitic limestones, associated with wollastonite, periclase, and talc.


Magnesite can be used as a slag former in steelmaking furnaces, in conjunction with lime, in order to protect the magnesium oxide lining. It can also be used as a catalyst and filler in the production of synthetic rubber and in the preparation of magnesium chemicals and fertilizers.
Similar to the production of lime, magnesite can be burned in the presence of charcoal to produce MgO, otherwise known as periclase. Such periclase is an important product in refractory materials.

References and external links

magnesite in Danish: Magnesiumcarbonat
magnesite in German: Magnesiumcarbonat
magnesite in Finnish: Magnesiitti
magnesite in French: Magnésite
magnesite in Italian: Magnesite (minerale)
magnesite in Hungarian: Magnezit
magnesite in Hebrew: מגנזיט
magnesite in Japanese: 菱苦土鉱
magnesite in Dutch: Magnesiet
magnesite in Polish: Magnezyt (minerał)
magnesite in Portuguese: Magnesita
magnesite in Slovak: magnezit
magnesite in Russian: Магнезит
magnesite in Serbian: Магнезијум карбонат
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