Oligoclase is a rock-forming mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

 belonging to the plagioclase
Plagioclase is an important series of tectosilicate minerals within the feldspar family. Rather than referring to a particular mineral with a specific chemical composition, plagioclase is a solid solution series, more properly known as the plagioclase feldspar series...

Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

s. In chemical composition and in its crystallographic and physical characters it is intermediate between albite
Albite is a plagioclase feldspar mineral. It is the sodium endmember of the plagioclase solid solution series. As such it represents a plagioclase with less than 10% anorthite content. The pure albite endmember has the formula NaAlSi3O8. It is a tectosilicate. Its color is usually pure white, hence...

Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

8) and anorthite
Anorthite is the calcium endmember of plagioclase feldspar. Plagioclase is an abundant mineral in the Earth's crust. The formula of pure anorthite is CaAl2Si2O8.-Mineralogy :...

Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

Al2Si2O8). The albite:anorthite molar ratio ranges from 90:10 to 70:30.

Oligoclase is a high sodium feldspar crystallizing in the triclinic system. The Mohs hardness is 6 to 6.5 and the specific gravity
Specific gravity
Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance. Apparent specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of a volume of the substance to the weight of an equal volume of the reference substance. The reference substance is nearly always water for...

 is 2.64 to 2.66. The refractive indices
Refractive index
In optics the refractive index or index of refraction of a substance or medium is a measure of the speed of light in that medium. It is expressed as a ratio of the speed of light in vacuum relative to that in the considered medium....

 are: nα=1.533–1.543, nβ=1.537–1.548, and nγ=1.542–1.552. In color it is usually white, with shades of grey, green, or red.

Name and discovery

The name oligoclase was given by August Breithaupt
August Breithaupt
Johann Friedrich August Breithaupt was a German mineralogist and professor at Freiberg Mining Academy in Freiberg, Saxony.-Biography:...

 in 1826 from the Greek oligos, little, and clasein, to break, because the mineral was thought to have a less perfect cleavage than albite. It had previously been recognized as a distinct species by J. J. Berzelius in 1824, and was named by him soda-spodumene (Natron-spodumen), because of its resemblance in appearance to spodumene
Spodumene is a pyroxene mineral consisting of lithium aluminium inosilicate, LiAl2, and is a source of lithium. It occurs as colorless to yellowish, purplish, or lilac kunzite , yellowish-green or emerald-green hiddenite, prismatic crystals, often of great size...



Perfectly colorless and transparent glassy material found at Bakersville, North Carolina
Bakersville, North Carolina
Bakersville is a town in Mitchell County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 357 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Mitchell County.-Geography:Bakersville is located at ....

 has occasionally been faceted as a gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

. Another variety more frequently used as a gemstone is the aventurine
Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence....

-feldspar or sun-stone found as reddish cleavage masses in gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

 at Tvedestrand
is a town and municipality in Aust-Agder county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sørlandet. The administrative center is the village of Tvedestrand....

 in southern Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

; this presents a brilliant red to golden metallic glitter, due to the presence of numerous small scales of hematite
Hematite, also spelled as haematite, is the mineral form of iron oxide , one of several iron oxides. Hematite crystallizes in the rhombohedral system, and it has the same crystal structure as ilmenite and corundum...

 oriented within the feldspar structure.

Oligoclase occurs, often accompanying orthoclase
Orthoclase is an important tectosilicate mineral which forms igneous rock. The name is from the Greek for "straight fracture," because its two cleavage planes are at right angles to each other. Alternate names are alkali feldspar and potassium feldspar...

, as a constituent of plutonic igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

s such as granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, syenite
Syenite is a coarse-grained intrusive igneous rock of the same general composition as granite but with the quartz either absent or present in relatively small amounts Syenite is a coarse-grained intrusive igneous rock of the same general composition as granite but with the quartz either absent or...

, and diorite
Diorite is a grey to dark grey intermediate intrusive igneous rock composed principally of plagioclase feldspar , biotite, hornblende, and/or pyroxene. It may contain small amounts of quartz, microcline and olivine. Zircon, apatite, sphene, magnetite, ilmenite and sulfides occur as accessory...

. It occurs in porphyry
Porphyry (geology)
Porphyry is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts...

 and diabase
Diabase or dolerite is a mafic, holocrystalline, subvolcanic rock equivalent to volcanic basalt or plutonic gabbro. In North American usage, the term diabase refers to the fresh rock, whilst elsewhere the term dolerite is used for the fresh rock and diabase refers to altered material...

Dike (geology)
A dike or dyke in geology is a type of sheet intrusion referring to any geologic body that cuts discordantly across* planar wall rock structures, such as bedding or foliation...

 and sills
Sill (geology)
In geology, a sill is a tabular sheet intrusion that has intruded between older layers of sedimentary rock, beds of volcanic lava or tuff, or even along the direction of foliation in metamorphic rock. The term sill is synonymous with concordant intrusive sheet...

 as well as in the volcanic rocks andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

 and trachyte
Trachyte is an igneous volcanic rock with an aphanitic to porphyritic texture. The mineral assemblage consists of essential alkali feldspar; relatively minor plagioclase and quartz or a feldspathoid such as nepheline may also be present....

. It also occurs in gneiss. The best developed and largest crystals are those found with orthoclase, quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

, epidote
Epidote is a calcium aluminium iron sorosilicate mineral, Ca2Al2O, crystallizing in the monoclinic system. Well-developed crystals are of frequent occurrence: they are commonly prismatic in habit, the direction of elongation being perpendicular to the single plane of symmetry. The faces are often...

, and calcite
Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate . The other polymorphs are the minerals aragonite and vaterite. Aragonite will change to calcite at 380-470°C, and vaterite is even less stable.-Properties:...

 in veins in granite at Arendal
is a town and municipality in the county of Aust-Agder, Norway. Arendal belongs to the traditional region of Sørlandet.The town of Arendal is the administrative center the municipality and also of Aust-Agder county...

 in Norway. The distinctive texture of rapakivi granite
Rapakivi granite
Rapakivi granite is a hornblende-biotite granite containing large rounded crystals of orthoclase mantled with oligoclase. The name has come to be used most frequently as a textural term where it implies plagioclase rims around orthoclase in plutonic rocks...

 is due to oligoclase rims on orthoclase phenocryst
thumb|right|300px|[[Granite]]s often have large [[feldspar|feldspatic]] phenocrysts. This granite, from the [[Switzerland|Swiss]] side of the [[Mont Blanc]] massif, has large white [[plagioclase]] phenocrysts, [[triclinic]] [[mineral]]s that give [[trapezium|trapezoid]] shapes when cut through)...

s. Oligoclase is also found in metamorphic rocks formed under transitional greenschist
Greenschist is a general field petrologic term applied to metamorphic or altered mafic volcanic rock. The term greenstone is sometimes used to refer to greenschist but can refer to other rock types too. The green is due to abundant green chlorite, actinolite and epidote minerals that dominate the...

 to amphibolite
Amphibolite is the name given to a rock consisting mainly of hornblende amphibole, the use of the term being restricted, however, to metamorphic rocks. The modern terminology for a holocrystalline plutonic igneous rocks composed primarily of hornblende amphibole is a hornblendite, which are...

 facies conditions.

Schiller iridescence

Some examples show Schiller iridescence due to the presence of exsolution lamellae on cooling in the peristerite miscibility gap, ~An5-An18.
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