In which mineral is lead?


Author: Torsten Purle ( | Last update: 29.03.2021

Galena - properties, formation and use

English: galena | French: gàlena

Galena and galena

The name Galena derives from Latin galena derived what with lead is translated and relates directly to the composition of the mineral.
Already at the time of Pliny the Elder (23 to 75), galena was known as lead ore and was rather a collective term for lead-containing minerals or metallic sulfide minerals, without defining or differentiating a specific mineral.
It was only when the German mineralogist and geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749 to 1819) took up this topic that from then on only Lead ores, which consist of lead sulfide, are known as galena.

Properties of galena

With the chemical composition PbS, galena is a member of the sulphide mineral class.

The color of galena is metallic-gray to silvery, i.e. typically lead-green, can turn blue over time start up.
The line color of Galena is gray-black.

Galena crystallizes following the cubic crystal system; typical are cubes, octahedra and panels. Twins are rare in galena. The aggregates of the mineral appear lumpy, microcrystalline or fibrous.

The break of the lead mineral is shell-like and brittle, thanks to the perfect cleavage, defined cubes can be separated. The gloss of Galena can be metallic and matt, the transparency is opaque.

Galena is a soft mineral with a Mohs hardness of 2.5 to 3 on the 10-point scale according to the mineralogist Friedrich Mohs (1773 to 1839), the density is 7.2 to 7.6 g / cm³.

Origin and distribution of galena

Galena can be formed under metamorphic as well as igneous conditions, preferably sulphide deposits that have been hydrothermally shaped, whereby the crystals of galena also occur in veins, veins and seams in sedimentary rocks.

The deposits of galena are associated with numerous minerals, including zinc blende, fluorite, silver, quartz and calcite.

Galena is one of the minerals that are very common around the world. Notable finds are among others in Scandinavia; Scotland; England; Wales; Ireland; France; in the Ore Mountains, Nordhausen, Schnellbach, Gera, Goslar, Münsterland, Sauerland, Westerwald, Eifel, Hunsrück, Odenwald, Upper Palatinate Forest, Saarlouis, Black Forest / Germany; Valais / Switzerland; Hohe Tauern, Kreuzbergl, Saualpe, Moschkogel, Tanzenberg / Austria; Portugal; Spain; Italy; Czech Republic; Slovakia; in the states of the Balkan Peninsula; Ukraine; Russia; in central and southern Africa; Saudi Arabia; Tajikistan; Afghanistan; India; Thailand; China; Japan; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea; Australia; New Zealand; South, Central and North America possible.

Galena - Our recommendation *


Use and meaning of galena

Galena is of great importance for the production of lead. The mineral consists of up to 86.6% lead, but traces of other metals are also present as admixtures in galena. With a share of up to one percent, silver should be mentioned first, followed by gold, bismuth, selenium, copper, arsenic, zinc, iron, tin, antimony and cadmium, which make galena of economic interest.

In the past, galena was used as a pigment in make-up. In ancient Egypt, powdered galena was used as gray-black kohl to make up the eyes. When heated, the lead-gray galena color changed and turns red, which is why the mineral was also applied as lipstick and blush - presumably without knowing that galena is poisonous.

Proof of galena

Galena is soluble in hydrochloric acid with the development of hydrogen sulfide. When exposed to oxygen, galena reacts with the same and can transform itself into the minerals pyromorphite, angelsite or cerussite. Galena melts in an electric furnace at 1114 ° C.
Galena does not fluoresce.

See also:
⇒ Ore - metal containing minerals and rocks
⇒ magnetite
⇒ rare earths

⇒ Pellant, C. (1994): Stones and Minerals. Ravensburger nature guide. Ravensburger Buchverlag Otto Maier GmbH
⇒ Korbel, P .; Novak, M. and W. Horwath (2002): Mineralien Enzyklopädie, Dörfler Verlag
⇒ Schumann, W. (1991): Minerals rocks - characteristics, occurrence and use. FSVO nature guide. BLV Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Munich
⇒ Bauer, J .; Tvrz, F. (1993): The Cosmos Mineral Guide. Minerals rocks precious stones. An identification book with 576 color photos. Gondrom Verlag GmbH Bindlach
⇒ Medenbach, O .; Sussieck-Fornefeld, C .; Steinbach, G. (1996): Steinbach's natural guide minerals. 223 species descriptions, 362 color photos, 250 drawings and 30 pages of identification tables. Mosaik Verlag Munich
- - galena

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