Rutile

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Acicular to Prismatic crystals, elongated and

Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide, TiO2.

Rutile is the most common natural form of TiO2. Two rarer polymorphs of TiO2 are known:

Rutile has among the highest refractive indices of any known mineral and also exhibits high dispersion. Natural rutile may contain up to 10% iron and significant amounts of niobium and tantalum.

Rutile derives its name from the Latin rutilus, red, in reference to the deep red color observed in some specimens when viewed by transmitted light.

Contents

Occurrence

Rutile is a common accessory mineral in high-temperature and high-pressure metamorphic rocks and in igneous rocks.

Rutile is the preferred polymorph of TiO2 in such environments because it has the lowest molecular volume of the three polymorphs; it is thus the primary titanium bearing phase in most high pressure metamorphic rocks, chiefly eclogites. Brookite and anatase are typical polymorphs of rutile formed by retrogression of metamorphic rutile.

Within the igneous environment, rutile is a common accessory mineral in plutonic igneous rocks, although it is also found occasionally in extrusive igneous rocks, particularly those which have deep mantle sources such as kimberlites and lamproites. Anatase and brookite are found in the igneous environment particularly as products of autogenic alteration during the cooling of plutonic rocks; anatase is also found formed within placer deposits sourced from primary rutile.

The occurrence of large specimen crystals is most common in pegmatites, skarns and particularly granite greisens.

Rutile is found as an accessory mineral in some altered igneous rocks, and in certain gneisses and schists. In groups of acicular crystals it is frequently seen penetrating quartz as in the "fléches d'amour" from Graubünden, Switzerland.

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