Otavite

Otavite


Composition: CdCO3
Crystal System : Trigonal
Colours: White, cream, yellowish
Lustre : Adamantine, pearly
Hardness (H) : 4
Specific Gravity (S.G) : 4.96
Year of Discovery: 1906
IMA Number: 1906
IMA Status: Grandfathered
Discovered By: Otto Schneider
Named for: The Otavi Mountainland (in which Tsumeb is located)
References: Schneider (1906)

Tsumeb is the Type Locality

Distribution

Extremely rare. Upper portion of the first oxidation zone.

Occurrence

  • Supergene
  • 1st Oxidation Zone

Paragenetic and General Notes

Otavite occurs as white, greyish, or yellowish coatings, with minute, rounded rhombohedral crystals, typically <0.5 mm, with a pearly lustre, typically on smithsonite or on cerussite. Rosasite is commonly (though not always) present in the otavite paragenesis.

Otavite was the first new mineral described from Tsumeb (Schneider, 1906), and yet it remains one of the rarest and most elusive from the collector's point of view. Analysis is required for reliable identification and many specimens of "otavite" turn out to be calcite, dolomite, smithsonite or, at best, cadmian calcite or cadmian smithsonite.