Chrysotile . or white asbestos is a mineral from the group of Silicates, subgroup Philosilicates and within them is a serpentine-kaolinite. It is a magnesium hydroxy-silicate, with partial substitutions of magnesium for iron. All varieties of chrysotile are exploited commercially as asbestos, being the least harmful of the minerals used for this purpose, because unlike other asbestos, its fibers are flexible.


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  • 1 Training
  • 2 Etymology
  • 3 Gemology
  • 4 Uses
  • 5 Location
  • 6 Sources


It is a mineral of secondary origin, a product of the decomposition of other magnesium silicates present in igneous or metamorphic rocks. Also of hydrothermal pneumatolytic origin, due to the action of deep waters on basic rocks such as gabbro, peridotite or dunite. In them, it appears associated with minerals such as: chromite, olivine, garnets, calcite, biotite and talc.


The name clinocrisotilo derives from two Greek terms that mean “gold” and “fiber” and from the prefix “clino” typical of monoclinic minerals.


Color: Green or white. Stripe: White. Shine: Waxy or silky. Hardness: From 2.5 to 3.5. Density: 2.5 Optics: Low indices. Positive bi-toxic mineral. Others: Fibrosity almost filamentous.


Some noble varieties are used as ornamental rocks. Previously they were the main source of asbestos, but due to their carcinogenic properties, such use is now very limited in fabrics or as insulators.


It is found in deposits on the Labrador Peninsula (Canada), Italy, Russia, Rhodesia, Switzerland and the United States. In Spain there are significant quantities in Santa Marta de Ortigueira (La Coruña).


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