Lead minerals are highly collectible and some of my favorite specimens to collect are lead-based. All of the specimens you see at rock and mineral shows are commonly found at active lead mines around the world.
As you know, Lead is also widely used for car batteries, ammunition, cable sheathing, pigments, weights for lifting, weight belts designed for diving, and lead crystals.
Types of Lead Minerals
Lead is primarily obtained from the mineral Galena and has a very soft, blue-gray, metallic exterior. Other common lead-bearing minerals include lead sulfate (Anglesite), lead carbonate (Boulangerite, Cerussite), and lead carbonate (Minim and Pyromorphite).
Galena is the natural mineral form of lead sulfide and occurs as fine to large crystals. The color is shiny, lead gray, and silvery, with a high specific gravity between 7.2 and 7.6 in its purest form.
Its crystal system is cubic with perfect cleavage and contract, penetration, and lamellar twinning. The mineral Galena demonstrates a sub-conchoidal structure, brittle tenacity, and a metallic luster on the cleavage plane. Galena is moderately soft with a hardness that ranges between 2.5 to 2.75 on the Mohs Hardness scale.
Lead Sulfate is a moderate water and acid-soluble lead source. Sulfate compounds are esters or salts of sulfuric acid that are formed by replacing one or both of the hydrogens with a metal. Most metal sulfate compounds are readily soluble in water for uses like water treatment, which is unlike fluorides and oxides which tend to be insoluble.
Finally, we have Lead Carbonate, a water-insoluble lead source that is easily converted to other lead compounds, such as oxide, by heating or calcination. Carbonate compounds also release carbon dioxide when treated with dilute acids.
List of Lead Minerals Starting with A, B, C, or D
Is Lead A Mineral or Metal?
Lead is a bluish-white lustrous metal made from the mineral Galena. It is very soft, ductile, highly malleable, and a relatively poor conductor of electricity. Lead is very resistant to corrosion, yet it tarnishes when exposed to air. Lead isotopes are the final product of each of the three series of naturally occurring radioactive elements!
List of Lead Minerals Starting with E, F, G, or H
Lead Mineral Characteristics
Lead is gray to bluish-gray but often coated with white hydrocerussite or related phases. It produces a metallic luster with a hardness of 1.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale. Lead is actually a member of the Copper group or family.
Lead was named Plumbum nigrum by Pliny, the Elder, but it was actually named for the chemical element and not a mineral. Native Lead was possibly initially discovered in the Langban District during the late nineteenth century.
This metallic mineral has an Opaque transparency and produces a gray streak. The tenacity of Lead is malleable with a hackly fracture.
List of Lead Minerals Starting with J, K, L, M
Where is Lead Mined?
The United States is the world’s largest producer, manufacturer, and consumer of refined Lead metal. Other major mine producers outside the United States include Canada, China, Australia, Kazakhstan, and Peru.
In the United States, there are six lead mines in the state of Missouri. There are also lead-producing mines in Alaska and Idaho, and these three states account for all of the domestic mine production. Significant amounts of Lead are recovered as by-products of Zinc mining, as well as silver-copper deposits.
Primary refined lead was produced at one refinery in Missouri. Of all the plants that produced secondary Lead, 12 had capacities of 30 thousand tons a year of refined Lead or greater and accounted for over 95 percent of secondary production.
List of Lead Minerals Starting with N, P, Q, R
Luster of Lead Minerals
Lead, as a metal, offers a dull luster. It is a dense, ductile, incredibly soft, highly malleable, bluish-white metal that retains poor electrical conductivity. Lead is highly resistant to corrosion, and because of this, it’s used to contain corrosive liquids, such as sulfuric acid. Lead can be toughened by adding a small amount of Antimony or other metals to it and it is the only metal thus far where there is zero Thomson Effect.
Don’t forget, it’s poisonous!
Here is a little knowledge bomb. In simple terms, the Thomson Effect is the evolution or absorption of heat when electrical currents pass through a circuit composed of a single material with a temperature difference along its length. This heat transfer is superimposed on the standard production of heat associated with any electrical resistance to currents in conductors.
List of Lead Minerals Starting with S, T, V, W
List of Lead Minerals Starting with X, Y, Z