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Florida Geological Survey - Geology Topics
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 Identification: Ilmenite is an iron, titanium oxide, FeTiO3. It is black to brownish black in color with a black to brownish red streak.  The specific gravity varies from 4.3 to 5.5 and the hardness from 5.0 to 6.0.  Ilmenite is naturally slightly magnetic, but the magnetism can be greatly increased by heating.  In Florida, ilmenite occurs as rounded sand-size particles..
Occurrence: A small percentage of minerals with specific gravities higher than that of quartz are found scattered in most of the unconsolidated sands of Florida, especially coastal beach sands.  These minerals which include ilmenite, rutile, zircon, staurolite and others, because they are heavier than quartz, are known as "heavy minerals. " Wave or wind action may concentrate these minerals by carrying away the lighter quartz grains. Such concentrations are common along present beaches of the State and also along beaches that were formed when the sea stood higher than it does now.  Deposits of heavy minerals may be recognized by their black color due to the presence of ilmenite, which is generally the most abundant mineral in such deposits.
Use: The chief use for the mineral ilmenite is in the manufacturing of titanium dioxide pigment for white paints. Ilmenite, along with rutile is used for coating electric welding rods and also as a source of titanium metal.


Last updated: July 01, 2015

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