Origin of Optical Pleochroism in Orthopyroxenes

Roger G. Burns
Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge

Summary: The necessary conditions for optical pleochroism in orthopyroxenes are: ordering of Fe2+ ions, with preferential occupation of M2 positions; presence of small, high-valence cations (Al3+, Fe3+, Ti4+) in M1 positions; replacement of Si by Al; and a sufficient Fe2+ content. These factors favour an intensification of the charge-transfer absorption bands in the ultra-violet that is more marked for the α vibration direction than for β and γ. This leads to absorption in the blue and a red colour in transmitted α-polarized light, while β and γ, remain green.

Mineralogical Magazine; March 1966 v. 35; no. 273; p. 715-719; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1966.035.273.06
© 1966, The Mineralogical Society
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