The mineral is usually found in a state of considerable chemical purity, though small amounts of strontium and calcium sulphates may isomorphously replace the barium sulphate: ammonium sulphate is also sometimes present, whilst clay, silica, bituminous matter, &c., may be enclosed as impurities.
Mitscherlich, in the case of the acid phosphate and acid arsenate of potassium, KH 2 P(As)04, who adopted the term isomorphism, and regarded phosphorus and arsenic as isomorphously related elements.
Other isomorphously related elements and groups were soon perceived, and it has been shown that elements so related are also related chemically.
It is chemically related to cadmium and mercury, the resemblance to cadmium being especially well marked; one distinction is that zinc is less basigenic. Zinc is capable of isomorphously replacing many of the bivalent metals - magnesium, manganese, iron, nickel, cobalt and cadmium.
Since argentite (Ag 2 S) is isomorphous with galena, it is probable that the silver isomorphously replaces lead, but it is to be noted that native silver has been detected as an enclosure in galena.
Black blende containing ferrous sulphide, in amounts up to 15 or 20% isomorphously replacing zinc sulphide, is known as marmatite (from Marmato near Guayabal in Colombia, South America) and christophite (from St Christophe mine at Breitenbrunn near Eibenstock in Saxony).