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Chrysocolla

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Formula:
Cu
 
2-x
Al
 
x
(H
 
2-x
Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
· nH
 
2
O (x < 1)
System:OrthorhombicColour:Green, bluish green, ...
Lustre:Vitreous, Waxy, EarthyHardness:2½ - 3½
Name:The name was first used by Theophrastus in 315 B.C. and comes from the Greek chrysos, meaning "gold," and kolla, meaning "glue," in allusion to the name of the material used to solder gold. André-Jean-François-Marie Brochant de Villiers revived the name in 1808.


A mineral of secondary origin, commonly associated with other secondary copper minerals, it is typically found as glassy botryoidal or rounded masses or bubbly crusts, and as jackstraw mats of tiny acicular crystals or tufts of fibrous crystals. Copper-bearing allophane can look similar.

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Classification of Chrysocolla

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Explanation of status:The name is often used for any massive, globular, glassy, blue to green copper-bearing silicate minerals which have not been specifically identified as to species. Multiple analyses of different compositions have been offered over the years.
Chrysocolla is usually X-ray amorphous with crystallites too small to give a crystal's diffraction pattern (see Rruff pattern below). Looking at the electronic environment of Cu in chrysocolla specimens it has been found to resemble spertiniite suggesting that chrysocolla is a mixture of spertiniite and chalcedony or opal (www.slac.stanford.edu/cgi-wrap/getdoc/slac-pub-12232.pdf), which is improbable, however.
Strunz 8th edition ID:8/E.21-20
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:9.ED.20

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
E : Phyllosilicates
D : Phyllosilicates with kaolinite layers composed of tetrahedral and octahedral nets
Dana 7th edition ID:74.3.2.1
Dana 8th edition ID:74.3.2.1

74 : PHYLLOSILICATES Modulated Layers
3 : Modulated Layers with joined strips
Hey's CIM Ref.:14.2.5

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
2 : Silicates of Cu
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Occurrences of Chrysocolla

Geological Setting:Found in the oxidation zone of copper deposits, often encrusting or replacing earler secondary minerals.

Physical Properties of Chrysocolla

Lustre:Vitreous, Waxy, Earthy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Translucent, Opaque
Colour:Green, bluish green, blue, blackish blue, or brown
Streak:Light green
Hardness (Mohs):2½ - 3½
Hardness Data:Measured
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:None Observed
None
Fracture:Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
Density (measured):1.93 - 2.4 g/cm3

Crystallography of Chrysocolla

Crystal System:Orthorhombic
Cell Parameters:a = 5.7Å, b = 8.9Å, c = 6.7Å
Ratio:a:b:c = 0.64 : 1 : 0.753
Unit Cell Volume:V 339.89 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Morphology:Crystals fine acicular to fibrous, more often found as cryptocrystalline botryoidal aggregates and crusts.
Twinning:None reported.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Horizontal Axis: ° to ° Vertical Axis: % Source Data: Filtered Data:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
d-spacingIntensity
17.9 (80)
7.9 (60)
4.45 (20)
4.07 (60)
2.90 (80)
2.56 (70)
1.602 (40)
1.486 (100)
Comments:Weaker lines often diffuse. The pattern is fairly characteristic.

Optical Data of Chrysocolla

Type:Biaxial (-)
RI values: nα = 1.575 - 1.585 nβ = 1.597 nγ = 1.598 - 1.635
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.023 - 0.050

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Moderate

Chemical Properties of Chrysocolla

Formula:
Cu
 
2-x
Al
 
x
(H
 
2-x
Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
· nH
 
2
O (x < 1)
Simplified for copy/paste:Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4·nH2O (x < 1)
Essential elements:Al, Cu, H, O, Si
All elements listed in formula:Al, Cu, H, O, Si

Relationship of Chrysocolla to other Species

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
9.ED.05Dickite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.05Kaolinite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.05Nacrite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.05Odinite
(Fe,Mg,Al,Fe,Ti,Mn)
 
2.4
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.10Halloysite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.10Hisingerite
Fe
3+
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
· 2H
 
2
O
9.ED.10Halloysite-7Å
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Amesite
Mg
 
2
Al(AlSiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Antigorite
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Berthierine
(Fe
2+
 
,Fe
3+
 
,AlMg)
 
2-3
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Brindleyite
(Ni,Al)
 
3
(Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Caryopilite
(Mn,Mg)
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Chrysotile
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Cronstedtite
Fe
2+
2
Fe
3+
 
((Si,Fe
3+
 
)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Fraipontite
(Zn,Al)
 
3
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Greenalite
Fe
 
2-3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Kellyite
Mn
2+
2
Al(AlSiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Lizardite
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Manandonite
Li
 
2
Al
 
4
(Si
 
2
AlB)O
 
10
(OH)
 
8
9.ED.15Népouite
(Ni,Mg)
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Pecoraite
Ni
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Guidottiite
Mn
 
2
Fe
3+
 
(Fe
3+
 
SiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.20Allophane
(Al
 
2
O
 
3
)(SiO
 
2
)
 
1.3-2
· 2.5-3H
 
2
O
9.ED.20Imogolite
Al
 
2
SiO
 
3
(OH)
 
4
9.ED.20Neotocite
(Mn,Fe,Mg)SiO
 
3
· H
 
2
O
9.ED.25Bismutoferrite
Fe
3+
2
Bi(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
9.ED.25Chapmanite
Fe
3+
2
Sb
3+
 
(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
14.2.1Dioptase
CuSiO
 
3
· H
 
2
O
14.2.2Shattuckite
Cu
 
5
(Si
 
2
O
 
6
)
 
2
(OH)
 
2
14.2.3Plancheite
Cu
 
8
(Si
 
8
O
 
22
)(OH)
 
4
· H
 
2
O
14.2.4Gilalite
Cu
 
5
Si
 
6
O
 
17
· 7H
 
2
O
14.2.6Litidionite
CuNaKSi
 
4
O
 
10
14.2.7Reinhardbraunsite
Ca
 
5
(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH,F)
 
2
14.2.8Cuprorivaite
CaCu[Si
 
4
O
 
10
]
14.2.9Kinoite
Ca
 
2
Cu
 
2
(H
 
2
O)
 
2
[Si
 
3
O
 
10
]
14.2.10Stringhamite
CaCu(SiO
 
4
) · H
 
2
O
14.2.11Apachite
Cu
 
9
Si
 
10
O
 
29
· 11H
 
2
O

Other Names for Chrysocolla

Synonyms:
Abdollah-Giw TurquoiseBeaumontite (of Jackson)ChalcostaktiteChalkostaktiteChrysocole
ChrysocolliteChrysokollaCopper PitchblendeCornuite (of Rogers)Crysocolla
DemidoviteDillenbergiteLiparite (of Casoria)LlancaSomervillite (of Dufrénoy)
Other Languages:
Basque:Krisokola
Catalan:Crisocol·la
Dutch:Chrysocolla
French:Chrysocolle
Cuivre carbonaté vert (of Haüy)
Cuivre Hydrosiliceux
Galician:Crisocola
German:Chrysokoll
Berggrün
Chalcostaktit
Chalkostaktit
Demidovit
Dillenbergit
Kieselkupfer
Kieselmalachit
Kupferkiesel
Kupfermalachit
Pechkupfer
Pechkupfer (of Hausmann)
Hebrew:כריזוקולה
Italian:Crisocolla
Japanese:珪孔雀石
Latin:Viride montanum
Polish:Chryzokola
Portuguese:Crisocola
Simplified Chinese:硅孔雀石
Slovak:Chryzokol
Spanish:Crisocola
Chalcostaktita
Chalkostaktita
Demidovita
Dillenbergita
Swedish:Koppargrün
Varieties:
Aluminian ChrysocollaAluminian Ferrian ChrysocollaCyanochalcite

Other Information

Health Warning:No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:A very minor ore of copper.

References for Chrysocolla

Reference List:

- +
François Farges, Karim Benzerara, and Gordon E. Brown, Jr., Chrysocolla Redefined as Spertiniite, SLAC-PUB-12232, Contributed to 13th International Conference On X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS13), July 9-14, 2006, Stanford, California
( www.slac.stanford.edu/cgi-wrap/getdoc/slac-pub-12232.pdf )

Chukhrov, F.V., B.B. Zvyagin, A.I. Gorshkov, L.P. Ermilova, and E.S. Rudnitskaya (1968): Chrysocolla. Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Ser. Geol., no. 6, 29{44 (in Russian).

American Mineralogist: 54: 993-994. (Abs.)

Van Oosterwyck-Gastuche, M.-C. (1970): La structure de la chrysocolle. Compt. Rendus Acad. Sci. Paris, 271, 1837-1840 (in French).

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig (1997), Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 1561.

Hariu, T., Arima, H., Sugiyama, K. (2013): The structure of hydrated copper-silicate gels, an analogue compound for natural chrysocolla. Journal of Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences 108, 111-115. [https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jmps/108/2/108_121022c/_pdf]

Mindat.org articles about Chrysocolla

Article entries:
Unknown Yerington Nevada.Marcus Voigt

Internet Links for Chrysocolla

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  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Chrysocolla details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
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    Localities for Chrysocolla

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