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Covellite

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Formula:
CuS
System:
Hexagonal
Colour:
Indigo-blue or darker, ...
Lustre:
Sub-Metallic
Hardness:
1½ - 2
Name:
Named in 1832 by Francois Sulpice Beudant in honor of Niccolo Covelli (January 20, 1790 Cajazzo, Italy - November 15, 1829), an Italian mineralogist and discoverer of the mineral at Mount Vesuvius.
Usually as indigo-blue massive metallic material, sometimes with crystals on exposed surfaces (those often spheroidal). Good crystals extremely rare.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Covellite.

Classification of Covellite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
2.CA.05a

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
C : Metal Sulfides, M: S = 1: 1 (and similar)
A : With Cu
Dana 7th ed.:
2.8.12.1
2.8.12.1

2 : SULFIDES
8 : AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
3.1.8

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
1 : Sulphides etc. of Cu
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http://www.mindat.org/min-1144.html
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Type Occurrence of Covellite

Year of Discovery:
1832
Geological Setting of Type Material:
Igneous extrusive, as a volcanic sublimate on Mount Vesuvius.

Occurrences of Covellite

Geological Setting:
Usually found as a secondary copper mineral in copper deposits, more rarely as a primary mineral of such deposits, and only very rarely as a volcanic sublimate (such as at Mount Vesuvius.)

Physical Properties of Covellite

Sub-Metallic
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Opaque
Colour:
Indigo-blue or darker, inclining towards blue-black, often iridescent with purplish, deep red, and brassy-yellow reflections.
Streak:
Shiny metallic, lead-grey to black
Hardness (Mohs):
1½ - 2
Hardness (Vickers):
VHN100=128 - 138 kg/mm2
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Flexible
Cleavage:
Perfect
Perfect on {0001}.
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Hackly
Density:
4.6 - 4.76 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.602 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Covellite

Crystal System:
Hexagonal
Class (H-M):
6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) - Dihexagonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
P63/mmc
Cell Parameters:
a = 3.7938Å, c = 16.341Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 4.307
Unit Cell Volume:
V 203.7 ų
Z:
6
Morphology:
Hexagonal plates {001}, with pyramidal faces striated horizontally and hexagonal striations on the base. Common forms: {001}, {104}, {103}, {308}, {102}, {9/0/16}, {5.08}, {101} and {201}. Less common to rare: {1.0.16}, {1.0.12}, {3.0.32}, {108}, {106}, {3.0.16}, {105}, {205}, {203}, {304}, {15.0.16} and {908}.
Twinning:
None reported.

Crystallographic forms of Covellite

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
Covellite - Tabular {001}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

Toggle
Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

View
Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
3.22(30)
3.05(70)
2.81(100)
2.72(60)
2.32(10)
1.90(80)
1.74(40)
1.57(20)
1.56(40)

Optical Data of Covellite

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.450 nε = 2.620
Max Birefringence:
δ = 1.170
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Type:
Anisotropic
Anisotropism:
Strong
Dispersion:
Strong
Pleochroism:
Visible
Comments:
Deep blue to blue-white

Chemical Properties of Covellite

Formula:
CuS
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
Analytical Data:
Wet chemical analysis of material from Bor, Siberia, given first. Ideal given second.
Cu 65.49
Fe 0.25
S 33.53
Total 99.19
.
Cu 66.47
S 33.53
Total 100.00
Empirical Formula:
Cu0.99S1.00
Common Impurities:
Fe,Se,Ag,Pb

Relationship of Covellite to other Species

2.CA.05bKlockmanniteCuSe
2.CA.05cSpionkopiteCu39S28
2.CA.05dYarrowiteCu9S8
2.CA.10NukundamiteCu3.4Fe0.6S4
2.CA.15CalvertiteCu5Ge0.5S4
3.1.1ChalcociteCu2S
3.1.2DjurleiteCu31S16
3.1.3DigeniteCu9S5
3.1.4AniliteCu7S4
3.1.5RoxbyiteCu9S5
3.1.6SpionkopiteCu39S28
3.1.7GeeriteCu8S5
3.1.9BerzelianiteCu2Se
3.1.10BellidoiteCu2Se
3.1.11UmangiteCu3Se2
3.1.12YarrowiteCu9S8
3.1.13AthabascaiteCu5Se4
3.1.14KlockmanniteCuSe
3.1.15Krut'aiteCuSe2
3.1.16WeissiteCu2-xTe
3.1.17RickarditeCu7Te5
3.1.18VulcaniteCuTe
3.1.19BambollaiteCu(Se,Te)2
3.1.20LautiteCuAsS
3.1.21MgriiteCu3AsSe3
3.1.22CubaniteCuFe2S3
3.1.23BorniteCu5FeS4
3.1.24FukuchiliteCu3FeS8
3.1.25ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
3.1.26MooihoekiteCu9Fe9S16
3.1.27HaycockiteCu4Fe5S8
3.1.28IsocubaniteCuFe2S3
3.1.29IdaiteCu5FeS6
3.1.30NukundamiteCu3.4Fe0.6S4
3.1.31PutoraniteCu9(Fe,Ni)9S16
3.1.32Orickite2CuFeS2 · H2O
3.1.33EskeborniteCuFeSe2
3.1.34Chaméanite(Cu,Fe)4As(Se,S)4
3.1.35TalnakhiteCu9(Fe,Ni)8S16

Other Names for Covellite

Other Information

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:
An ore of copper, sometimes of major importance but more typically a lesser one.

References for Covellite

Reference List:
Freiesleben (1815): 3: 129 (as Blaues Kupferglas).

Breithaupt (1817), In: Hoffmann: 4b: 178 (as Kupferindig).

Covelli, N., (1827): Sur le Bisulfure de Cuivre qui se forme actuellement dans le Vesuve (1826), Ann. Chim. Vol. XXXV, 105-111, Paris.

Covelli., N., (1827): Über das gegenwärtig am Vesuv sich bildende Doppelt-Schwefelkupfer, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Vol. 86, 494-498.

Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 834pp.: 248-251.

American Mineralogist (1976): 61: 996-1000.

Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (1990) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume I. Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 588pp.: 112.

Wang, N. (1994): The Cu-Bi-S system: results from low-temperature experiments. Mineralogical Magazine 58, 201-214. [on Bi solubility in CuS, and metastable solid solution series Cu10Bi2S13]

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig, Vandall T. King (1997, Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 79.

Robert Cook (2006) Connoisseur's Choice: Covellite Summitville, Rio Grande County, Colorado. Rocks & Minerals 81:296-300

Internet Links for Covellite

Specimens:
The following Covellite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Covellite

map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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