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Tennantite

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Formula:
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
S
 
13
System:IsometricColour:Grey-black, steel-gray, ...
Lustre:MetallicHardness:3 - 4½
Member of:Tetrahedrite Group
Name:Re-named in 1819 by William Phillips in honor of Smithson Tennant [November 30, 1761 Selby, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom - February 22, 1815 Boulogne-sur-Mer, France] English chemist of independent means. Tennant established the beneficial nature of using limestone to reduce soil acidity. He and William Hyde Wollaston, who was then his chemical assistant, analyzed graphite and diamond and found that graphite and diamond were both carbon. He analyzed meteorites and found nickel in them, as well as finding iodine in sea water. Tennant's fame, however, is firmly based on his discovery of the elements iridium and osmium. Previously called "gray sulphuret of copper in dodecahedral crystals" in 1817 by James Sowerby.

Classification of Tennantite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:2/C.11-10
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:2.GB.05

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
G : Sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites
B : Neso-sulfarsenites, etc. with additional S
Dana 8th edition ID:3.3.6.2

3 : SULFOSALTS
3 : 3 <ø < 4
Hey's CIM Ref.:5.1.2

5 : Sulphosalts - Sulpharsenites and Sulphobismuthites (those containing Sn, Ge,or V are in Section 6)
1 : Sulpharsenites etc. of Cu
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Type Occurrence of Tennantite

Type Locality:Cornwall, England, UK
Year of Discovery:1819

Occurrences of Tennantite

Geological Setting:Hydrothermal veins and contact metamorphic deposits.

Physical Properties of Tennantite

Lustre:Metallic
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Opaque
Colour:Grey-black, steel-gray, iron-gray, black
Streak:Reddish grey, black, red-brown
Hardness (Mohs):3 - 4½
Hardness (Vickers):VHN100=294 - 380 kg/mm2
Tenacity:Brittle
Fracture:Sub-Conchoidal
Density (measured):4.62 g/cm3
Density (calculated):4.61 g/cm3

Crystallography of Tennantite

Crystal System:Isometric
Class (H-M):4 3m - Hextetrahedral
Space Group:I4 3m
Cell Parameters:a = 10.19Å
Unit Cell Volume:V 1,058.09 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:2
Morphology:Tetrahedral to rounded crystals.
Twinning:Twin axis [111], twin plane {111}
Crystal Atlas:
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Tennantite - {100}, modified

About Crystal Atlas

The mindat.org Crystal Atlas allows you to view a selection of crystal drawings of real and idealised crystal forms for this mineral and, in certain cases, 3d rotating crystal objects. The 3d models and HTML5 code are kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Epitaxial Relationships of Tennantite

Epitaxial Minerals:
Chalcopyrite
CuFeS
 
2
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
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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.

Optical Data of Tennantite

Type:Isotropic
Colour in reflected light:gray, inclining to black to brown to cherry-red
Comments:n greater than 2.72

Chemical Properties of Tennantite

Formula:
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
S
 
13
Simplified for copy/paste:Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13
Idealised Formula:
(Cu,Ag,Fe,Zn)
 
12
As
 
4
S
 
13
Essential elements:As, Cu, Fe, S
All elements listed in formula:As, Cu, Fe, S, Zn
Common Impurities:Sb,Bi,Pb

Relationship of Tennantite to other Species

Series:Forms a series with Tetrahedrite (see here)
Member of:Tetrahedrite Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Argentotennantite
Ag
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
S
 
13
Argentotetrahedrite
Ag
 
10
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
Sb
 
4
S
 
13
Freibergite
Ag
 
6
[Cu
 
4
Fe
 
2
]Sb
 
4
S
 
13-x
Giraudite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
Se
 
13
Goldfieldite
Cu
 
12
(Te,Sb,As)
 
4
S
 
13
Hakite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
Hg
 
2
]Sb
 
4
Se
 
13
Tetrahedrite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]Sb
 
4
S
 
13
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
2.GB.05Argentotennantite
Ag
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
S
 
13
2.GB.05Freibergite
Ag
 
6
[Cu
 
4
Fe
 
2
]Sb
 
4
S
 
13-x
2.GB.05Giraudite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
Se
 
13
2.GB.05Goldfieldite
Cu
 
12
(Te,Sb,As)
 
4
S
 
13
2.GB.05Hakite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
Hg
 
2
]Sb
 
4
Se
 
13
2.GB.05Tetrahedrite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]Sb
 
4
S
 
13
2.GB.10Selenostephanite
Ag
 
5
Sb(Se,S)
 
4
2.GB.10Stephanite
Ag
 
5
SbS
 
4
2.GB.15Pearceite
[(Ag,Cu)
 
6
(As,Sb)
 
2
S
 
7
][Ag
 
9
CuS
 
4
]
2.GB.15Polybasite
[(Ag,Cu)
 
6
(Sb,As)
 
2
S
 
7
][Ag
 
9
CuS
 
4
]
2.GB.15UM2003-14-S:AgBiFeTe
Ag
 
16
FeBiTe
 
3
S
 
8
2.GB.15Selenopolybasite
[(Ag,Cu)
 
6
(Sb,As)
 
2
(S,Se)
 
7
][Ag
 
9
Cu(S,Se)
 
2
Se
 
2
]
2.GB.15Cupropearceite
[Cu
 
6
As
 
2
S
 
7
][Ag
 
9
CuS
 
4
]
2.GB.15Cupropolybasite
[Cu
 
6
Sb
 
2
S
 
7
][Ag
 
9
CuS
 
4
]
2.GB.15UM1979-17-S:BiCuFe
Cu
 
18
Fe
 
4
BiS
 
16
2.GB.20Galkhaite
(Cs,Tl)(Hg,Cu,Zn)
 
6
(As,Sb)
 
4
S
 
12
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
5.1.1Sinnerite
Cu
 
6
As
 
4
S
 
9
5.1.4Chalcostibite
CuSbS
 
2
5.1.5Tetrahedrite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]Sb
 
4
S
 
13
5.1.6Goldfieldite
Cu
 
12
(Te,Sb,As)
 
4
S
 
13
5.1.7Emplectite
CuBiS
 
2
5.1.8Cuprobismutite
Cu
 
8
AgBi
 
12
S
 
24
5.1.9Wittichenite
Cu
 
3
BiS
 
3
5.1.10Hodrušite
Cu
 
8
Bi
 
12
S
 
22
5.1.11Giraudite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
Se
 
13
5.1.11Permingeatite
Cu
 
3
SbSe
 
4

Other Names for Tennantite

Synonyms:
Gray copper oreGrey copper oreJulianiteMiedziankiteRegnolite
Other Languages:
Dutch:Tennantiet
German:Tennantit
Antimonarsenfahlerz
Arsenfahlerz
Arsenicalfahlerz
Arsenic Fahlerz
Arsenikglanz
Arsenkupferfahlerz
Julianit
Lichtes Arsenfahlerz
Italian:Tennantite
Polish:Tennantyt
Russian:Теннантит
Simplified Chinese:砷黝铜矿
砷黑幼铜矿
Spanish:Julianita
Tennantita
Ukrainian:Бініт
Varieties:
AnniviteArgentiferous TennantiteBinnite (of Des Cloizeaux)Bismuthian TennantiteCobaltoan Bismuthian Tennantite
CuprobinniteMercurian TennantiteTellurian TennantiteZincian Tennantite

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.

References for Tennantite

Reference List:

- +
Zeitschrift für Kristallographie (1966): 123: 1-20.

Kharbish, S., Libowitzky, E. and Beran, A. (2007): The effect of As-Sb substitution in the Raman spectra of tetrahedrite-tennantite and pyrargyrite-proustite solid solutions. European Journal of Mineralogy, 19, 567-574.

Pervukhina, N.V., Borisov, S.V., Magarill, S.A., Vasuliev, V.I., Kuratieva, N.V., Kozlova, D.G. (2010): Refinement of the crystal structure of As-"schwatzite" Cu6(Cu6Hg0.75)(As2.83Sb1.17)S13 (Aktash, Altai mountains). Journal of Structural Chemistry, 51, 898-903

Internet Links for Tennantite

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  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Tennantite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
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  • Specimens:The following Tennantite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

    Localities for Tennantite

    The 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.
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    Updated Mineral Entry: EvansiteFrom Uwe Kolitsch, 24th Nov 2014 19:12:58