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Tetrahedrite

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Formula:
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]Sb
 
4
S
 
13
System:IsometricColour:Steel- to iron-gray
Hardness:3½ - 4
Member of:Tetrahedrite Group
Name:Re-named in 1845 by Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger because of the common tetrahedral form of its crystals. Originally called argentum rude album by Georgius Agricola (Georg Bauer) in 1546 because it contained silver, although it may not have necessarily been silver-dominant as a related mineral, freibergite, is. Named Fahlerts and other names by Johan Gottschalk Wallerius in 1747, while in 1758, Axel Cronstedt used the spelling fahlerz and also used a multi-word chemical descriptive for the mineral. Fahlerts/fahlertz is derived from German fahl = ash-colored and ertz = ore in allusion to its grayish black color.

Classification of Tetrahedrite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:2/C.11-40
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:3.3.6.1

3 : SULFOSALTS
3 : 3 <ø < 4
Hey's CIM Ref.:5.1.5

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

Geological Setting:Low to moderate temperature hydrothermal veins and contact metamorphic deposits.

Physical Properties of Tetrahedrite

Lustre:Metallic
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Opaque
Colour:Steel- to iron-gray
Streak:Black, brown to dark red
Hardness (Mohs):3½ - 4
Hardness (Vickers):VHN100=312 - 351 kg/mm2
Tenacity:Brittle
Fracture:Sub-Conchoidal
Density (measured):4.97 g/cm3
Density (calculated):4.99 g/cm3

Crystallography of Tetrahedrite

Crystal System:Isometric
Class (H-M):4 3m - Hextetrahedral
Space Group:I4 3m
Cell Parameters:a = 10.39(16) Å
Unit Cell Volume:V 1,121.62 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:2
Morphology:Tetrahedral crystals, massive
Twinning:On {111} and around [111] twin axis.
Crystal Atlas:
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Tetrahedrite no.34 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Tetrahedrite - Penetration twin on [111]
Tetrahedrite - {111}, modified
Tetrahedrite - {211}
Tetrahedrite - {111}, modified
Tetrahedrite - {111}, {110}

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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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation
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 Tetrahedrite

Type:Isotropic
Colour in reflected light:Grey to olive brown
Comments:n greater than 2.72

Chemical Properties of Tetrahedrite

Formula:
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]Sb
 
4
S
 
13
Simplified for copy/paste:Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
Essential elements:Cu, Fe, S, Sb
All elements listed in formula:Cu, Fe, S, Sb, Zn
Common Impurities:Ag,Pb,Zn,Fe,As

Relationship of Tetrahedrite to other Species

Series:Forms a series with Tennantite (see here)
Forms a series with Freibergite (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
Sb4S
 
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
Tennantite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
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.05Tennantite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
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
5.1.2Tennantite
Cu
 
6
[Cu
 
4
(Fe,Zn)
 
2
]As
 
4
S
 
13
5.1.4Chalcostibite
CuSbS
 
2
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 Tetrahedrite

Synonyms:
AftoniteAphothoniteClinohedrite (of Breithaupt)FalkenhayniteFieldite
NepaulitePanabaseSpiessglanzerzStuderite
Other Languages:
Basque:Tetrahedrita
Catalan:Tetraedrita
Dutch:Anniviet
French:Mine de cuivre grise
Tétraédrite
German:Tetraedrit
Aftonit
Antimonfahlerz
Fahlkupfererz
Falkenhaynit
Graues Silbererz
Graugiltigerz
Spiessglanzfahlerz
Tetraëdrit
Tetrahedrit
Polish:Tetraedryt
Russian:Тетраэдрит
Simplified Chinese:黝铜矿
Slovak:Tetraedrit
Spanish:Tetraedrita
Aftonita
Cobre gris
Falkenhaynita
Pavonado
Tetrahedrita
Traditional Chinese:黝銅礦
Varieties:
ApthoniteArgentian TetrahedriteArgentiferous Auriferous TetrahedriteArsenical TetrahedriteBismuthian Tetrahedrite
Cd-FreibergiteCoppiteFrigiditeKobaltfahlerzMalinowskit
Mercurian TetrahedriteStylotypiteZincian Tetrahedrite

Other Information

Special Storage/
Display Requirements from:
Smith Mine,..., Gilpin Co., Colorado, USAnone
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 Tetrahedrite

Reference List:

- +
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: 374-384.

Wuensch, B.J. et al. (1966), Z. Kristallogr., 123, 1.

Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 119: 437-453.

Mineralogical Magazine (1986): 50: 717.

American Mineralogist (1988): 73: 389.

Pfitzner, A. (1998): Z. Kristallogr. 213, 228-236.

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.

Moëlo, Y., Makovicky, E., Mozgova, N.N., Jambor, J.L., Cook, N., Pring, A., Paar, W., Nickel, E.H., Graeser, S., Karup-Møller, S.; Balić-Žunić, T.; Mumme, W.G., Vurro, F., Topa, D., Bindi, L., Bente, K., Shimizu, M. (2008): Sulfosalt systematics: a review. Report of the sulfosalt sub-committee of the IMA Commission on Ore Mineralogy. European Journal of Mineralogy, 20, 7-46. [on freibergite vs. tetrahedrite]

Internet Links for Tetrahedrite

Search Engines:
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  • External Links:
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  • Look for Tetrahedrite on Athena Mineralogy
  • Look for Tetrahedrite on Wikipedia
  • Look for Tetrahedrite on Mineralien Atlas
  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Tetrahedrite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
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  • Specimens:The following Tetrahedrite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

    Localities for Tetrahedrite

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