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Tetrahedrite

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Formula:
Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
System:
Isometric
Colour:
Steel- to iron-gray
Hardness:
3½ - 4
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

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
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
3.3.6.1

3 : SULFOSALTS
3 : 3 <ø < 4
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

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:
4.97 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.99 g/cm3 (Calculated)

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.

Crystallographic forms of Tetrahedrite

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}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
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:
Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
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)
Other Members of Group:
ArgentotennantiteAg6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13
ArgentotetrahedriteAg10(Fe,Zn)2Sb4S13
FreibergiteAg6[Cu4Fe2]Sb4S13-x
GirauditeCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4Se13
GoldfielditeCu10Te4S13
HakiteCu6[Cu4Hg2]Sb4Se13
TennantiteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13
2.GB.05ArgentotennantiteAg6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13
2.GB.05FreibergiteAg6[Cu4Fe2]Sb4S13-x
2.GB.05GirauditeCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4Se13
2.GB.05GoldfielditeCu10Te4S13
2.GB.05HakiteCu6[Cu4Hg2]Sb4Se13
2.GB.05TennantiteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13
2.GB.10SelenostephaniteAg5Sb(Se,S)4
2.GB.10StephaniteAg5SbS4
2.GB.15Pearceite[(Ag,Cu)6(As,Sb)2S7][Ag9CuS4]
2.GB.15Polybasite[(Ag,Cu)6(Sb,As)2S7][Ag9CuS4]
2.GB.15UM2003-14-S:AgBiFeTeAg16FeBiTe3S8
2.GB.15Selenopolybasite[(Ag,Cu)6(Sb,As)2(S,Se)7][Ag9Cu(S,Se)2Se2]
2.GB.15Cupropearceite[Cu6As2S7][Ag9CuS4]
2.GB.15Cupropolybasite[Cu6Sb2S7][Ag9CuS4]
2.GB.15UM1979-17-S:BiCuFeCu18Fe4BiS16
2.GB.20Galkhaite(Cs,Tl)(Hg,Cu,Zn)6(As,Sb)4S12
5.1.1SinneriteCu6As4S9
5.1.2TennantiteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13
5.1.4ChalcostibiteCuSbS2
5.1.6GoldfielditeCu10Te4S13
5.1.7EmplectiteCuBiS2
5.1.8CuprobismutiteCu8AgBi12S24
5.1.9WitticheniteCu3BiS3
5.1.10HodrušiteCu8Bi12S22
5.1.11GirauditeCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4Se13
5.1.11PermingeatiteCu3SbSe4

Other Names for Tetrahedrite

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.

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

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

Localities for Tetrahedrite

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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