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Atacamite

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Formula:
Cu2(OH)3Cl
System:
Orthorhombic
Colour:
Bright green, dark ...
Lustre:
Adamantine, Vitreous
Hardness:
3 - 3½
Member of:
Name:
Named in 1802 by Demitri de Gallitzen after the type locality, in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
Atacamite Group.

A secondary copper mineral formed through the oxidation of other copper minerals, especially in arid, saline conditions.

May alter to malachite and chrysocolla, creating pseudomorphs.

Classification of Atacamite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
3.DA.10a

3 : HALIDES
D : Oxyhalides, hydroxyhalides and related double halides
A : With Cu, etc., without Pb
Dana 7th ed.:
10.1.1.1
10.1.1.1

10 : OXYHALIDES AND HYDROXYHALIDES
1 : A2(O,OH)3Xq
8.2.4

8 : Halides - Fluorides, Chlorides, Bromides and Iodides; also Fluoborates and Fluosilicates
2 : Halides of Cu
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Type Occurrence of Atacamite

Place of Conservation of Type Material:
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (No. 110816)
Year of Discovery:
1801
Geological Setting of Type Material:
An oxidation product of other copper minerals under arid conditions

Occurrences of Atacamite

Geological Setting:
An oxidation product of other copper minerals, especially under arid, saline conditions; in fumarolic deposits; a weathering product of sulphides in submarine black smoker deposits; an alteration product of bronze and copper objects of antiquity.

Physical Properties of Atacamite

Adamantine, Vitreous
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Bright green, dark emerald-green to blackish green; shades of green in transmitted light.
Streak:
Apple-green.
Hardness (Mohs):
3 - 3½
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Perfect
On {010}, fair on {101}.
Fracture:
Conchoidal
Density:
3.745 - 3.776 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.756 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Atacamite

Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Class (H-M):
mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) - Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Pnma
Cell Parameters:
a = 6.03Å, b = 9.12Å, c = 6.865Å
Ratio:
a:b:c = 0.661 : 1 : 0.753
Unit Cell Volume:
V 377.53 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
4
Morphology:
Slender crystals, to 10 cm, prismatic along [001]; striated parallel to [001], on {010} parallel to [110]; commonly tabular perpendicular to {010} or pseudo-octahedral with {110} and {011}. Also fibrous, sandy granular to compact, massive.
Twinning:
Rare, with twin and composition plane {110}; more common about [544]. Doublets, triplets, both contact and penetration, and complex groups result from twinning.

Crystallographic forms of Atacamite

Crystal Atlas:
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Atacamite no.4 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Atacamite no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Atacamite no.25 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Epitaxial Relationships of Atacamite

Epitaxial Minerals:
AnatacamiteCu2(OH)3Cl
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
5.48 (100)
5.03 (70)
2.278 (69)
1.6060 (57)
2.759 (55)
2.836 (51)
2.779 (51)
Comments:
Recorded on material from Inca de Oro, Copiapó, Chile.

Optical Data of Atacamite

Type:
Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.831 nβ = 1.861 nγ = 1.880
2V:
Calculated: 74°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.049
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Dispersion:
r < v, strong
Pleochroism:
Weak
Comments:
X = pale green, Y = yellow-green, Z = grass-green; Orientation: X = b, Y = a, Z = c.

Chemical Properties of Atacamite

Formula:
Cu2(OH)3Cl
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
Analytical Data:
Results of chemical analysis of material from Collahuasi, Chile
Cu (14.82)
CuO (56.01)
Cl (16.55)
H2O (12.69)

sum 100.07 wt.-%
Common Impurities:
Ca,Co

Relationship of Atacamite to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of Group:
AnatacamiteCu2(OH)3Cl
BotallackiteCu2(OH)3Cl
ClinoatacamiteCu2(OH)3Cl
GillarditeCu3Ni(OH)6Cl2
HaydeeiteCu3Mg(OH)6Cl2
HerbertsmithiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2
IyoiteMnCuCl(OH)3
KapellasiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2
LeverettiteCu3Co(OH)6Cl2
MisakiiteCu3Mn(OH)6Cl2
ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
Paratacamite-(Mg)Cu3(Mg,Cu)(OH)6Cl2
Paratacamite-(Ni)Cu3(Ni,Cu)(OH)6Cl2
TondiiteCu3Mg(OH)6Cl2
3.DA.05MelanothalliteCu2Cl2O
3.DA.10bBotallackiteCu2(OH)3Cl
3.DA.10bClinoatacamiteCu2(OH)3Cl
3.DA.10aHibbingiteFe22+(OH)3Cl
3.DA.10aKempiteMn22+(OH)3Cl
3.DA.10cParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
3.DA.10bBelloiteCu(OH)Cl
3.DA.10cHerbertsmithiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2
3.DA.10cKapellasiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2
3.DA.10cGillarditeCu3Ni(OH)6Cl2
3.DA.10cHaydeeiteCu3Mg(OH)6Cl2
3.DA.10dAnatacamiteCu2(OH)3Cl
3.DA.15ClaringbulliteCu4ClF(OH)6
3.DA.15BarlowiteCu4BrF(OH)6
3.DA.20SimonkolleiteZn5Cl2(OH)8 · H2O
3.DA.25ButtgenbachiteCu19(NO3)2(OH)32Cl4 · 2H2O
3.DA.25ConnelliteCu19(SO4)(OH)32Cl4 · 3H2O
3.DA.30AbhuriteSn21Cl16(OH)14O6
3.DA.35PonomareviteK4Cu4Cl10O
3.DA.40AnthonyiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 3H2O
3.DA.40CalumetiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 2H2O
3.DA.45KhaidarkaniteNa0.34Cu4Al3(OH)14F3 · 2H2O
3.DA.50BobkingiteCu5Cl2(OH)8 · 2H2O
3.DA.55AvdoniniteK2Cu5(OH)4Cl8 · H2O
3.DA.60DroninoiteNi6Fe32+(OH)16Cl2 · 4H2O
8.2.1NantokiteCuCl
8.2.2TolbachiteCuCl2
8.2.3EriochalciteCuCl2 · 2H2O
8.2.5ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
8.2.6BotallackiteCu2(OH)3Cl
8.2.7MelanothalliteCu2Cl2O
8.2.8CalumetiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 2H2O
8.2.9AnthonyiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 3H2O
8.2.10ClaringbulliteCu4ClF(OH)6
8.2.11MarshiteCuI
8.2.12MitscherlichiteK2CuCl4 · 2H2O
8.2.13PonomareviteK4Cu4Cl10O

Other Names for Atacamite

Other Information

Other Information:
Readily soluble in acids.
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:
Ore of copper.

References for Atacamite

Reference List:
Rochefoucauld, Baumé, and Fourcroy (1786)[published 1788] Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France, Paris.

Berthollet (1788) Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France, Paris.

Karsten, D.L.G. (1800) Mineralogische Tabellen, Berlin. First edition: 46, 76 (as Kupfersand and Salzsaures Kupfer).

Haüy, R.J. (1801) Traité de minéralogie. First edition: in 4 volumes with atlas in fol.; also (1801), Paris: 3: 561 (as Cuivre muriaté).

Ludwig, C.F. (1803-1804) Handbuch der Mineralogie nach A.G. Werner. 2 volumes, Leipzig: 2: 178 (as Kupferhornerz, Atacamit).

Blumenbach (1805) Handbuch Nat. (as Atacamit, Salzkupfererz)

Hausmann, J.F.L. (1813) Handbuch der Mineralogie 3 volumes, Göttingen: 1039 (as Smaragdochalcit).

Glocker, E.F. (1831) Handbuch der Mineralogie, Nürnberg (as Chlorochalcit).

Lévy, A. (1838) Description d’une collection de minéraux formée par M. Henri Heuland, et appartenant à M. Ch. H. Turner, de Rooksnest, dans le comté de Surrey en Angleterre. 3 volumes and atlas of 85 plates, London: 3: 47.

Mohs, F. (1839) Anfangsgründe der Naturgeschichte des Mineralreichs. Part 1, introductory (1836); part 2 by F.X.M. Zippe (1839): 2: 177.

Breithaupt, A. (1841) Vollständige Handbuch der Mineralogie, Vol. 2: 165.

Brooke, H.J. and Miller, W.H. (1852) Introduction to Mineralogy by Wm. Phillips, London, 1823. New edition by Brooke and Miller. 8vo, London (as Remolinite).

Shepard (1856) American Journal of Science: 21: 206.

Dana (1857) American Journal of Science: 24: 122.

Tschermak (1873) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 38.

Dana, E.S. (1892) System of Mineralogy, 6th. Edition, New York: 172.

Dupont and Jansen (1893) Bull. soc. chim. Paris: 9: 193.

Smith (1898) Mineralogical Magazine: 12: 22.

Mawson (1906) Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia: 30: 67.

Keller (1908) Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society: 47: 79.

Ford (1910) American Journal of Science: 30: 16.

Ungemach (1911) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 34: 148.

Goldschmidt, V. (1913) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 1: 117.

Hintze, Carl (1915) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [2B]: 2593.

Liffa and Tokody (1926) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 183.

Carobbi (1928) Acc. Napoli, Rend.: 34[3]: 78.

Buttgenbach (1929) Société géologique de Belgique, Publ. Congo Belge: 52: C65.

Thoreau and Verhulst (1938) Académie royale des sciences de Belgique, Brussels - Bulletin: 24: 716.

Brasseur and Toussant (1942) Bull. Soc. roy. Sc. Liége: 11: 555

Wells (1949) Acta Crystallographica: 2: 175.

Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II: Halides, Nitrates, Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Tungstates, Molybdates, Etc. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 69-73.

Larsen, A. L. and Tripp, R. B. (1972): New X-ray data on natural atacamite. U.S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Paper 800B, 119-120.

Parise, J. B. and Hyde, B. G. (1986): The structure of atacamite and its relationship to spinel. Acta Crystallographica C42, 1277-1280.

Pollard, A.M., Thomas, R.G., and Williams, P.A. (1989): Synthesis and stabilities of the basic copper(II) chlorides atacamite, paratacamite and botallackite. Mineralogical Magazine 53, 557-563.

Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (1997) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume III. Halides, Hydroxides, Oxides. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 628pp.: 29.

Internet Links for Atacamite

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

Localities for Atacamite

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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