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Atacamite

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Formula:
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
System:OrthorhombicColour:Bright green, dark ...
Lustre:Adamantine, VitreousHardness:3 - 3½
Member of:Atacamite Group
Name:Named in 1802 by Demitri de Gallitzen after the type locality, in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
Polymorph of:Anatacamite, Botallackite, Clinoatacamite


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

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:3/D.01-30
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:3.DA.10a

3 : HALIDES
D : Oxyhalides, hydroxyhalides and related double halides
A : With Cu, etc., without Pb
Dana 7th edition ID:10.1.1.1
Dana 8th edition ID:10.1.1.1

10 : OXYHALIDES AND HYDROXYHALIDES
1 : A2(O,OH)3Xq
Hey's CIM Ref.: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

Type Locality:Atacama Region, Chile
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

Lustre: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 (measured):3.745 - 3.776 g/cm3
Density (calculated):3.756 g/cm3

Crystallography of Atacamite

Crystal System:Orthorhombic
Class (H-M):mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) - Dipyramidal
Space Group:Pnma {P21/n 21/m 21/a}
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.
Crystal Atlas:
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Atacamite no.4 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Atacamite no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Atacamite no.25 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)

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 Atacamite

Epitaxial Minerals:
Anatacamite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
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.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
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°
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.049

Chart 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:
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
Simplified for copy/paste:Cu2(OH)3Cl
Essential elements:Cl, Cu, H, O
All elements listed in formula:Cl, Cu, H, O
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:Atacamite Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Anatacamite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
Botallackite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
Clinoatacamite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
Gillardite
Cu
 
3
Ni(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
Haydeeite
Cu
 
3
Mg(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
Herbertsmithite
Cu
 
3
Zn(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
Kapellasite
Cu
 
3
Zn(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
Leverettite
Cu
 
3
CoCl
 
2
(OH)
 
6
Paratacamite
Cu
 
3
(Cu,Zn)(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
Paratacamite-(Mg)
Cu
 
3
(Mg,Cu)Cl
 
2
(OH)
 
6
Paratacamite-(Ni)
Cu
 
3
(Ni,Cu)Cl
 
2
(OH)
 
6
Common Associates:
MalachiteLimoniteGypsumCupriteChrysocolla
Brochantite
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
3.DA.05Melanothallite
Cu
 
2
Cl
 
2
O
3.DA.10bBotallackite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
3.DA.10bClinoatacamite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
3.DA.10aHibbingite
Fe
2+
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
3.DA.10aKempite
Mn
2+
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
3.DA.10cParatacamite
Cu
 
3
(Cu,Zn)(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
3.DA.10bBelloite
Cu(OH)Cl
3.DA.10cHerbertsmithite
Cu
 
3
Zn(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
3.DA.10cKapellasite
Cu
 
3
Zn(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
3.DA.10cGillardite
Cu
 
3
Ni(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
3.DA.10cHaydeeite
Cu
 
3
Mg(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
3.DA.10dAnatacamite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
3.DA.15Claringbullite
Cu
 
4
(OH)
 
7
Cl · nH
 
2
O
3.DA.15Barlowite
Cu
 
4
BrF(OH)
 
6
3.DA.20Simonkolleite
Zn
 
5
Cl
 
2
(OH)
 
8
· H
 
2
O
3.DA.25Buttgenbachite
Cu
 
19
(NO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
32
Cl
 
4
· 2H
 
2
O
3.DA.25Connellite
Cu
 
19
(SO
 
4
)(OH)
 
32
Cl
 
4
· 3H
 
2
O
3.DA.30Abhurite
Sn
 
21
Cl
 
16
(OH)
 
14
O
 
6
3.DA.35Ponomarevite
K
 
4
Cu
 
4
Cl
 
10
O
3.DA.40Anthonyite
Cu(OH,Cl)
 
2
· 3H
 
2
O
3.DA.40Calumetite
Cu(OH,Cl)
 
2
· 2H
 
2
O
3.DA.45Khaidarkanite
Na
 
0.34
Cu
 
4
Al
 
3
(OH)
 
14
F
 
3
· 2H
 
2
O
3.DA.50Bobkingite
Cu
 
5
Cl
 
2
(OH)
 
8
· 2H
 
2
O
3.DA.55Avdoninite
K
 
2
Cu
 
5
(OH)
 
4
Cl
 
8
· H
 
2
O
3.DA.60Droninoite
Ni
 
6
Fe
2+
3
(OH)
 
16
Cl
 
2
· 4H
 
2
O
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
8.2.1Nantokite
CuCl
8.2.2Tolbachite
CuCl
 
2
8.2.3Eriochalcite
CuCl
 
2
· 2H
 
2
O
8.2.5Paratacamite
Cu
 
3
(Cu,Zn)(OH)
 
6
Cl
 
2
8.2.6Botallackite
Cu
 
2
(OH)
 
3
Cl
8.2.7Melanothallite
Cu
 
2
Cl
 
2
O
8.2.8Calumetite
Cu(OH,Cl)
 
2
· 2H
 
2
O
8.2.9Anthonyite
Cu(OH,Cl)
 
2
· 3H
 
2
O
8.2.10Claringbullite
Cu
 
4
(OH)
 
7
Cl · nH
 
2
O
8.2.11Marshite
CuI
8.2.12Mitscherlichite
K
 
2
CuCl
 
4
· 2H
 
2
O
8.2.13Ponomarevite
K
 
4
Cu
 
4
Cl
 
10
O

Other Names for Atacamite

Synonyms:
AlacamiteArsenilloAtakamiteHalochalciteMarcylite
Muriate of copperRemolinite
Other Languages:
French:Cuivre Muriaté
German:Alacamit
Atacamit
Atakamit
Chlorochalcit
Hal-Chalzit
Halochalcit
Halochalzit
Kupferhornerz
Kupfersand
Salzkupfererz
Salzsaures Kupfer
Smaragdochalcit (of Hausmann)
Russian:Атакамит
Simplified Chinese:氯铜矿
绿盐铜矿
Spanish:Alacamita
Atacamita
Atakamita
Halochalcita

Other Information

Other Information:Readily soluble in acids.
Health Warning: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.

Best Localities for Atacamite

Best of Species:Atacamite

Internet Links for Atacamite

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    Localities for Atacamite

    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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