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Aurichalcite

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Rohdenhaus Quarry (incl. Krieger Quarry), Rohdenhaus, Wülfrath, Niederberg area, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
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Formula:
(Zn,Cu)
 
5
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
6
Zn:Cu ratio is about 5:2, but may approach 2:1.
System:MonoclinicColour:Pale green, sky blue, or ...
Lustre:Silky, PearlyHardness:1 - 2
Name:A sage noted that the Aurichalcum (latinicized version of the Greek ορείχαλκος - "mountain copper" ) of the ancients was "cuivre de Corinthe", yellow copper or brass; in 1839, Th. Böttger named the mineral accordingly, in allusion to its copper and zinc content, the constituents of brass.


A secondary mineral in copper and zinc deposits, aurichalcite is typically found as blue or green crusts or mats of tiny acicular crystals, often as feathery, tufted, druzes; more rarely it is found as columnar crystal aggregates, or crusts of either lamellar aggregates or as granular aggregates.

Classification of Aurichalcite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:5/C.01-110
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:5.BA.15

5 : CARBONATES (NITRATES)
B : Carbonates with additional anions, without H2O
A : With Cu, Co, Ni, Zn, Mg, Mn
Dana 7th edition ID:16.4.2.1
Dana 8th edition ID:16a.4.2.1

16a : ANHYDROUS CARBONATES CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
4 : (AB)5(XO3)2Zq
Hey's CIM Ref.:11.6.5

11 : Carbonates
6 : Carbonates of Zn and Cd
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Type Occurrence of Aurichalcite

Type Locality:Loktevskoye Mine (Loktevskii Mine), Upper Loktevka River, Rudnyi Altai, Altaiskii Krai, Western-Siberian Region, Russia
Year of Discovery:1839

Occurrences of Aurichalcite

Geological Setting:A secondary mineral in oxidized copper and zinc ore deposits, typically as crusts.

Physical Properties of Aurichalcite

Lustre:Silky, Pearly
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent
Colour:Pale green, sky blue, or greenish blue; colourless to light shades of blue or green in transmitted light
Streak:Light blue
Hardness (Mohs):1 - 2
Hardness Data:Measured
Tenacity:Fragile
Cleavage:Perfect
Perfect on {010} and {100}.
Parting:None
Fracture:Irregular/Uneven
Density (measured):3.96 g/cm3
Density (calculated):3.93 g/cm3

Crystallography of Aurichalcite

Crystal System:Monoclinic
Class (H-M):2/m - Prismatic
Space Group:P21/m
Cell Parameters:a = 13.82Å, b = 6.419Å, c = 5.29Å
β = 101.04°
Ratio:a:b:c = 2.153 : 1 : 0.824
Unit Cell Volume:V 460.59 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:2
Morphology:Prismatic crystals elongated on [100], striated in {100} parallel to (001), (010), producing a fine grid-like appearance corresponding to cleavage planes or twinning directions. Delicate acicular or lath-like crystals; tufted, feathery, or plumose incrustations; columnar structure rare, granular.
Twinning:Observed in X-ray studies.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

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
6.78 (100)
3.68 (70)
3.25 (30)
2.89 (40)
2.81 (30)
2.72 (40)
2.61 (80)
1.656 (40)

Optical Data of Aurichalcite

Type:Biaxial (-)
RI values: nα = 1.655 nβ = 1.740 nγ = 1.744
2V:Measured: 1° to 4°, Calculated: 22°
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.089

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:High
Dispersion:relatively strong r < v
Pleochroism:Weak
Comments:X = Colourless
Y = Blue-green
Z = Blue-green

Chemical Properties of Aurichalcite

Formula:
(Zn,Cu)
 
5
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
6


Zn:Cu ratio is about 5:2, but may approach 2:1.
Simplified for copy/paste:(Zn,Cu)5(CO3)2(OH)6
Essential elements:C, H, O, Zn
All elements listed in formula:C, Cu, H, O, Zn
Common Impurities:Ca

Relationship of Aurichalcite to other Species

Common Associates:
SmithsoniteRosasiteMalachiteLimoniteHydrozincite
HemimorphiteCupriteAzurite
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
5.BA.05Azurite
Cu
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Georgeite
Cu
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
· 6H
 
2
O
5.BA.10Glaukosphaerite
(Cu,Ni)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Kolwezite
(Cu,Co)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Malachite
Cu
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Mcguinnessite
(Mg,Cu)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Nullaginite
Ni
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Pokrovskite
Mg
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Rosasite
(Cu,Zn)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Zincrosasite
(Zn,Cu)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.10Chukanovite
Fe
2+
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
5.BA.15Hydrozincite
Zn
 
5
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
6
5.BA.20Holdawayite
Mn
 
6
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
7
(Cl,OH)
5.BA.25Defernite
Ca
 
6
(CO
 
3
)
 
2-x
(SiO
 
4
)
 
x
(OH)
 
7
(Cl,OH)
 
1-2x
(x<0.5)
5.BA.25UM1977-03-COSiO:CaClH
Ca
 
10
(SiO
 
4
)(CO
 
3
)
 
7
(Cl,OH)
 
2
5.BA.30Loseyite
(Mn
2+
 
,Zn,Mg)
 
4
Zn
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
10
5.BA.30Sclarite
(Zn,Mg,Mn
2+
 
)
 
4
Zn
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
10
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
11.6.1Smithsonite
ZnCO
 
3
11.6.2Hydrozincite
Zn
 
5
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
6
11.6.3Rosasite
(Cu,Zn)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
11.6.4Zincrosasite
(Zn,Cu)
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
11.6.6Claraite
(Cu,Zn)
 
3
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
4
· 4H
 
2
O
11.6.7Minrecordite
CaZn(CO
 
3
)
 
2
11.6.8Loseyite
(Mn
2+
 
,Zn,Mg)
 
4
Zn
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
10
11.6.9Sclarite
(Zn,Mg,Mn
2+
 
)
 
4
Zn
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
2
(OH)
 
10
11.6.10Otavite
CdCO
 
3

Other Names for Aurichalcite

Synonyms:
AuricalciteAuricalcocitaAurichalcitaBlue CalamineBuratite
MessingiteOrichalciteRisséite
Other Languages:
Basque:Aurikaltzita
Catalan:Auricalcita
Dutch:Aurichalciet
French:Calamine verdâtre
Mine de Laiton
Mine de Laiton de Pise en Toscane
German:Aurichalcit
Buratit
Kupferzincblüthe
Messingblüthe
Messingit
Orichalcit
Risseit
Japanese:水亜鉛銅鉱
Russian:Аурихальцит
Simplified Chinese:绿铜锌矿
Slovak:Aurichalcit
Spanish:Auricalcita
Buratita
Messingita
Orichalcita
Risseita
Swedish:Aurikalcit
Ukrainian:Аурихальцит

Other Information

Fluorescence in UV light:None
Other Information:Soluble in acids and in ammonia.
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:A very minor ore of zinc and copper.

References for Aurichalcite

Reference List:

- +
Patrin (1788) Le Journal de physique et le radium, Paris: 33: 81 (as Calamine verdâtre).

Sage (1791) Le Journal de physique et le radium, Paris: 38: 155 (as Mine de Laiton de Pise en Toscane).

Böttger (1839) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 48: 495 (as Aurichalcit).

Delesse (1846) Annales de chimie et de physique, Paris: 18: 478 (as Buratite).

Glocker, E.F. (1847) Generum et specierum mineralien secundum ordines naturals digestorum synopsis. Halle: 230 (as Orichalcit).

Risse (1865) Verein der Rheinlande Corr.-Bl.: 22: 95 (as Messingblüthe).

Adam, M. (1869) Tableau minéralogique, Paris: 26 (as Messingite).

Belar (1889) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 17: 113.

Penfield (1891) American Journal of Science: 41: 106.

Collins (1892) Mineralogical Magazine: 10: 15.

Cesàro (1897) Mém. Soc. roy. sc. Belg.: 53: 1.

D'Achiardi (1897) Att. Soc. tosc.: 16: 3.

Heddle, M.F. (1901) The Mineralogy of Scotland. 2 volumes, Edinburgh: 1: 146.

Navarro (1908) Bol. Soc. espan. Hist. nat.: 117.

Lecroix (1909): 739.

Navarro (1911) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 49: 297.

Kato (1913) Journal of the Geological Society of Tokyo: 20: 9.

Ledoux (1917) Journal of the Washington Academy of Science: 7: 361.

Larsen, E.S. (1921) The Microscopic Determination of the Nonopaque Minerals, First edition, USGS Bulletin 679: 43.

Buttenbach (1924) Mém. Soc. roy. Sc. Liége [3]: 12: 3.

Pilipenko (1925) Min. Abs.: 2: 109.

Hintze, Carl (1929) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [3A]: 3398.

Lauro (1938) Periodico de Mineralogia-Roma: 9: 105.

Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (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: 249-250.

Jambor, J. L. and Pouliot, G. (1965): X-ray crystallography of aurichalcite and hydrozincite. Can. Mineral. 8, 385-389.

Canadian Mineralogist (1970): 8: 385-389.

Harding, M.M., B.M. Kariuki, R. Cernik, and G. Cressey (1994) The structure of aurichalcite, (Cu,Zn)5(OH)6(CO3)2, determined from a microcrystal. Acta Crystallographica B - Structural Science 50: 673-676.

American Mineralogist (1995): 80: 1076.

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig (1997), Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 494.

Gorniy Zhournal: 8: 266-271.

Acta Crystallographica: B50: 673-676.

Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (2003) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume V. Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 813pp.: 39.

Giester, G. & Rieck, B. (2014): Crystal structure refinement of aurichalcite, (Cu,Zn)5(CO3)2(OH)6, from the Lavrion Mining District, Greece. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Abhandlungen 191, 225-232.

Internet Links for Aurichalcite

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  • Look for Aurichalcite on Wikipedia
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  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Aurichalcite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
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    Localities for Aurichalcite

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