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The Mineralogy of Cobalt

General Properties
Atomic Number:27
Standard atomic weight (Ar):58.933195(5)
Electron configuration:[Ar] 3d7 4s2
Cobalt chips and 1cm³ cube
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.88
Atomic Radius:152 pm
Ionic Radius:74.5 pm (+2*)
1st Ionization energy:760 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-64 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-1,1,2,3,4,5
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:1768 K
Boiling Point:3200 K
Density:8.9 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:transition metal
Main isotopes of Cobalt
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Main ions of Cobalt
NameIonExample minerals
Other Information
Year Discovered:1732
Discovered By:Georg Brandt
Named For:German: kobold - "goblin","evil spirit"
CPK color coding:#F090A0
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Sulfidescobalt sulfideCoS+2Jaipurite
cobalt persulfideCoS2+2Cattierite
dicobalt trisulfideCo2S3+3
tricobalt tetrasulfideCo3S4+2,+3Linnaeite
Selenidescobalt selenideCoSe+2Freboldite
cobalt perselenideCoSe2+2Trogtalite
tricobalt tetraselenideCo3Se4+2,+3Bornhardtite
Telluridescobalt tellurideCoTe+2
cobalt pertellurideCoTe2+2Mattagamite
Hydroxidescobalt (II) hydroxideCo(OH)2+2
cobalt oxide hydroxideCoOOH+3Heterogenite
Fluoridescobalt (II) fluorideCoF2+2
cobalt (III) fluorideCoF3+3
cobalt tetrafluorideCoF4+4
Chloridescobalt (II) chlorideCoCl2+2
cobalt (III) chlorideCoCl3+3
cobalt dichloride dihydrateCoCl2 · 2H2O+2
Bromidescobalt (II) bromideCoBr2+2
Iodidescobalt (II) iodideCoI2
Oxidescobalt oxideCoO+2
dicobalt trioxideCo2O3+3
tricobalt tetraoxideCo3O2,+3
Carbonatescobalt (II) carbonateCoCO3+2Spherocobaltite
Nitratescobalt (II) nitrateCo(NO3)2+2
cobalt (II) nitrate dihydrateCo(NO3)2 · 2H2O+2
cobalt (II) nitrate tetrahydrateCo(NO3)2 · 4H2O+2
cobalt (II) nitrate hexahydrateCo(NO3)2 · 6H2O+2
Sulfatescobalt (II) sulfateCoSO4+2
cobalt (II) sulfate monohydrateCoSO4 · H2O+2Cobaltkieserite
cobalt (II) sulfate tetrahydrateCoSO4 · 4H2OAplowite
cobalt (II) sulfate hexahydrateCoSO4 · 6H2OMoorhouseite
cobalt (II) sulfate heptahydrateCoSO4 · 7H2OBieberite
Cobalt as a chromophore in minerals and gems
Co2+Causes a raspberry red colour in minerals such as spherocobaltite and cobaltian calcite.
Co2+ in tetrahedral sitesCauses blue colour in some spinels from Baffin Island, Canada.
Mineral Diversity of Cobalt
1. Elements 1 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 24 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 5 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 3 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 8 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates16 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 1 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds1 valid mineral species
Total:59 valid species containing essential Cobalt
Geochemistry of Cobalt
Goldschmidt classification:Siderophile
Co2+ was one of the ions least depleted from the mantle in the formation of the crust.
Co3+ enters early-forming phases in igneous rocks.
Co2+ enters early-forming phases in igneous rocks.
Co3+ is concentrated in deep-sea ferromanganese nodules relative to seawater.
Co2+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
Co2+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Elemental Cobalt in Nature
Found as natural alloy with Fe:WairauiteCoFe
Elemental Abundance for Cobalt
Crust (CRC Handbook)2.5 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)2.8 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)2.9 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.9 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)2.54 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.0 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)1.2 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)2 x 10-11mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)3.9 x 10-10mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)2.3 x 10-3atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)2.3 x 10-3atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)2.25 x 10-3 (6.6%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Cobalt in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Cobalt and the other elements listed based on the official IMA formula. Note that unlike other sections on this page this includes non-essential elements.

The first data column contains the total number of minerals listed with Cobalt and the element listed for that row.

The second data column lists this number as a percentage of all minerals listed with Cobalt.

The final data column compares this percentage against the percentage of all minerals that contain the element listed in each row.

Click on a heading to sort.
ElementValid Minerals listed with element and Cobalt% of Co mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen127 minerals with Co and O58.80%27.26% lower
Hydrogen116 minerals with Co and H53.70%4.73% lower
Arsenic93 minerals with Co and As43.06%248.65% higher
Sulfur72 minerals with Co and S33.33%57.97% higher
Nickel56 minerals with Co and Ni25.93%732.25% higher
Iron45 minerals with Co and Fe20.83%5.82% lower
Copper25 minerals with Co and Cu11.57%12.58% lower
Selenium19 minerals with Co and Se8.80%270.61% higher
Calcium18 minerals with Co and Ca8.33%66.21% lower
Antimony16 minerals with Co and Sb7.41%49.06% higher
Bismuth13 minerals with Co and Bi6.02%39.90% higher
Carbon13 minerals with Co and C6.02%23.27% lower
Magnesium11 minerals with Co and Mg5.09%61.75% lower
Uranium9 minerals with Co and U4.17%20.60% lower
Sodium9 minerals with Co and Na4.17%78.43% lower
Chlorine8 minerals with Co and Cl3.70%50.44% lower
Lead6 minerals with Co and Pb2.78%73.06% lower
Manganese5 minerals with Co and Mn2.31%79.26% lower
Aluminium5 minerals with Co and Al2.31%88.59% lower
Zinc4 minerals with Co and Zn1.85%64.83% lower
Nitrogen3 minerals with Co and N1.39%36.52% lower
Chromium3 minerals with Co and Cr1.39%22.78% lower
Vanadium3 minerals with Co and V1.39%69.30% lower
Phosphorus3 minerals with Co and P1.39%88.26% lower
Silicon3 minerals with Co and Si1.39%95.13% lower
Tellurium3 minerals with Co and Te1.39%56.20% lower
Periodic Table
1H 2He
3Li 4Be 5B 6C 7N 8O 9F 10Ne
11Na 12Mg 13Al 14Si 15P 16S 17Cl 18Ar
19K 20Ca 21Sc 22Ti 23V 24Cr 25Mn 26Fe 27Co 28Ni 29Cu 30Zn 31Ga 32Ge 33As 34Se 35Br 36Kr
37Rb 38Sr 39Y 40Zr 41Nb 42Mo 43Tc 44Ru 45Rh 46Pd 47Ag 48Cd 49In 50Sn 51Sb 52Te 53I 54Xe
55Cs 56Ba 57La 72Hf 73Ta 74W 75Re 76Os 77Ir 78Pt 79Au 80Hg 81Tl 82Pb 83Bi 84Po 85At 86Rn
87Fr 88Ra 89Ac 104Rd 105Db 106Sg 107Bh 108Hs 109Mt 110Ds 111Rg 112Cn 113Nh 114Fl 115Mc 116Lv 117Ts 118Og
58Ce 59Pr 60Nd 61Pm 62Sm 63Eu 64Gd 65Tb 66Dy 67Ho 68Er 69Tm 70Yb 71Lu
90Th 91Pa 92U 93Np 94Pu 95Am 96Cm 97Bk 98Cf 99Es 100Fm 101Md 102No 103Lr
Default Categories CPK Electronegativity Atomic Radius Lowest Oxidation Highest Oxidation Crustal Abundance Goldschmidt Mineral Species Minerals with Co Relative Frequency
Iron << Cobalt >> Nickel

Most widespread minerals containing Cobalt
This list of minerals containing Cobalt is built from the locality database. This is based on the number of localities entered for mineral species and is therefore slanted towards minerals interesting to collectors with less coverage of common rock-forming-minerals so it does not give an undistorted distribution of Cobalt mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
ErythriteCo3(AsO4)2 · 8H2OMonoclinic804

Localities with greatest number of different Cobalt mineral species
map should go here
2Jáchymov (St Joachimsthal), Jáchymov District (St Joachimsthal), Krušné Hory Mts (Erzgebirge), Karlovy Vary Region, Bohemia (Böhmen; Boehmen), Czech Republic10 Co minerals
Ore dumps, Richelsdorf Smelter, Süß, Nentershausen, Richelsdorf District, Hesse, Germany10 Co minerals
4Anton Mine (St. Anton Mine), Heubach Valley, Wittichen, Schenkenzell, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany10 Co minerals
5Shinkolobwe Mine (Kasolo Mine), Shinkolobwe, Kambove District, Katanga (Shaba), Democratic Republic of the Congo10 Co minerals
Daniel Mine (St. Daniel Mine), Neustädtel, Schneeberg District, Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany9 Co minerals

Important ores of Cobalt
Most cobalt is not mined directly from cobalt ores but is a by-product of nickel and/or copper production.
NameFormulaCrystal System
ErythriteCo3(AsO4)2 · 8H2OMonoclinic

Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to Thank you.

Constants and physical property data from:

David R. Lide (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida (2005).
Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants (2005). Section 3.1.3, Abundances of the elements
A. Earnshaw, N. Greenwood, Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, (1997)
Thomas J. Ahrens (ed.), Global Earth Physics : A Handbook of Physical Constants, American Geophysical Union (1995)
L.B. Railsback, An Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions : Geology 31:9 p737-740 (2003)
Emsley, J. Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford University Press (2001)
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