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The Mineralogy of Copper

General Properties
Atomic Number:29
Standard atomic weight (Ar):63.546(3)
Electron configuration:[Ar] 3d10 4s1
Natural copper nugget
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.9
Atomic Radius:145 pm
Ionic Radius:77 pm (+1)
Van der Waals Radius:140 pm
1st Ionization energy:746 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-118 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:1,2,3,4
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:1358 K
Boiling Point:3200 K
Density:8.92 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:transition metal
Main isotopes of Copper
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
Main ions of Copper
NameIonExample minerals
copper(I)Cu+Cuprite, Chalcocite
copper(II)Cu2+Malachite, Azurite, Tenorite
Other Information
Year Discovered:9000 BC
Named For:
Cyprus, principal mining place in Roman era (Cyprium)
CPK color coding:#C88033
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Sulfidescopper (I) sulphideCu2S+1Chalcocite
copper (II) sulphideCuS+2Covellite
Selenidescopper (I) selenideCu2Se+1Berzelianite, Bellidoite
copper (II) selenideCuSe+2Klockmannite
copper (II) diselenideCuSe2+2Krut'aite
Telluridescopper (II) tellurideCuTe+2Vulcanite
copper (I) tellurideCu2Te+1Weissite
Hydroxidescopper (II) hydroxideCu(OH)2+2Spertiniite
Fluoridescopper (I) fluorideCuF+1
copper (II) fluorideCuF2+2
Chloridescopper (I) chlorideCuCl+1Nantokite
copper (II) chlorideCuCl2+2Tolbachite
copper (II) chloride dihydrateCuCl2 · 2H2O+2Eriochalcite
Bromidescopper (II) bromideCuBr2+2
Iodidescopper (I) iodideCuI+1Marshite
Oxidescopper (I) oxideCu2O+1Cuprite
copper (II) oxideCuO+2Tenorite
Carbonatesdicopper carbonate dihydroxideCu2(OH)2CO3+2Malachite
tricopper dicarbonate dihydroxideCu3(CO3)2(OH)2+2Azurite
Nitratescopper (I) nitrateCuNO3+1
copper (II) nitrateCu(NO3)2+2
Sulfatescopper (II) sulfateCuSO4+2Chalcocyanite
copper (II) sulfate trihydrateCuSO4 · 3H2O+2Bonattite
copper (II) sulfate pentahydrateCuSO4 · 5H2O+2Chalcanthite
copper (II) sulfate heptahydrateCuSO4 · 7H2O+2Boothite
Copper as a chromophore in minerals and gems
Cu+Red colour in cuprite
Cu2+Produces blue and green colour in azurite, malachite, etc.
Mineral Diversity of Copper
1. Elements 18 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 206 valid mineral species
3. Halides33 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 44 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 19 valid mineral species
6. Borates5 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 82 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates122 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 25 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds5 valid mineral species
Total:559 valid species containing essential Copper
Geochemistry of Copper
Goldschmidt classification:Chalcophile
Cu2+ was one of the ions least depleted from the mantle in the formation of the crust.
Cu2+ is concentrated in deep-sea ferromanganese nodules relative to seawater.
Cu2+ solute can be a limiting nutrient in the growth of bacteria.
Cu2+ solute is a micronutrient on land.
Cu2+ is essential to nutrition of at least some vertebrates ('essential minerals').
Elemental Abundance for Copper
Crust (CRC Handbook)6.0 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)5.8 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)6.8 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)7.5 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)4.7 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.5 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)1.4 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)2.5 x 10-10mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)2.3 x 10-8mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)4.5 x 10-4atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)5.2 x 10-4atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)5.22 x 10-4 (11%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Copper in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Copper 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 Copper and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Copper% of Cu mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen422 minerals with Cu and O62.52%18.25% lower
Hydrogen331 minerals with Cu and H49.04%8.96% lower
Sulfur282 minerals with Cu and S41.78%113.53% higher
Arsenic151 minerals with Cu and As22.37%96.09% higher
Lead124 minerals with Cu and Pb18.37%91.61% higher
Iron119 minerals with Cu and Fe17.63%22.86% lower
Chlorine89 minerals with Cu and Cl13.19%74.78% higher
Zinc72 minerals with Cu and Zn10.67%99.33% higher
Bismuth62 minerals with Cu and Bi9.19%124.70% higher
Calcium56 minerals with Cu and Ca8.30%66.33% lower
Selenium55 minerals with Cu and Se8.15%248.04% higher
Antimony53 minerals with Cu and Sb7.85%60.07% higher
Silver52 minerals with Cu and Ag7.70%131.63% higher
Aluminium51 minerals with Cu and Al7.56%62.00% lower
Tellurium45 minerals with Cu and Te6.67%118.78% higher
Potassium44 minerals with Cu and K6.52%32.79% lower
Sodium39 minerals with Cu and Na5.78%69.51% lower
Phosphorus38 minerals with Cu and P5.63%49.08% lower
Silicon38 minerals with Cu and Si5.63%79.75% lower
Carbon34 minerals with Cu and C5.04%32.06% lower
Vanadium31 minerals with Cu and V4.59%10.84% higher
Tin26 minerals with Cu and Sn3.85%109.40% higher
Nickel23 minerals with Cu and Ni3.41%4.79% higher
Magnesium20 minerals with Cu and Mg2.96%78.51% lower
Uranium17 minerals with Cu and U2.52%47.46% lower
Mercury16 minerals with Cu and Hg2.37%37.18% higher
Thallium16 minerals with Cu and Tl2.37%109.14% higher
Platinum15 minerals with Cu and Pt2.22%160.00% higher
Molybdenum13 minerals with Cu and Mo1.93%67.18% higher
Palladium12 minerals with Cu and Pd1.78%32.89% higher
Cadmium11 minerals with Cu and Cd1.63%224.84% higher
Nitrogen10 minerals with Cu and N1.48%22.59% lower
Germanium10 minerals with Cu and Ge1.48%174.94% higher
Cobalt9 minerals with Cu and Co1.33%5.58% lower
Manganese8 minerals with Cu and Mn1.19%89.76% lower
Chromium8 minerals with Cu and Cr1.19%28.33% lower
Fluorine7 minerals with Cu and F1.04%87.57% lower
Iridium7 minerals with Cu and Ir1.04%123.25% higher
Gold7 minerals with Cu and Au1.04%86.04% higher
Barium6 minerals with Cu and Ba0.89%80.86% lower
Iodine5 minerals with Cu and I0.74%59.47% higher
Rhodium5 minerals with Cu and Rh0.74%109.82% higher
Neodymium5 minerals with Cu and Nd0.74%23.33% lower
Boron5 minerals with Cu and B0.74%85.45% lower
Tungsten4 minerals with Cu and W0.59%22.21% lower
Indium4 minerals with Cu and In0.59%127.81% higher
Yttrium4 minerals with Cu and Y0.59%77.38% lower
Cerium4 minerals with Cu and Ce0.59%82.08% lower
Lanthanum3 minerals with Cu and La0.44%74.00% lower
Strontium3 minerals with Cu and Sr0.44%84.26% lower
Titanium2 minerals with Cu and Ti0.30%95.71% lower
Gallium2 minerals with Cu and Ga0.30%127.81% higher
Bromine2 minerals with Cu and Br0.30%6.20% lower
Lithium2 minerals with Cu and Li0.30%86.82% lower
Samarium1 mineral with Cu and Sm0.15%32.89% higher
Gadolinium1 mineral with Cu and Gd0.15%32.89% higher
Caesium1 mineral with Cu and Cs0.15%66.78% lower
Rhenium1 mineral with Cu and Re0.15%298.67% higher
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 Cu Relative Frequency
Nickel << Copper >> Zinc

Most widespread minerals containing Copper
This list of minerals containing Copper 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 Copper mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2OOrthorhombic3324

Localities with greatest number of different Copper mineral species
map should go here
1Clara Mine, Rankach valley, Oberwolfach, Wolfach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany101 Cu minerals
2Tsumeb Mine (Tsumcorp Mine), Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region (Oshikoto), Namibia89 Cu minerals
3Bisbee, Warren District, Mule Mts, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA78 Cu minerals
4Cap Garonne Mine, Le Pradet, Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France63 Cu minerals
5Centennial Eureka Mine (Blue Rock), Eureka, Tintic District, East Tintic Mts, Juab Co., Utah, USA49 Cu minerals
6Hilarion Mine (Hilarion adit; Hilarion Mine No. 50), Hilarion area, Kamariza Mines (Kamareza Mines), Agios Konstantinos [St Constantine] (Kamariza), Lavrion District Mines, Lavrion District (Laurion; Laurium), Attikí Prefecture (Attica; Attika), Greece48 Cu minerals
7Chuquicamata Mine, Chuquicamata District, Calama, El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile48 Cu minerals
8Silberbrünnle Mine, Haigerach valley, Gengenbach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany46 Cu minerals

Important ores of Copper
NameFormulaCrystal System

Minor ores of Copper
NameFormulaCrystal System
Significant Deposits
map should go here

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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