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stannite or tetrahedrite?

Posted by Reiner Mielke  
Reiner Mielke April 27, 2012 12:45AM
This specimen is from Bolivia, can anyone tell me which one it is based on these photos? Associated minerals are quartz,pyrite, wavellite? and orpiment?
open | download - Stannite.jpg (151.8 KB)
open | download - Stannite2.jpg (156 KB)
open | download - Stannite3.jpg (285.5 KB)
Frank Keutsch April 27, 2012 04:02AM
Do you have locality information?

Orpiment is quite rare in Bolivia. The piece could be from Siglo XX. To me it looks more like stannite, but hard to tell...
Alfredo Petrov April 27, 2012 12:01PM
Several years (12?) ago, there was a one-time find of a big pocket of stannite crystal crusts with white wavellite balls in the Cerro Rico, Potosi. These usually had some arsenopyrite with them too. Do you see any arsenopyrite on yours, Reiner?

As Frank said, orpiment would be very unusual for Bolivia. I can't recall ever seeing any at all.
Frank Keutsch April 27, 2012 01:46PM
Reiner, can you show a photograph of the whole specimen as it might be easier to say something about the locality...

Maggie Wilson April 29, 2012 05:13PM
Taking a break from weeding the gardens...

The stannite specimen is from the San Jose Mine, Oruro, Bolivia - here are several shots that show the matrix.

open | download - Stannite_001.JPG (372.7 KB)
open | download - Stannite_005.JPG (391.9 KB)
open | download - Stannite_008.JPG (311.5 KB)
Reiner Mielke April 30, 2012 12:15AM
There is no arsenopyrite on the specimen. Attached is a photo of a small ( 0.5mm) striated crystal sticking out of a stannite xl that is covered in what I thought was orpiment, could be something else. All I know is that it is not a carbonate and is soft. Don't know what the crystal is that it is coating, any thoughts on that?
open | download - Orpiment on unknown.jpg (249 KB)
Alfredo Petrov April 30, 2012 12:21AM
Yes, looking at the whole specimen, it does indeed look like San Jose stannite. The white material is probably alunite or natroalunite rather than wavellite. The small striated crystal sticking out of the stannite is probably andorite. Need a closer photo of the orange crust.
Reiner Mielke April 30, 2012 02:01AM
Thank you Alfredo.
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