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Identity HelpIs this azurite or copper rich cliche?

21st Mar 2020 02:37 GMTJenny Tibbetts

02660160015847577782736.jpg
This is obviously a copper mineral and I do in fact live right next to one of the largest copper mines in North America. To me this looks like azurite, (which is found in the area in abundance) BUT I don't think azurite is so crumbly and friable like this rock is.  I could be wrong, but I haven't found any others like this in my collection. Most of my azurite and chrysocolla is more firm and not so crumbly. So I wondered if it could be some type of copper rich cliche that built up in the soil and on the rock or something???

This rock came from the Oquirrh Mountains in Tooele County Utah. Some of the green chips off the front of the rock if I'm not careful while I'm handling it. The rock has a crystallized surface on one side of it, but has a white moon crater surface on the top.




21st Mar 2020 02:40 GMTJenny Tibbetts

00399140015847583785363.jpg
Side of the rock

21st Mar 2020 02:40 GMTJenny Tibbetts

06917590015847583341196.jpg
Bottom of the rock

21st Mar 2020 03:01 GMTKevin Conroy Manager

Hi Jenny, you can narrow down the possibilities by going to the exact location page within Oquirrh Mountains and then checking the minerals found there.  If you click on a camera icon next to a mineral name you'll see examples.

22nd Mar 2020 03:05 GMTJenny Tibbetts

Kevin,
I've already searched the mindat local databases numerous times.
This is obviously a copper mineral and I do in fact live right next to one of the largest copper mines in North America. To me this looks like azurite, (which is found in the area in abundance) BUT I don't think azurite is so crumbly and friable like this rock is. I could be wrong, but I haven't found any others like this in my collection. Most of my azurite and chrysocolla is more firm and not so crumbly. So I wondered if it could be some type of copper rich cliche that built up on the rock or something???


22nd Mar 2020 03:35 GMTKeith Compton Manager

Jenny

Your photo is not clear enough to really see whether this something pre or post mining or whether there is any crystallization of the blue material.

A lot can happen to dump minerals. Lots of copper gets leached into the environment - may even be a copper "coloured clay" on the rock.

If natural then it certainly looks a lot like chrysocolla.

22nd Mar 2020 03:50 GMTJenny Tibbetts

I'll try to take a better picture sometime tomorrow. I can tell you that their is no
crystallization in the green, paste like covering of the rock. It chips off like pieces of dried play dough. A lot of the area where this was found contain processed ores, along with untouched ores.  I've been looking at more rough chrysocolla ores online and found a few that look a bit more like this one. So I'm leaning more towards this being chrysocolla now. 




22nd Mar 2020 16:48 GMTGregg Little

Jenny; Just a minor point of clarification.  I think where you write cliche, you actually mean caliche.  This would seem logical given the environment.  

This is part of the general definition in geology.com,
"...a common feature of arid or semiarid areas throughout the world. In the United States, caliche is a familiar deposit in many parts of the Southwest, especially in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas." 

and from Wikipedia, "
"... a sedimentary rock, a hardened natural cement of calcium carbonate that binds other materials—such as gravel, sand, clay, and silt. It occurs worldwide, in aridisol and mollisol soil orders—generally in arid or semiarid regions ..."

It might be hard to attribute it to any specific mineral that acts as the binding agent without more sophisticated analysis.

22nd Mar 2020 22:14 GMTFrank K. Mazdab Manager

Gregg Little  ✉️

Just a minor point of clarification.  I think where you write cliche, you actually mean caliche.  This would seem logical given the environment.
 Isn't assuming that every blue mineral might be azurite already a bit caliche?  oops... I meant cliché... LOL... ;-)

24th Mar 2020 14:51 GMTGregg Little

frankly, ......Frank you're right, after all, just because it is blue you can't take it for granite that its azurite.  Anyways thanks for the gneiss tongue in cheek repartee.

22nd Mar 2020 20:20 GMTKevin Conroy Manager

Jenny, since you listed Oquirrh Mountains as the location I thought that you wanted to keep the exact spot of your find confidential.   Knowing an exact mine could help determine what you have.   Sometimes even when you go to the photos for the mine it's difficult to find an exact match to what you have, so I understand the trouble that you're having.

Chrysocolla is a possibility for the blue/green mineral.   If you have a piece that is large and sturdy enough please try to do a hardness test.   If the hardness is around 4 you may have smithsonite.

Also, looking closely at the specimen, there may be more than one blue/green mineral.   Some of it looks a lot greener than the rest so it may be malachite.   Rosasite may also be present.

23rd Mar 2020 01:44 GMTJenny Tibbetts

Thanks for all the comments, it's really helping me to narrow down the possibilities. 

25th Mar 2020 23:05 GMTBen Grguric Expert

Kevin, she mentioned several times that the blue mineral is crumbly and fragile. Hardness testing is great for minerals with a compact, crystalline habit, but it doesn't really work on fine-grained, pulverent material. 
Jenny as a first pass you need to separate a small amount (even a few crumbs) of the blue material and put it on a glass or porcelain surface, being very careful that the blue stuff is as pure as you can get it without any contamination from the matrix caliche. Then add a drop of dilute acid, or if you don't have this, a drop of vinegar. Observe carefully using a strong magnifier.
Azurite should yield some bubbles while chrysocolla won't. Any contamination with calcite or caliche will give you bubbles, hence the need to get a pure sample.
 
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