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Chrysocolla

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Formula:
Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
(x < 1)
Colour:
Green, bluish green, blue, blackish blue to black, or brown and rarely yellow
Lustre:
Vitreous, Waxy, Earthy
Hardness:
2½ - 3½
Specific Gravity:
1.93 - 2.4
Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Name:
The name was first used by Theophrastus in 315 B.C. and comes from the Greek chrysos, meaning "gold," and kolla, meaning "glue," in allusion to the name of the material used to solder gold. André-Jean-François-Marie Brochant de Villiers revived the name in 1808.
A mineral of secondary origin, commonly associated with other secondary copper minerals, it is typically found as glassy botryoidal or rounded masses or bubbly crusts, and as jackstraw mats of tiny acicular crystals or tufts of fibrous crystals. Copper-bearing allophane can look similar.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Chrysocolla.


Classification of Chrysocolla

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
9.ED.20

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
E : Phyllosilicates
D : Phyllosilicates with kaolinite layers composed of tetrahedral and octahedral nets
Dana 7th ed.:
74.3.2.1
74.3.2.1

74 : PHYLLOSILICATES Modulated Layers
3 : Modulated Layers with joined strips
14.2.5

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
2 : Silicates of Cu

Physical Properties of Chrysocolla

Vitreous, Waxy, Earthy
Transparency:
Translucent, Opaque
Colour:
Green, bluish green, blue, blackish blue to black, or brown and rarely yellow
Streak:
Light green
Hardness:
2½ - 3½ on Mohs scale
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
None Observed
None
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
Density:
1.93 - 2.4 g/cm3 (Measured)    

Optical Data of Chrysocolla

Type:
Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.575 - 1.585 nβ = 1.597 nγ = 1.598 - 1.635
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.023 - 0.050
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Moderate

Chemical Properties of Chrysocolla

Formula:
Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O

(x < 1)
IMA Formula:
(Cu2-xAlx)H2-xSi2O5(OH)4 · nH2O

Crystallography of Chrysocolla

Crystal System:
Orthorhombic
Cell Parameters:
a = 5.7 Å, b = 8.9 Å, c = 6.7 Å
Ratio:
a:b:c = 0.64 : 1 : 0.753
Unit Cell V:
339.89 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Morphology:
Most often found as cryptocrystalline to amorphous botryoidal aggregates and crusts. Crystals reported as fine acicular to fibrous, very rare.
Twinning:
None reported.

X-Ray Powder Diffraction

Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
17.9 (80)
7.9 (60)
4.45 (20)
4.07 (60)
2.90 (80)
2.56 (70)
1.602 (40)
1.486 (100)
Comments:
Broad, low peaks. Weaker lines often diffuse. The pattern is fairly characteristic.

Synonyms of Chrysocolla

Other Language Names for Chrysocolla

Varieties of Chrysocolla

Aluminian Chrysocolla

An aluminian variety of Chrysocolla.

Aluminian Ferrian Chrysocolla

A aluminian ferrian variety of Chrysocolla.

Cornuite (of Rogers)

Described as "Amorphous equivalent of chrysocolla."

Cyanochalcite

Phosphorus rich

Common Associates

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Malachite793 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Malachite on mindat.org.
Quartz458 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Cuprite233 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Cuprite on mindat.org.
Azurite210 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Azurite on mindat.org.
Calcite131 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Calcite on mindat.org.
Dioptase125 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Dioptase on mindat.org.
Wulfenite100 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Wulfenite on mindat.org.
Tenorite95 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Tenorite on mindat.org.
Atacamite83 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Atacamite on mindat.org.
Copper81 photos of Chrysocolla associated with Copper on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping

9.ED.Clinochrysotile
9.ED.05DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.05KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.05NacriteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.05Odinite(Fe,Mg,Al,Fe,Ti,Mn)2.4((Si,Al)2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.10HalloysiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.10HisingeriteFe3+2(Si2O5)(OH)4 · 2H2O
9.ED.10Halloysite-7ÅAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15AmesiteMg2Al(AlSiO5)(OH)4
9.ED.15AntigoriteMg3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15Berthierine(Fe2+,Fe3+,Al)3(Si,Al)2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15Brindleyite(Ni,Al)3(Si,Al)2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15CaryopiliteMn2+3Si2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15ChrysotileMg3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15CronstedtiteFe2+2Fe3+((Si,Fe3+)2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15Fraipontite(Zn,Al)3((Si,Al)2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15Greenalite(Fe2+,Fe3+)2-3Si2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15KellyiteMn2+2Al(AlSiO5)(OH)4
9.ED.15LizarditeMg3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15ManandoniteLi2Al4(Si2AlB)O10(OH)8
9.ED.15Népouite(Ni,Mg)3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15PecoraiteNi3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15GuidottiiteMn2Fe3+(Fe3+SiO5)(OH)4
9.ED.20Allophane(Al2O3)(SiO2)1.3-2 · 2.5-3H2O
9.ED.20ImogoliteAl2SiO3(OH)4
9.ED.20Neotocite(Mn,Fe,Mg)SiO3 · H2O
9.ED.25BismutoferriteFe3+2Bi(SiO4)2(OH)
9.ED.25ChapmaniteFe3+2Sb3+(Si2O5)O3(OH)

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals Grouping

14.2.1DioptaseCuSiO3 · H2O
14.2.2ShattuckiteCu5(Si2O6)2(OH)2
14.2.3PlancheiteCu8(Si8O22)(OH)4 · H2O
14.2.4GilaliteCu5Si6O17 · 7H2O
14.2.6LitidioniteCuNaKSi4O10
14.2.7ReinhardbraunsiteCa5(SiO4)2(OH,F)2
14.2.8CuprorivaiteCaCuSi4O10
14.2.9KinoiteCa2Cu2(H2O)2[Si3O10]
14.2.10StringhamiteCaCu(SiO4) · H2O
14.2.11ApachiteCu9Si10O29 · 11H2O

Other Information

Health Risks:
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 copper.

References for Chrysocolla

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Sun, M.-S. (1963) The nature of chrysocolla from the Inspiration Mine, Arizona. American Mineralogist: 48: 649-658.
Chukhrov, F.V., Zvyagin, B.B., Gorshkov A.I., Ermilova, L.P., Rudnitskaya, E.S. (1968) Chrysocolla. Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Ser. Geol.: 6: 29{44 (in Russian).
Fleischer, M. (1969) New mineral names. American Mineralogist: 54: 993-994.
Van Oosterwyck-Gastuche, M.-C. (1970) La structure de la chrysocolle. Compt. Rendus Acad. Sci. Paris: 271: 1837-1840 (in French).
Gaines, R.V., Skinner, C.W.H., Foord, E.E., Mason, B. Rosenzweig, A. (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy: The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 1561.
Farges, F., Benzerara, K., Brown, Jr., G.E. (2006) Chrysocolla Redefined as Spertiniite, SLAC-PUB-12232, Contributed to 13th International Conference On X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS13), July 9-14, 2006, Stanford, California (www.slac.stanford.edu/cgi-wrap/getdoc/slac-pub-12232.pdf)
Frost, R.L., Xi, Y. ‎(2013) Is chrysocolla (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O related to spertiniite Cu(OH)2? -a vibrational spectroscopic study. (http://eprints.qut.edu.au/58692/11/58692.pdf)
Hariu, T., Arima, H., Sugiyama, K. (2013) The structure of hydrated copper-silicate gels, an analogue compound for natural chrysocolla. Journal of Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences: 108: 111-115 (https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jmps/108/2/108_121022c/_pdf)

Internet Links for Chrysocolla

mindat.org URL:
https://www.mindat.org/min-1040.html
Please feel free to link to this page.
Specimens:
The following Chrysocolla specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Chrysocolla

Mineral and/or Locality  
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