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Fe2+Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
Crystals: sulfur-yellow ...
Pearly, Earthy
2½ - 3
Member of:
Named in 1833 for the type locality, near Copiapó city, Chile.
Copiapite Group.

Typically found as greenish-yellow to olive-green scaly to fine-granular crusts.

Some 'copiapite' may in fact be ferricopiapite or other members of the copiapite group.

One of 3 purely ferrous-ferric sulfate minerals beside bílinite and römerite. Other sulfate minerals having both Fe(II) and Fe(III) in composition are metavoltine, pertlikite, and voltaite.

Classification of Copiapite

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)

7 : SULFATES (selenates, tellurates, chromates, molybdates, wolframates)
D : Sulfates (selenates, etc.) with additional anions, with H2O
B : With only medium-sized cations; insular octahedra and finite units
Dana 7th ed.:

10 : Miscellaneous

25 : Sulphates
10 : Sulphates of Fe alone

Physical Properties of Copiapite

Pearly, Earthy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent, Opaque
Pearly on {010}.
Crystals: sulfur-yellow to orange, massive material: greenish-yellow to olive-green.
Not reported
Hardness (Mohs):
2½ - 3
Hardness Data:
on {010}, perfect; on {_101}, imperfect.
Irregular/Uneven, Micaceous
2.08 - 2.17 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.118 g/cm3 (Calculated)
2.147 (Tierra Amarilla material); 2.154 (Chuquicamata material).

Optical Data of Copiapite

Biaxial (+)
RI values:
nα = 1.506 - 1.540 nβ = 1.528 - 1.549 nγ = 1.575 - 1.600
Measured: 45° to 74°, Calculated: 48° to 72°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.069
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:

Chemical Properties of Copiapite

Fe2+Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
Elements listed in formula:
Common Impurities:

Crystallography of Copiapite

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
1 - Pinacoidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 7.337 Å, b = 18.76 Å, c = 7.379 Å
α = 91.47°, β = 102.18°, γ = 98.95°
a:b:c = 0.391 : 1 : 0.393
Unit Cell Volume:
V 978.91 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Crystals rare, tabular {010}, sometimes highly modified. Commonly found as scaly aggregates or fine-granular encrustations.
Contact twinning with twin axis [101] and composition plane {010}, uncommon.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:

Occurrences of Copiapite

Type Occurrence of Copiapite

Relationship of Copiapite to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of Group:
AluminocopiapiteAl2/3Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
CalciocopiapiteCaFe4(SO4)6(OH)2 · 10H2O
CuprocopiapiteCuFe4(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
FerricopiapiteFe5(SO4)6O(OH) · 20H2O
MagnesiocopiapiteMgFe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
ZincocopiapiteZnFe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 18H2O
7.DB.05AubertiteCu2+Al(SO4)2Cl · 14H2O
7.DB.05MagnesioaubertiteMgAl(SO4)2Cl · 14H2O
7.DB.05SvyazhiniteMgAl(SO4)2F · 14H2O
7.DB.10KhademiteAlSO4F · 5H2O
7.DB.10RostiteAlSO4(OH) · 5H2O
7.DB.15JurbaniteAlSO4(OH) · 5H2O
7.DB.20MinasragriteV4+O(SO4) · 5H2O
7.DB.20OrthominasragriteV4+O(SO4) · 5H2O
7.DB.20AnorthominasragriteV4+O(SO4) · 5H2O
7.DB.25BobjonesiteV4+OSO4 · 3H2O
7.DB.30AmarantiteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 7H2O
7.DB.30HohmanniteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 8H2O
7.DB.30MetahohmanniteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 4H2O
7.DB.35Aluminocopiapite(Al,Mg)Fe43+(SO4)6(OH,O)2 · 20H2O
7.DB.35CalciocopiapiteCaFe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
7.DB.35CuprocopiapiteCu2+Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
7.DB.35FerricopiapiteFe3+0.67Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
7.DB.35MagnesiocopiapiteMgFe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
7.DB.35ZincocopiapiteZnFe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
25.10.1SzomolnokiteFe2+SO4 · H2O
25.10.2RozeniteFe2+SO4 · 4H2O
25.10.3Siderotil(Fe,Cu)SO4 · 5H2O
25.10.4FerrohexahydriteFe2+SO4 · 6H2O
25.10.5MelanteriteFe2+SO4 · 7H2O
25.10.6Rhomboclase(H3O)Fe3+(SO4)2 · 3H2O
25.10.7LauseniteFe23+(SO4)3 · 5H2O
25.10.8KorneliteFe23+(SO4)3 · 7H2O
25.10.9CoquimbiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 9H2O
25.10.10ParacoquimbiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 9H2O
25.10.11QuenstedtiteFe23+(SO4)3 · 11H2O
25.10.12FerricopiapiteFe3+0.67Fe43+(SO4)6(OH)2 · 20H2O
25.10.13MetahohmanniteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 4H2O
25.10.14HohmanniteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 8H2O
25.10.15ButleriteFe3+SO4(OH) · 2H2O
25.10.16ParabutleriteFe3+SO4(OH) · 2H2O
25.10.17AmarantiteFe23+O(SO4)2 · 7H2O
25.10.18FibroferriteFe3+SO4(OH) · 5H2O
25.10.20RömeriteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 14H2O
25.10.21BíliniteFe2+Fe23+(SO4)4 · 22H2O,Mg)Fe43+(SO4)6(OH,O)2 · 20H2O

Other Names for Copiapite

Other Information

Other Information:
Readily soluble in water, forming a yellowish solution.
Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for Copiapite

Reference List:
Dioscorides (as Μισυ).

Agricola, Georgius (1546) De natura fossilium and De veteribus et novis metallis (as Gelb Atrament).

Agricola, Georgius (1546) Interpretatio Germanica vocum rei metallicae (as Gelb Atrament).

Wallerius, J.G (1747) Mineralogia, eller Mineralriket. Stockholm: 159 (as Misy, Gul Atrament, and Lapis atramentarius flavus).

Hausmann, J.F.L. (1813) Handbuch der Mineralogie 3 volumes, Göttingen: 1061 (as Misy).

Breithaupt, A. (1823) Vollständige Characteristik etc., 1st. ed.: 97, 238 (as Gelbeisenerz).

Breithaupt, A. (1832) Vollständige Characteristik etc., 2nd. Ed.: 223 (as Gelbeisenerz).

Rose (1833) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 27: 314 (as Basisches schwefelsaures Eisenoxyd).

Haidinger, Wm. (1845a) Handbuch der bestimmenden Mineralogie. Vienna: 489.

Glocker, E.F. (1847) Generum et specierum mineralien secundum ordines naturals digestorum synopsis. Halle: 65 (as Xanthosiderit).

Hausmann, J.F.L. (1847) Handbuch der Mineralogie 3 volumes, Göttingen. Second edition: vol. 2, in two parts: 1203 (as Misy).

Schrauf, Albrecht (1877): 252 (as Ihlëite).

Linck (1889) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 15: 1.

Darapsky (1890) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart: I: 49.

Dana, E.S. (1892) System of Mineralogy, 6th. Edition, New York: 964.

Mauzelius in: Sjögren (1895) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 17: 268.

Böckh and Emszt (1905) Földtani Közlöny, Budapest (Magyarhone Földtani Torsulat): 35: 139 (as Janosite).

Toborffy (1907) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 43: 369.

Manasse (1911) Processi verbali della Società Toscana di scienze naturali in Pisa: 20: 1.

Scharizer (1913) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 52: 372.

Larsen, E.S. (1921) The Microscopic Determination of the Nonopaque Minerals, First edition, USGS Bulletin 679: 61.

Posnjak and Merwin (1922) Journal of the American Chemical Society: 44: 1965.

Scharizer (1927) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 65: 335.

Ungemach (1935) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 58: 97, 152 (as Pseudo-copiapite).

Berry (1938) University of Toronto Stud., Geol. Series, no. 41: 7

Palache, C., Peacock and Berry (1946) University of Toronto Stud., Geol. Series, no. 50: 9.

Berry (1947) University of Toronto Stud., Geol. Series, no. 51: 21.

Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 1124 pp.: 623-627.

Fanfani, L.A., A. Nunzi, P.F. Zanazzi & A.R. Zanzari (1973), The Copiapite problem; the crystal structure of ferrian Copiapite: Am. Min.: 58: 314-322.

Gaines et al.: Dana's New Mineralogy, 8th ed., p. 663 (1997)

Internet Links for Copiapite URL:
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Localities for Copiapite

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