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Covellite

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Formula:
CuS
"Extended" formula is Cu+4Cu2+2(S2)2S2 (Goble, 1985).
Colour:
Indigo-blue or darker, inclining towards blue-black, often iridescent with purplish, deep red, and brassy-yellow reflections.
Lustre:
Sub-Metallic
Hardness:
1½ - 2
Specific Gravity:
4.6 - 4.76
Crystal System:
Hexagonal
Name:
Named in 1832 by Francois Sulpice Beudant in honor of Niccolo Covelli (January 20, 1790, Cajazzo, Italy - November 15, 1829), an Italian mineralogist and discoverer of the mineral at Mount Vesuvius.
Usually as indigo-blue massive metallic material, sometimes with crystals on exposed surfaces (those often spheroidal). Good crystals extremely rare.

A possible precursor mineral is known: 'Unnamed (Covellite-like Mineral)'.

Covellite is almost certainly NOT cupric (Cu(II)) sulfide. Goble (1985) has suggested the "extended" formula being Cu+4Cu2+2(S2)2S2. However, later studies (Liang & Whanbgo, 1993) show, that this compound contains monovalent Cu atoms exclusively and the actual formula is most likely (Cu+)3(S2-)(S2)-.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Covellite.


Classification of Covellite

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
2.CA.05a

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
C : Metal Sulfides, M: S = 1: 1 (and similar)
A : With Cu
Dana 7th ed.:
2.8.12.1
2.8.12.1

2 : SULFIDES
8 : AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
3.1.8

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
1 : Sulphides etc. of Cu

Physical Properties of Covellite

Sub-Metallic
Transparency:
Opaque
Colour:
Indigo-blue or darker, inclining towards blue-black, often iridescent with purplish, deep red, and brassy-yellow reflections.
Streak:
Shiny metallic, lead-grey to black
Hardness:
1½ - 2 on Mohs scale
Hardness:
VHN100=128 - 138 kg/mm2 - Vickers
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Flexible
Cleavage:
Perfect
Perfect on {0001}.
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Hackly
Density:
4.6 - 4.76 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.602 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of Covellite

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.450 nε = 2.620
Max Birefringence:
δ = 1.170
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Type:
Anisotropic
Anisotropism:
Strong
Dispersion:
Strong
Pleochroism:
Visible
Comments:
Deep blue to blue-white

Chemical Properties of Covellite

Formula:
CuS

"Extended" formula is Cu+4Cu2+2(S2)2S2 (Goble, 1985).
Common Impurities:
Fe,Se,Ag,Pb

Crystallography of Covellite

Crystal System:
Hexagonal
Class (H-M):
6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) - Dihexagonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
P63/mmc
Cell Parameters:
a = 3.7938 Å, c = 16.341 Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 4.307
Unit Cell V:
203.7 ų
Z:
6
Morphology:
Hexagonal plates {001}, with pyramidal faces striated horizontally and hexagonal striations on the base. Common forms: {001}, {104}, {103}, {308}, {102}, {9/0/16}, {5.08}, {101} and {201}. Less common to rare: {1.0.16}, {1.0.12}, {3.0.32}, {108}, {106}, {3.0.16}, {105}, {205}, {203}, {304}, {15.0.16} and {908}.
Twinning:
None reported.

Crystallographic forms of Covellite

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
Covellite - Tabular {001}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

Toggle
Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

View
Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

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
3.22(30)
3.05(70)
2.81(100)
2.72(60)
2.32(10)
1.90(80)
1.74(40)
1.57(20)
1.56(40)

Type Occurrence of Covellite

Geological Setting of Type Material:
Igneous extrusive, as a volcanic sublimate on Mount Vesuvius.

Synonyms of Covellite

Other Language Names for Covellite

Varieties of Covellite

Argentian Covellite

A silver-bearing variety of covellite.

Selenian Covellite

Common Associates

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Quartz119 photos of Covellite associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Pyrite115 photos of Covellite associated with Pyrite on mindat.org.
Chalcopyrite110 photos of Covellite associated with Chalcopyrite on mindat.org.
Calcite59 photos of Covellite associated with Calcite on mindat.org.
Malachite41 photos of Covellite associated with Malachite on mindat.org.
Bornite35 photos of Covellite associated with Bornite on mindat.org.
Plumosite34 photos of Covellite associated with Plumosite on mindat.org.
Chalcocite28 photos of Covellite associated with Chalcocite on mindat.org.
Sulphur25 photos of Covellite associated with Sulphur on mindat.org.
Marcasite22 photos of Covellite associated with Marcasite on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping

2.CA.05bKlockmanniteCuSe
2.CA.05cSpionkopiteCu39S28
2.CA.05dYarrowiteCu9S8
2.CA.10NukundamiteCu3.4Fe0.6S4
2.CA.15CalvertiteCu5Ge0.5S4

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals Grouping

3.1.1ChalcociteCu2S
3.1.2DjurleiteCu31S16
3.1.3DigeniteCu9S5
3.1.4AniliteCu7S4
3.1.5RoxbyiteCu9S5
3.1.6SpionkopiteCu39S28
3.1.7GeeriteCu8S5
3.1.9BerzelianiteCu2Se
3.1.10BellidoiteCu2Se
3.1.11UmangiteCu3Se2
3.1.12YarrowiteCu9S8
3.1.13AthabascaiteCu5Se4
3.1.14KlockmanniteCuSe
3.1.15Krut'aiteCuSe2
3.1.16WeissiteCu2-xTe
3.1.17RickarditeCu7Te5
3.1.18VulcaniteCuTe
3.1.19BambollaiteCu(Se,Te)2
3.1.20LautiteCuAsS
3.1.21MgriiteCu3AsSe3
3.1.22CubaniteCuFe2S3
3.1.23BorniteCu5FeS4
3.1.24FukuchiliteCu3FeS8
3.1.25ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
3.1.26MooihoekiteCu9Fe9S16
3.1.27HaycockiteCu4Fe5S8
3.1.28IsocubaniteCuFe2S3
3.1.29IdaiteCu5FeS6
3.1.30NukundamiteCu3.4Fe0.6S4
3.1.31PutoraniteCu1.1Fe1.2S2
3.1.32Orickite2CuFeS2 · H2O
3.1.33EskeborniteCuFeSe2
3.1.34Chaméanite(Cu,Fe)4As(Se,S)4
3.1.35TalnakhiteCu9(Fe,Ni)8S16

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)

2.8.12.2KlockmanniteCuSe

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:
An ore of copper, sometimes of major importance but more typically a lesser one.

Covellite in petrology

Common component of (items highlighted in red)

References for Covellite

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Freiesleben (1815) 3: 129 (as Blaues Kupferglas).
Breithaupt (1817) In: Hoffmann: 4b: 178 (as Kupferindig).
Covelli, N., (1827) Sur le Bisulfure de Cuivre qui se forme actuellement dans le Vesuve (1826), Ann. Chim. Vol. XXXV, 105-111, Paris.
Covelli., N., (1827) Über das gegenwärtig am Vesuv sich bildende Doppelt-Schwefelkupfer, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Vol. 86, 494-498.
Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 834pp.: 248-251.
American Mineralogist (1976) 61: 996-1000.
Goble, R.J. (1985) The relationship between crystal structure, bonding and cell dimensions in the copper sulfides. Can. Mineral., 23, 61–76.
Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (1990) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume I. Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 588pp.: 112.
Liang, W., Whangbo, M.H. (1993) Conductivity anisotropy and structural phase transition in Covellite CuS. Solid State Communications: 85(5): 405–408.
Wang, N. (1994) The Cu-Bi-S system: results from low-temperature experiments. Mineralogical Magazine 58, 201-214. [on Bi solubility in CuS, and metastable solid solution series Cu10Bi2S13]
Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig, Vandall T. King (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy: The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 79.
Robert Cook (2006) Connoisseur's Choice: Covellite Summitville, Rio Grande County, Colorado. Rocks & Minerals 81:296-300.

Internet Links for Covellite

mindat.org URL:
https://www.mindat.org/min-1144.html
Please feel free to link to this page.
Specimens:
The following Covellite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Covellite

Mineral and/or Locality  
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