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light green, blue-green, emerald green
3 - 3½
Specific Gravity:
3.85 - 3.95
Crystal System:
Member of:
Honouring Dr. G. F. Herbert Smith (1872-1953) of the Natural History Museum, London, England, who discovered the mineral paratacamite.
Isostructural with:
Atacamite Group.
A polymorph of (metastable) kapellasite.
Closely related to paratacamite and easily confused with twinned clinoatacamite.
On heating paratacamite reversibly transforms into herbertsmithite between 353 and 393 K (Welch et al., 2014).

The Zn analogue of gillardite and leverettite.

This mineral gained attention in March 2007 when it was reported that it has very specific and unusual physical properties that make it behave as a new type of matter (see references).

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Classification of HerbertsmithiteHide

Approval Year:

D : Oxyhalides, hydroxyhalides and related double halides
A : With Cu, etc., without Pb

Pronounciation of HerbertsmithiteHide

PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of HerbertsmithiteHide

light green, blue-green, emerald green
light green
3 - 3½ on Mohs scale
on {10_11}
3.85 - 3.95 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.76 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Chemical Properties of HerbertsmithiteHide


Crystallography of HerbertsmithiteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
3m (3 2/m) - Hexagonal Scalenohedral
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 6.834 Å, c = 14.075 Å
a:c = 1 : 2.06
Unit Cell V:
569.28 ų
Platy, pseudohexagonal crystals to 0.5 mm (Iran); rhombohedrons and pseudo-octahedra to 1.5 mm (Chile).

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Powder Diffraction Data:
5.466 (55)
4.702 (14)
2.899 (11)
2.764 (100)
2.730 (13)
2.266 (36)
1.820 (13)
1.709 (18)
XRD pattern quite similar to those for atacamite, clinoatacamite and paratacamite, but herbertsmithite is readily distinguished from these by infrared spectroscopy and SXRD

Type Occurrence of HerbertsmithiteHide

Synonyms of HerbertsmithiteHide

Other Language Names for HerbertsmithiteHide

Simplified Chinese:氯羟锌铜石
Traditional Chinese:氯羥鋅銅石

Relationship of Herbertsmithite to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
AtacamiteCu2(OH)3ClOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
BotallackiteCu2(OH)3ClMon. 2/m : P21/m
ClinoatacamiteCu2(OH)3ClMon. 2/m
GillarditeCu3Ni(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
HaydeeiteCu3Mg(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
IyoiteMnCuCl(OH)3Mon. 2/m : P21/m
KapellasiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
KempiteMn2+2(OH)3ClOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
LeverettiteCu3Co(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3 : R3
MisakiiteCu3Mn(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
Paratacamite-(Mg)Cu3(Mg,Cu)(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3 : R3
Paratacamite-(Ni)Cu3(Ni,Cu)(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3 : R3
TondiiteCu3Mg(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
Unnamed (Cu-Zn Chloride Hydroxide)CuZnCl(OH)3Mon. 2/m : P21/m

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Wulfenite16 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Wulfenite on
Christelite10 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Christelite on
Linarite7 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Linarite on
Malachite7 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Malachite on
Chrysocolla7 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Chrysocolla on
Coronadite7 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Coronadite on
Cerussite7 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Cerussite on
Quartz2 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Quartz on
Bobkingite2 photos of Herbertsmithite associated with Bobkingite on
Gordaite1 photo of Herbertsmithite associated with Gordaite on

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

3.DA.CentennialiteCaCu3Cl2(OH)6 · nH2O (n ~ 0.7)Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
3.DA.10aAtacamiteCu2(OH)3ClOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
3.DA.10bBotallackiteCu2(OH)3ClMon. 2/m : P21/m
3.DA.10bClinoatacamiteCu2(OH)3ClMon. 2/m
3.DA.10aKempiteMn2+2(OH)3ClOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
3.DA.10cParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
3.DA.10bBelloiteCu(OH)ClMon. 2/m : P21/b
3.DA.10cKapellasiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
3.DA.10cGillarditeCu3Ni(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
3.DA.10cHaydeeiteCu3Mg(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
3.DA.15ClaringbulliteCu4ClF(OH)6Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
3.DA.15BarlowiteCu4BrF(OH)6Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
3.DA.20SimonkolleiteZn5Cl2(OH)8 · H2OTrig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
3.DA.25ButtgenbachiteCu19(NO3)2(OH)32Cl4 · 2H2OHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
3.DA.25ConnelliteCu19(SO4)(OH)32Cl4 · 3H2OHex. 6 m2 : P62c
3.DA.40AnthonyiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 3H2OMon. 2/m
3.DA.40CalumetiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 2H2OOrth.
3.DA.45KhaidarkaniteNa0.34Cu4Al3(OH)14F3 · 2H2OMon.
3.DA.50BobkingiteCu5Cl2(OH)8 · 2H2OMon. 2/m : B2/m
3.DA.55AvdoniniteK2Cu5(OH)4Cl8 · H2OMon. 2/m
3.DA.60DroninoiteNi6Fe2+3(OH)16Cl2 · 4H2OTrig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m

Fluorescence of HerbertsmithiteHide

Other InformationHide

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 HerbertsmithiteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Braithwaite, R.S.W., Mereiter, K., Paar, W.H., Clark, A.M. (2004) Herbertsmithite, Cu3Zn(OH)6Cl2, a new species, and the definition of paratacamite. Mineralogical Magazine: 68: 527-539.
Mandarino, J.A. (2004) New minerals. The Canadian Mineralogist: 42: 1901-1927.
Weiß, S. (2004) Lapis: 29(12): 38-39.
Jambor, J.L., Grew, E.S., Roberts, A.C. (2005) New mineral names. American Mineralogist: 90: 518-522.
Helton, J.S., Matan, K., Shores, M.P., Nytko, E.A., Bartlett, B.M., Yoshida, Y., Takano, Y., Suslov, A., Qiu, Y., Chung, J.-H., Nocera, D.G., Lee, Y.S. (2007) Spin Dynamics of the Spin-1/2 Kagomé Lattice Antiferromagnet ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2. Physical Review Letters: 98: 107204. []
Misguich, G., Sindzingre, P. (2007) Magnetic susceptibility and specific heat of the spin-1/2 Heisenberg model on the kagome lattice and experimental data on ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2. The European Physical Journal B: 59: 305-309.
Bert, F., Olariu, A., Zorko, A., Mendels, P., Trombe, J.C., Duc, F., de Vries, M.A., Harrison, A., Hillier, A.D., Lord, J., Amato, A., Baines, C. (2009) Frustrated magnetism in the quantum Kagome Herbertsmithite ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2 antiferromagnet. Journal of Physics: Conf. Ser. 145, 012004.
Freedman, D.E., Han, T.H., Prodi, A., Müller, P., Huang, Q.Z., Chen, Y.S., Webb, S.M., Lee, Y.S., McQueen, T.M., Nocera, D.G. (2010) Site specific X-ray anomalous dispersion of the geometrically frustrated Kagomé Magnet, herbertsmithite, ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2. Journal of the American Chemical Society: 132: 16185-16190.
Ofer, O., Keren, A., Brewer, J.H., Han, T.H., Lee, Y.S. (2011) The Herbertsmithite Hamiltonian: μSR measurements on single crystals. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter: 23: 164207.
Mendels, P., Bert, F. (2011) Quantum kagome antiferromagnet : ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2. Journal of Physics: Conf. Ser.: 320: 012004.
Shaginyan, V.R., Msezane, A.Z., Popov, K.G., Japaridze, G.S., Stephanovich, V.A. (2012) Identification of strongly correlated spin liquid in herbertsmithite. EPL: 97: 5600.
Nilsen, G.J., de Vries, M.A., Stewart, J.R., Harrison, A., Rønnow, H.M. (2013) Low-energy spin dynamics of the s = 1/2 kagome system herbertsmithite. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter: 25: 106001.
Welch, M.D., Sciberras, M.J., Williams, P.A., Leverett, P., Schlüter, J., Malcherek, T. (2014) A temperature-induced reversible transformation between paratacamite and herbertsmithite. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 41: 33-48.
Sciberras, M.J., Leverett, P., Williams, P.A., Schlüter, J., Malcherek, T., Welch, M.D., Downes, P.J., Hibbs, D.E., Kampf, A.R. (2017): Structural and compositional variations of basic Cu(II) chlorides in the herbertsmithite and gillardite structure field. Mineral. Mag. 81, 123-134.

Internet Links for HerbertsmithiteHide

Localities for HerbertsmithiteHide

This map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.

Locality ListHide

- This locality has map coordinates listed. - This locality has estimated coordinates. ⓘ - Click for further information on this occurrence. ? - Indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. - Good crystals or important locality for species. - World class for species or very significant. (TL) - Type Locality for a valid mineral species. (FRL) - First Recorded Locality for everything else (eg varieties). Struck out - Mineral was erroneously reported from this locality. Faded * - Never found at this locality but inferred to have existed at some point in the past (eg from pseudomorphs.)

All localities listed without proper references should be considered as questionable.
  • Western Australia
    • Leonora Shire
      • Eulaminna (Murrin Murrin mining centre)
Matthew Joseph Sciberras (2013) SUBSTITUTION IN BASIC SECONDARY Cu(II) CHLORIDE MINERALS. PhD thesis, University of Western Sydney
  • Antofagasta Region
    • Antofagasta Province
      • Antofagasta
Arfè, G., Boni, M., Mondillo, N., Aiello, R., Balassone, G., Arseneau, V. and Soyk, D. (2016): Supergene alteration in the Capricornio Au-Ag epithermal vein system, Antofagasta Region, Chile. Can. Mineral. 54, 681-706.
      • Cerro Palestina
        • Estación Cerro Negro
          • Magallanes district
Samples analysed by Dr. Jochen Schluter (Hamburg University), Germany.
Samples analysed by Dr. Jochen Schluter (Hamburg University), Germany.
      • Sierra Gorda District
        • Caracoles
S. Weiß: Lapis (2004): 29(12): 38-39.
S. Weiß: Lapis 29(12):38-39 (2004); Uwe Kolitsch (single-crystal structure refinement)
R. S. W. Braithwaite et al.: Mineralogical Magazine 68(3):527-539 (2004)
S. Weiß: Lapis 29(12):38-39 (2004); Uwe Kolitsch (single-crystal structure refinement)
Samples analysed by Dr. Jochen Schluter (Hamburg University), Germany.
  • Tarapacá Region
    • El Tamarugal Province
      • Challacollo
maurizio dini collection - analysed material
      • Pampa del Tamarugal
sample analysed by Tony Kampf, senior curator of NHM of LAC, California
      • Quebrada Maní
Samples analysed by Dr. Jochen Schluter (Hamburg University), Germany.
  • Attikí Prefecture (Attica; Attika)
    • Lavrion District (Laurion; Laurium)
      • Lavrion District Mines
        • Sounion area
          • Sounion Mines
W. Krause, H.-J. Bernhardt, R. S. W. Braithwaite, U. Kolitsch and R. Pritchard (2006): Kapellasite, Cu3Zn(OH)6Cl2, a new mineral from Lavrion, Greece. Mineralogical Magazine 70, 331-342; Kolitsch, U., Rieck, B., Brandstätter, F., Schreiber, F., Fabritz, K. H., Blaß, G. & Gröbner, J. (2014): Neufunde aus dem altem Bergbau und den Schlacken von Lavrion (I). Mineralien-Welt 25 (1), 60-75 (in German).
  • Esfahan Province (Isfahan Province; Aspadana Province)
    • Nain County (Nayin County)
      • Anarak District
S. Weiß: Lapis 29(12):38-39 (2004); Bariand, P. 1963. Contribution à la minéralogie de l’lran. Bulletin de la Société Française de minéralogie et de cristallographie, 86: 17-64. [Locality description in brief and mineralogical list with photographs] Bariand, P. 2003. Un apercu général sur la Minéralogie de I'Iran. Le Règne Minéral, 54: 41-51.
S. Weiß: Lapis 29(12):38-39 (2004)
  • South Khorasan Province
    • Nehbandan
Vachik Hairapetian collection
  • Karas Region
    • Lüderitz District
      • Rosh Pinah
Bezing, L. von., Bode, R., and Jahn, S., (2014) Namibia Minerals and Localities I. Edition Krüger-Stiftung, Bode Verlag GmbH, Salzhemmendorf, Germany, 608 pp (in English)
  • Lower Silesia (Dolnośląskie)
    • Legnica
      • Polkowice District
Known only from one find, confirmed by several XRD.
  • Arizona
    • Maricopa Co.
      • Big Horn Mts
        • Osborn District
          • Tonopah
            • Belmont Mountain
Analyzed by the University of Arizona.
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