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Joseph Barclay Pentland

Typical analyses:
Pale bronze-yellow; bronze; brown; reddish brown when argentian
3½ - 4
Specific Gravity:
4.6 - 5
Crystal System:
For Joseph Barclay Pentland (17 January 1797 - 12 July 1873), Irish naturalist, who discovered the mineral at Sudbury, Ontario.
Pentlandite Group. Cobaltpentlandite-Pentlandite Series.

Pentlandite is a rather pale brassy yellow metallic sulphide, one of the most important nickel ores, and a primary mineral in many ultramafic rocks. It usually found associated, and commonly finely intergrown, with pyrrhotite, and rarely shows microscopically visible crystals. It is difficult to confirm visually but sometimes can be distinguished by its paler colour, octahedral cleavage and non-magnetic nature.

Compare also the chemically similar mackinawite, godlevskite and horomanite; 'UM1981-13-S:CoFeNiRh' and 'UM1989-25-S:FeNi'.

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Classification of PentlanditeHide

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

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
B : Metal Sulfides, M: S > 1: 1 (mainly 2: 1)
B : With Ni

7 : AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 9:8

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

Physical Properties of PentlanditeHide

Pale bronze-yellow; bronze; brown; reddish brown when argentian
Pale bronze-brown
3½ - 4 on Mohs scale
VHN100=268 - 285 kg/mm2 - Vickers
On {111}.
4.6 - 5 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.956 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of PentlanditeHide


Chemical Properties of PentlanditeHide



Typical analyses:
IMA Formula:
Common Impurities:

Age informationHide

Age range:
Phanerozoic : 275.2 ± 4.2 Ma to 229.9 ± 1.7 Ma - based on data given below.
Sample ages:
Sample IDRecorded ageGeologic TimeDating method
1229.9 ± 1.7 MaLate TriassicRe-Os
2239 ± 1.5 MaMiddle TriassicRe-Os
3275.2 ± 4.2 MaCisuralianRe-Os
Sample references:
1Huangshandong Cu-Ni-PGE deposit, Huangshan-Jing'erquan ore belt, Hami Co., Hami Prefecture, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, ChinaJingwen, M., Jianmin, Y., Wenjun, Q., Andao, D., Zhiliang, W., & Chunming, H. (2003). Re?Os Age of Cu?Ni Ores from the Huangshandong Cu?Ni Sulfide Deposit in the East Tianshan Mountains and Its Implication for Geodynamic Processes. Acta Geologica Sinica?English Edition, 77(2), 220-226.
2  "  "  "  "
3  "  "  "  "

Crystallography of PentlanditeHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
m3m (4/m 3 2/m) - Hexoctahedral
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 9.928(1) Å
Unit Cell V:
978.56 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Massive or irregular grains.

Occurrences of PentlanditeHide

Type Occurrence of PentlanditeHide

Synonyms of PentlanditeHide

Other Language Names for PentlanditeHide

Varieties of PentlanditeHide

Palladian PentlanditeMay contain as much as 0.17 wt.% Pd.

Relationship of Pentlandite to other SpeciesHide

Other Members of this group:
ArgentopentlanditeAg(Fe,Ni)8S8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
Cobaltpentlandite(Co,Ni,Fe)9S8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
Geffroyite(Cu,Fe,Ag)9(Se,S)8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
SugakiiteCu(Fe,Ni)8S8Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Chalcopyrite38 photos of Pentlandite associated with Chalcopyrite on
Pyrrhotite36 photos of Pentlandite associated with Pyrrhotite on
Magnetite13 photos of Pentlandite associated with Magnetite on
Violarite11 photos of Pentlandite associated with Violarite on
Polydymite9 photos of Pentlandite associated with Polydymite on
Spinel9 photos of Pentlandite associated with Spinel on
Pyrite9 photos of Pentlandite associated with Pyrite on
Mooihoekite7 photos of Pentlandite associated with Mooihoekite on
Sperrylite7 photos of Pentlandite associated with Sperrylite on
Cubanite6 photos of Pentlandite associated with Cubanite on

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

2.BB.HoromaniteFe6Ni3S8Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/mmm
2.BB.SamaniiteCu2Fe5Ni2S8Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm
2.BB.05HeazlewooditeNi3S2Trig. 3 2 : R3 2
2.BB.10BismutohauchecorniteNi9Bi2S8Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/mmm
2.BB.10HauchecorniteNi9BiSbS8Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/mmm
2.BB.15ArgentopentlanditeAg(Fe,Ni)8S8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.BB.15Cobaltpentlandite(Co,Ni,Fe)9S8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.BB.15Geffroyite(Cu,Fe,Ag)9(Se,S)8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
2.BB.15Godlevskite(Ni,Fe)9S8Orth. 2 2 2 : C2 2 2
2.BB.15Kharaelakhite(Cu,Pt,Pb,Fe,Ni)9S8Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmmm
2.BB.15SugakiiteCu(Fe,Ni)8S8Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P42/mnm

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide,Ni)8S8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m,Ni,Fe)9S8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m,Cd)(Fe,Cu)8S8,Pb,Cd)(Cu,Fe)8S8,Fe,Ag)9(Se,S)8Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

3.11.1HeazlewooditeNi3S2Trig. 3 2 : R3 2
3.11.2Godlevskite(Ni,Fe)9S8Orth. 2 2 2 : C2 2 2
3.11.3MilleriteNiSTrig. 3m : R3m
3.11.5VaesiteNiS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.11.7DonharrisiteNi3HgS3Mon. 2/m : B2/m
3.11.10Bravoite(Fe,Ni)S2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.11.11SiegeniteCoNi2S4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
3.11.12FletcheriteCu(Ni,Co)2S4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
3.11.15Sederholmitebeta-NiSeHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
3.11.18KulleruditeNiSe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
3.11.19Penroseite(Ni,Co,Cu)Se2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.11.20TyrrelliteCu(Co3+,Ni3+)2Se4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
3.11.21ImgreiteNiTe (?)Hex.
3.11.25OrceliteNi5-xAs2, x ~ 0.25Hex. 6mm : P63mc
3.11.26MaucheriteNi11As8Tet. 4 2 2 : P41 21 2
3.11.27NickelineNiAsHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mcm
3.11.28RammelsbergiteNiAs2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
3.11.30Nickelskutterudite(Ni,Co,Fe)As3Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Im3
3.11.33Langisite(Co,Ni)AsHex. 6 : P63
3.11.34GersdorffiteNiAsSIso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.11.35JolliffeiteNiAsSeIso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.11.36BreithauptiteNiSbHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
3.11.38UllmanniteNiSbSIso. 2 3 : P21 3

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.
Industrial Uses:
Ore of nickel.

References for PentlanditeHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Scheerer,Th. (1843): Ueber ein neues Vorkommen des Nickels. Annalen der Physik und chemie (herausgegeben zu Berlin von J.C. Poggendorff). 58, 315-319 [as Eisen-Nickelkies]
Weisbach (1875): Synopsis Mineralogica. Systematische Übersich des Mineralreiches [Vierte Auflage],Verlag von Arthur Felix, Leipzig. 95pp. [as Lillehammerit]
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.: 242-243.
Kullerud, G. (1963): Thermal stability of pentlandite. Can. Mineral. 7, 353-366.
Harris, D.C., Nickel, E.H. (1972): Pentlandite compositions and associations in some mineral deposits. Canadian Mineralogist 11, 861-878.
Misra, K.C. and Fleet, M.E. (1973): The chemical compositions of synthetic and natural pentlandite assemblages. Economic Geology: 8: 518-539.
Rajamani, V. and C.T. Prewitt (1973): Crystal chemistry of natural pentlandites. Canadian Mineralogist: 12: 178-187.
Francis, C.A., Fleet, M.E., Misra, K.C., and Craig, J.R. (1976): Orientation of exsolved pentlandite in natural and synthetic nickeliferous pyrrhotite. American Mineralogist: 61: 913-920.
Knop, O., Huang, C.-H., Reid, K.I.G., and CArlow, J.S. (1976): Chalcogenides of the transition elements. X. X-ray neutron, Mössbauer and magnetic studies of pentlandite and the π phases, π(Fe,Co,Ni,S), Co8MS8 and Fe4Ni4MS8 (M=Ru,Rh,Pd). Journal of Solid State Chemistry: 16: 97-116.
Mineralogical Magazine (1977): 41: 345.
Evans, H.T. & J.R. Clark (1981): The crystal structure of bartonite, a potassium iron sulfide and its relationship to pentlandite and djerfisherite: American Mineralogist: 66: 376-384.
Grguric, B.A. (2002): Hypogene violarite of exsolution origin from Mount Keith, Western Australia: field evidence for a stable pentlandite-violarite tie line. Mineralogical Magazine, 66, 313-326.
Tenailleau, Christophe, Allan Pring, Barbara tschmann, Joël Brugger, Ben Grguric, and Andrew Putnis (2006): Transformation of pentlandite to violarite under mild hydrothermal conditions. American Mineralogist, 91, 706-709.
Kitakaze, A., Sugaki, A., Itoh, H. and Komatsu, R. (2011): A revision of phase relations in the system Fe–Ni–S from 650° to 450°C. Can. Mineral. 49, 1687-1710.

Internet Links for PentlanditeHide

Localities for PentlanditeHide

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Locality ListShow

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