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Tetrahedrite

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Formula:
Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
Colour:
Steel- to iron-gray
Lustre:
Metallic
Hardness:
3½ - 4
Specific Gravity:
4.97
Crystal System:
Isometric
Name:
Renamed in 1845 by Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger because of the common tetrahedral form of its crystals. Originally called argentum rude album by Georgius Agricola (Georg Bauer) in 1546 because it contained silver, although it may not have necessarily been silver-dominant as a related mineral, freibergite, is. Named Fahlerts and other names by Johan Gottschalk Wallerius in 1747, while in 1758, Axel Cronstedt used the spelling fahlerz and also used a multi-word chemical descriptive for the mineral. Fahlerts/fahlerz is derived from German fahl = ash-colored and erz = ore in allusion to its grayish black color.
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Classification of TetrahedriteHide

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

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
G : Sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites
B : Neso-sulfarsenites, etc. with additional S
3.3.6.1

3 : SULFOSALTS
3 : 3 <ø < 4
5.1.5

5 : Sulphosalts - Sulpharsenites and Sulphobismuthites (those containing Sn, Ge,or V are in Section 6)
1 : Sulpharsenites etc. of Cu

Physical Properties of TetrahedriteHide

Metallic
Transparency:
Opaque
Colour:
Steel- to iron-gray
Streak:
Black, brown to dark red
Hardness:
3½ - 4 on Mohs scale
Hardness:
VHN100=312 - 351 kg/mm2 - Vickers
Tenacity:
Brittle
Fracture:
Sub-Conchoidal
Density:
4.97 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.99 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of TetrahedriteHide

Type:
Isotropic
Colour in reflected light:
Grey to olive brown
Comments:
n greater than 2.72

Chemical Properties of TetrahedriteHide

Formula:
Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
IMA Formula:
Cu12Sb4S13
Common Impurities:
Ag,Pb,Zn,Fe,As

Crystallography of TetrahedriteHide

Crystal System:
Isometric
Class (H-M):
4 3m - Hextetrahedral
Space Group:
I4 3m
Cell Parameters:
a = 10.39(16) Å
Unit Cell V:
1,121.62 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
2
Morphology:
Tetrahedral crystals, massive
Twinning:
On {111} and around [111] twin axis.

Crystallographic forms of TetrahedriteHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Tetrahedrite no.34 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Tetrahedrite - Penetration twin on [111]
Tetrahedrite - {111}, modified
Tetrahedrite - {211}
Tetrahedrite - {111}, modified
Tetrahedrite - {111}, {110}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.

Type Occurrence of TetrahedriteHide

Synonyms of TetrahedriteHide

Other Language Names for TetrahedriteHide

Varieties of TetrahedriteHide

ApthoniteA variety of Tetrahedrite with a high silver content.
Argentian Tetrahedrite
Argentiferous Auriferous TetrahedriteA silver and gold bearing variety of tetrahedrite.
Arsenical TetrahedriteAn arsenic-bearing tetrahedrite
Bismuthian TetrahedriteA bismuthian variety of Tetrahedrite.
Originally reported from Gosan Mine, Saint-Luc, Anniviers Valley, Wallis (Valais), Switzerland.
Cd-FreibergiteA cadmium-rich variety of tetrahedrite (and not of freibergite as the name suggests).
Cobaltoan Tetrahedrite
CoppiteA ferroan variety of tetrahedrite.
FrigiditeA nickel-bearing variety of tetrahedrite.
KobaltfahlerzA cobaltian (and bismuthian) variety of tetrahedrite. Co reported to 4%.
MalinowskitA supposed plumbian variety of tetrahedrite (but possibly a mixture).
SchwatziteA mercury rich Tetrahedrite from Schwatz, Austria
Zincian TetrahedriteZincian tetrahedrite occurs in a certain Pb-An ore deposit at Mianning, Sichuan. The Pb-Zn ore deposit is primary sedimentary in genesis, which underwent low-grade regional metamorphism. Zincian tetrahedrite was analyzed by electron probe and X-ray powder...

Relationship of Tetrahedrite to other SpeciesHide

Other Members of this group:
ArgentotennantiteAg6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
ArgentotetrahedriteAg6Cu4(Fe,Zn)2Sb4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
FreibergiteAg6[Cu4Fe2]Sb4S13-xIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
GirauditeCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4Se13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
GoldfielditeCu10Te4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
HakiteCu6[Cu4Hg2]Sb4Se13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
RozhdestvenskayaiteAg10Zn2Sb4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
TennantiteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Quartz695 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Pyrite368 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Pyrite on mindat.org.
Chalcopyrite263 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Chalcopyrite on mindat.org.
Rhodochrosite220 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Rhodochrosite on mindat.org.
Sphalerite168 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Sphalerite on mindat.org.
Calcite113 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Calcite on mindat.org.
Siderite106 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Siderite on mindat.org.
Galena96 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Galena on mindat.org.
Dolomite86 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Dolomite on mindat.org.
Fluorite78 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with Fluorite on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

2.GB.05ArgentotennantiteAg6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05FreibergiteAg6[Cu4Fe2]Sb4S13-xIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05GirauditeCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4Se13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05GoldfielditeCu10Te4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05HakiteCu6[Cu4Hg2]Sb4Se13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05TennantiteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.10SelenostephaniteAg5Sb(Se,S)4Orth.
2.GB.10StephaniteAg5SbS4Orth. mm2 : Cmc21
2.GB.15Pearceite[Ag9CuS4][(Ag,Cu)6(As,Sb)2S7]Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
2.GB.15Polybasite[(Ag,Cu)6(Sb,As)2S7][Ag9CuS4]Mon. 2/m : B2/m
2.GB.15UM2003-14-S:AgBiFeTeAg16FeBiTe3S8
2.GB.15Selenopolybasite[(Ag,Cu)6(Sb,As)2(S,Se)7][Ag9Cu(S,Se)2Se2]Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
2.GB.15Cupropearceite[Cu6As2S7][Ag9CuS4]Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
2.GB.15Cupropolybasite[Cu6Sb2S7][Ag9CuS4]Trig. 3m : P3 1m
2.GB.15UM1979-17-S:BiCuFe~Cu18Fe4BiS16
2.GB.20Galkhaite(Cs,Tl)(Hg,Cu,Zn)6(As,Sb)4S12Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide

3.3.6.2TennantiteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
3.3.6.3FreibergiteAg6[Cu4Fe2]Sb4S13-xIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
3.3.6.4HakiteCu6[Cu4Hg2]Sb4Se13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
3.3.6.5GirauditeCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4Se13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
3.3.6.6GoldfielditeCu10Te4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
3.3.6.7ArgentotennantiteAg6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

5.1.1SinneriteCu6As4S9Tric. 1 : P1
5.1.2TennantiteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
5.1.4ChalcostibiteCuSbS2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
5.1.6GoldfielditeCu10Te4S13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
5.1.7EmplectiteCuBiS2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmna
5.1.8CuprobismutiteCu8AgBi13S24Mon. 2/m : B2/m
5.1.9WitticheniteCu3BiS3Orth. 2 2 2 : P21 21 21
5.1.10HodrušiteCu8Bi12S22Mon.
5.1.11GirauditeCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]As4Se13Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
5.1.11PermingeatiteCu3SbSe4Tet.

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.

Tetrahedrite in petrologyHide

Common component of (items highlighted in red)

References for TetrahedriteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
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: 374-384.
Wuensch, B.J. et al. (1966) Z. Kristallogr., 123, 1.
Kalbskopf, R. (1972) Strukturverfeinerung des Freibergits. Tschermaks Mineralogische und Petrographische Mitteilungen 18, 147-155 (in German).
Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 119: 437-453.
Johnson, N.E., Craig, J.R., Rimstidt, J.D. (1986) Compositional trends in tetrahedrites. Can. Mineral. 24, 385-397.
Mineralogical Magazine (1986) 50: 717.
Johnson, N.E., Craig, J.R., Rimstidt, J.D. (1988) Crystal chemistry of tetrahedrite. Am. Mineral. 73, 389-397.
Pfitzner, A. (1998) Z. Kristallogr.: 213: 228-236.
Foit, F.F. Jr., Ulbricht, M.E. (2001) Compositional variation in mercurian tetrahedrite-tennantite from epithermal deposits of the Steens and Pueblo Mountains, Harney County, Oregon. Can Mineral 39, 819-830.
Di Benedetto, F., Bernardini, G.P., Borrini, D., Emiliani, C., Cipriani, C., Danti, C., Caneschi, A., Gatteschi, D., Romanelli, M. (2002) Mineral chemistry of tetrahedrite solid solution: EPR and magnetic investigations. Can. Mineral. 40, 837-847.
Sack, R. O.; Lynch, J. V. G.; Foit, F., Jr. (2003): Fahlore as a petrogenetic indicator: Keno Hill Ag-Pb-Zn district, Yukon, Canada. Mineralogical Magazine 67, 1023-1038.
Kharbish, S., Libowitzky, E. and Beran, A. (2007) The effect of As-Sb substitution in the Raman spectra of tetrahedrite-tennantite and pyrargyrite-proustite solid solutions. European Journal of Mineralogy, 19, 567-574.
Moëlo, Y., Makovicky, E., Mozgova, N.N., Jambor, J.L., Cook, N., Pring, A., Paar, W., Nickel, E.H., Graeser, S., Karup-Møller, S.; Balić-Žunić, T.; Mumme, W.G., Vurro, F., Topa, D., Bindi, L., Bente, K., Shimizu, M. (2008) Sulfosalt systematics: a review. Report of the sulfosalt sub-committee of the IMA Commission on Ore Mineralogy. European Journal of Mineralogy, 20, 7-46. [on freibergite vs. tetrahedrite].
Friese, K., Grzechnik, A., Makovicky, E., Balić-Žunić, T., Karup-Møller, S (2008) Crystal structures of iron bearing tetrahedrite and tennantite at 25 and 250°C by means of Rietveld refinement of synchrotron data. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 35, 455-465.
George, L.L., Cook, N.J. and Ciobanu, C.L. (2017) Minor and trace elements in natural tetrahedrite-tennantite: effects on element partitioning among base metal sulphides. Minerals 7, 17 (25 pp.).

Internet Links for TetrahedriteHide

Localities for TetrahedriteHide

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.

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