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Bright green, dark emerald-green to blackish green; shades of green in transmitted light.
Adamantine, Vitreous
3 - 3½
Specific Gravity:
3.745 - 3.776
Crystal System:
Member of:
Named in 1802 by Dmitri de Gallitzin after the type locality, in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
Atacamite Group.

A secondary copper mineral formed through the oxidation of other copper minerals, especially in arid, saline conditions.

May alter to malachite and chrysocolla, creating pseudomorphs.

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Classification of AtacamiteHide

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

D : Oxyhalides, hydroxyhalides and related double halides
A : With Cu, etc., without Pb
Dana 7th ed.:

1 : A2(O,OH)3Xq

8 : Halides - Fluorides, Chlorides, Bromides and Iodides; also Fluoborates and Fluosilicates
2 : Halides of Cu

Pronounciation of AtacamiteHide

PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of AtacamiteHide

Adamantine, Vitreous
Transparent, Translucent
Bright green, dark emerald-green to blackish green; shades of green in transmitted light.
3 - 3½ on Mohs scale
On {010}, fair on {101}.
3.745 - 3.776 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.756 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of AtacamiteHide

Biaxial (-)
RI values:
nα = 1.831 nβ = 1.861 nγ = 1.880
Calculated: 74°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.049
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
r < v, strong
X = pale green, Y = yellow-green, Z = grass-green; Orientation: X = b, Y = a, Z = c.

Chemical Properties of AtacamiteHide

IMA Formula:
Common Impurities:

Crystallography of AtacamiteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) - Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 6.03 Å, b = 9.12 Å, c = 6.865 Å
a:b:c = 0.661 : 1 : 0.753
Unit Cell V:
377.53 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Slender crystals, to 10 cm, prismatic along [001]; striated parallel to [001], on {010} parallel to [110]; commonly tabular perpendicular to {010} or pseudo-octahedral with {110} and {011}. Also fibrous, sandy granular to compact, massive.
Rare, with twin and composition plane {110}; more common about [544]. Doublets, triplets, both contact and penetration, and complex groups result from twinning.

Crystallographic forms of AtacamiteHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Atacamite no.4 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Atacamite no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Atacamite no.25 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by

Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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

Epitaxial Relationships of AtacamiteHide

Epitaxial Minerals:

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.
Powder Diffraction Data:
5.48 (100)
5.03 (70)
2.278 (69)
1.6060 (57)
2.759 (55)
2.836 (51)
2.779 (51)
Recorded on material from Inca de Oro, Copiapó, Chile.

Type Occurrence of AtacamiteHide

Place of Conservation of Type Material:
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (No. 110816)
Geological Setting of Type Material:
An oxidation product of other copper minerals under arid conditions

Synonyms of AtacamiteHide

Other Language Names for AtacamiteHide

Relationship of Atacamite to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
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
HerbertsmithiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
IyoiteMnCuCl(OH)3Mon. 2/m : P21/m
KapellasiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
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

ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Chrysocolla83 photos of Atacamite associated with Chrysocolla on
Halloysite68 photos of Atacamite associated with Halloysite on
Libethenite52 photos of Atacamite associated with Libethenite on
Gypsum51 photos of Atacamite associated with Gypsum on
Quartz39 photos of Atacamite associated with Quartz on
Malachite37 photos of Atacamite associated with Malachite on
Pseudomalachite33 photos of Atacamite associated with Pseudomalachite on
Paratacamite21 photos of Atacamite associated with Paratacamite on
Boleite19 photos of Atacamite associated with Boleite on
Sampleite19 photos of Atacamite associated with Sampleite on

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

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.10cHerbertsmithiteCu3Zn(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
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

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

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

8.2.1NantokiteCuClIso. 4 3m : F4 3m
8.2.3EriochalciteCuCl2 · 2H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
8.2.5ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
8.2.6BotallackiteCu2(OH)3ClMon. 2/m : P21/m
8.2.8CalumetiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 2H2OOrth.
8.2.9AnthonyiteCu(OH,Cl)2 · 3H2OMon. 2/m
8.2.10ClaringbulliteCu4ClF(OH)6Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
8.2.11MarshiteCuIIso. 4 3m : F4 3m
8.2.12MitscherlichiteK2CuCl4 · 2H2OTet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m)

Other InformationHide

Readily soluble in acids.
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 copper.

References for AtacamiteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Rochefoucauld, Baumé, and Fourcroy (1786)[published 1788] Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France, Paris.
Berthollet (1788) Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France, Paris.
Karsten, D.L.G. (1800) Mineralogische Tabellen, Berlin. First edition: 46, 76. [as Kupfersand and salzsaures Kupfer].
Haüy, R.J. (1801) Traité de minéralogie. First edition: in 4 volumes with atlas in fol.; also (1801), Paris: 3: 561 (as Cuivre muriaté).
Blumenbach, J.F. (1803) L´atacamit, sable vert d´Atacama. in Manuel D´Histoire Naturelle, Volume 2, Soulange Artaud (Paris): 348-349.
Ludwig, C.F. (1803-1804) Handbuch der Mineralogie nach A.G. Werner. 2 volumes, Leipzig: 2: 178 (as Kupferhornerz, Atacamit).
Blumenbach (1805) Handbuch Nat. (as Atacamit, Salzkupfererz).
Hausmann, J.F.L. (1813) Handbuch der Mineralogie 3 volumes, Göttingen: 1039 (as Smaragdochalcit).
Glocker, E.F. (1831) Handbuch der Mineralogie, Nürnberg (as Chlorochalcit).
Lévy, A. (1838) Description d’une collection de minéraux formée par M. Henri Heuland, et appartenant à M. Ch. H. Turner, de Rooksnest, dans le comté de Surrey en Angleterre. 3 volumes and atlas of 85 plates, London: 3: 47.
Mohs, F. (1839) Anfangsgründe der Naturgeschichte des Mineralreichs. Part 1, introductory (1836); part 2 by F.X.M. Zippe (1839): 2: 177.
Breithaupt, A. (1841) Vollständige Handbuch der Mineralogie, Vol. 2: 165.
Brooke, H.J. and Miller, W.H. (1852) Introduction to Mineralogy by Wm. Phillips, London, 1823. New edition by Brooke and Miller. 8vo, London (as Remolinite).
Shepard (1856) American Journal of Science: 21: 206.
Dana, J.D. (1857) Fourth supplement to Dana's mineralogy. American Journal of Science: 24: 122.
Tschermak (1873) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 38.
Dana, E.S. (1892) System of Mineralogy, 6th. Edition, New York: 172.
Dupont and Jansen (1893) Bull. soc. chim. Paris: 9: 193.
Smith, H. (1898) Atacamite from Sierra Gorda, Chili. Mineralogical Magazine: 12: 15-25.
Mawson (1906) Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia: 30: 67.
Keller, H.F. (1908) Notes on Chilean copper minerals. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society: 47: 79.
Ford, W.E. (1910) Remarkable twins of atacamite and on some other copper minerals from Collahurasi, Tarapaca, Chile. American Journal of Science: 30: 16-24.
Ungemach (1911) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 34: 148.
Goldschmidt, V. (1913) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 1: 117.
Hintze, C. (1915) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1 [2B]: 2593.
Liffa and Tokody (1926) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 183.
Carobbi (1928) Acc. Napoli, Rend.: 34[3]: 78.
Buttgenbach (1929) Société géologique de Belgique, Publ. Congo Belge: 52: C65.
Thoreau and Verhulst (1938) Académie royale des sciences de Belgique, Brussels - Bulletin: 24: 716.
Brasseur and Toussant (1942) Bull. Soc. roy. Sc. Liége: 11: 555.
Wells, A.F. (1949) The crystal structure of atacamite and the crystal chemistry of cupric compounds. Acta Crystallographica: 2: 175-180.
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: Halides, Nitrates, Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Tungstates, Molybdates, Etc. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 69-73.
Larsen, A.L., Tripp, R.B. (1972) New X-ray data on natural atacamite. U.S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Paper 800B: 119-120.
Bailey, S.W. (1977) Report of the I.M.A-I.U.Cr. Joint Committee on Nomenclature. American Mineralogist: 62: 411-415.
Parise, J.B., Hyde, B.G. (1986) The structure of atacamite and its relationship to spinel. Acta Crystallographica: C42: 1277-1280.
Pollard, A.M., Thomas, R.G., Williams, P.A. (1989) Synthesis and stabilities of the basic copper(II) chlorides atacamite, paratacamite and botallackite. Mineralogical Magazine: 53: 557-563.
Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., Nichols, M.C. (1997) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume III. Halides, Hydroxides, Oxides. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 628pp.: 29.
Frost, R.L., Martens, W., Kloprogge, J.T., Williams, P.A. (2002) Raman spectroscopy of the basic copper chloride minerals atacamite and paratacamite: implications for the study of copper, brass and bronze objects of archeological significance. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy: 33: 801-806.
Martens, W., Frost, R.L., Williams, P.A. (2003) Raman and infrared spectroscopic study of the basic copper chloride minerals - implications for the study of the copper and brass corrosion and "bronze disease". Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Abhandlungen: 178: 197-215.
Zheng, X.G., Mori, T., Nishiyama, K., Higemoto, W., Yamada, H., Nishikubo, K., Xu, C.N. (2005) Antiferromagnetic transitions in polymorphous minerals of the natural cuprates atacamite and botallackite Cu2Cl(OH)3. Physical Review B: 71: 174404-8.

Internet Links for AtacamiteHide

Localities for AtacamiteHide

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 ListShow

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