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The Mineral cyanotrichite

Cyanotrichite Cavity

Cyanotrichite is an attractive blue mineral with very characteristic radiating needle aggregates. It is a fragile mineral, and handling should be avoided, for even a slight touch can damage a crystal grouping. Cyanotrichite crystals will rub off and leave a blue residue of tiny crystals on a surface if handled.


The name of Cyanotrichite is derived from the Greek terms "kyanos", or blue, and "triches", meaning hair, in reference to its hair-like habits of blue crystals.

Chemical Formula

Cu4Al2SO4(OH)12 · 2H2O

Color

Bright blue

Crystal System

Orthorhombic

Properties

Streak
Light blue
Hardness
1 - 3
Transparency
Translucent
Specific Gravity
2.7 - 2.8
Luster
Silky
Cleavage
None
Fracture
Splintery
Tenacity
Brittle

Crystal Habits

As scattered groups of radiating or acicular crystals. Also in ball-like aggregates of tiny, slender crystals, as plush, wool-like needle groupings, as crusty groupings of tiny needles, and in botryoidal crystal groups.

Additional Information

Composition
Basic hydrous copper aluminum sulfate
In Group
Sulfates; Hydrous Sulfates
Striking Features
Crystal aggregates and bright blue color
Environment
As a secondary mineral found in the oxidation zone of copper deposits.
Rock Type
Sedimentary, Metamorphic

Varieties

 -   A carbonate-rich variety of Cyanotrichite, where the sulfate radical (SO4) is partially replaced by a carbonate radical (CO2). Its chemical formula is Cu4Al2(CO3,SO4)(OH)12 · 2H2O. Carbonatecyanotrichite is technically not really a variety since it is scientifically recognized as as a distinct mineral species, though it is identical to Cyanotrichite and virtually indistinguishable.

Uses

Cyanotrichite is an uncommon copper mineral, and is a very minor copper ore. It is popular as a micromount mineral.

Noteworthy Localities

European localities for Cyanotrichite include Cap Garonne and Salsigne, France; Wheal Basset, Cornwall, England; and Lavrion, Greece. One of the best producers of this mineral is in the Vieja Mine in Potrerillos, Chanaral Province, Chile. Good Cyanotrichite also comes from Qinglong, Guizhou Province, China.

In the U.S., Cyanotrichite has several good localities in Arizona, specifically the Grandview Mine near the Grand Canyon, in Concino Co.; the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Cochise Co.; and the Maid of Sunshine Mine, Cortland, Cochise Co. Cyanotrichite also comes from the American Eagle Mine in the Tintic District in Juab Co., Utah; the Peacock Mine, Lemhi Co., Idaho; and the Majuba Hill mine, Pershing Co., Nevada.

Common Mineral Associations

Malachite, Azurite, Brochantite, Smithsonite

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Aurichalcite - Greener color.
Azurite - Usually darker blue.

cyanotrichite Photos



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