Editorial Feature

Sengierite - Occurrence, Properties, and Distribution

Sengierite is a monoclinic-prismatic mineral containing oxygen, copper, hydrogen, uranium, and vanadium.

The mineral was named after Edgard Sengier (1879–1963), the Director of Union Mini`ere du Haut Katanga, which was the chief mining company in the former Belgian Congo.

Properties of Sengierite

The following are the key properties of sengierite:

  • Cell Data
    • Space group: P21/a
    • a = 10.599(5)
    • b = 8.093(4)
    • c = 10.085(9)
    • β = 103.42(6)°
    • Z = 2
  • Crystal Data
    • Monoclinic
    • Point group: 2/m
    • Crystals are six-sided thin plates, flattened on {001}, to 2 mm, showing {001}, {110}, {100}, {201}, {111}; as flaky coatings
    • X-ray powder pattern: 9.82 (vvs), 4.91 (vs), 3.735 (s), 3.197 (s), 3.179 (s), 3.144 (s), 3.094 (s)
  • Chemical Composition
    Elements Content 1 Content 2
    UO3 47.45 55.05
    V2O5 15.96 17.50
    CuO 14.82 15.31
    H2O 15.77 12.14
    (Fe, Al)2O3 1.43 -
    Total 95.43 100.00
  • Optical Properties
    • Optical class: Biaxial (–)
    • Pleochroism: X = bluish green to colorless; Y = olive-green
    • to greenish yellow; Z = yellowish green to colorless
    • Orientation: Y = b; X ^ c = 13 °40’
    • Dispersion: r < v, strong
    • Absorption: Z = Y > X
    • α = 1.76–1.77
    • β = 1.92–1.94
    • γ = 1.94–1.97
    • 2V(meas.) = 37°–39°
  • Estimated Properties
    Electron density Bulk density (electron density)= 3.58 g/cm3
    note: Specific gravity of sengierite = 4.05 g/cm3
    Photoelectric PESengierite = 1,224.44 barns/electron
    U=PESengierite x ρelectron density= 4,381.14 barns/cm3
    Fermion index Fermion index = 0.0038029122
    Boson index = 0.9961970878
    GRapi = 3,566,751.97 (Gamma Ray American Petroleum Institute Units)
    Sengierite is radioactive

How to Identify Sengierite

Sengierite can be identified in the field by its green or yellow green color variations. The appearance of this mineral is transparent. It is a mineral with a vitreous-adamantine luster, cleavages, and a light green streak. The fractures in the mineral are brittle, and the crystals are blocky and prismatic. The density of sengierite is 4.05 g/cm3 and hardness is 2.5 approximate to a finger nail.

Global Distribution

Sengierite is widely distributed in the following locations:

  • Congo - From the Luiswishi copper mine, Lubumbashi; at Shinkolobwe and in the Ruiwe, Musonoi, and Mutoshi mines, Katanga Province
  • USA - From the Cole shaft, Bisbee, Cochise Co., Arizona, and the Section 33 mine, Grants district, McKinley Co., New Mexico
  • Argentina - In the Malarg¨ue district, Mendoza Province
  • Czech Republic - Bohemia, Hradec Králové Region, Rozmital
  • Germany - Baden-Württemberg, Black Forest, Rankach valley, Clara Mine
  • France - At the Rab´ejac uranium deposit, seven km south-southeast of Lod`eve, H´erault
  • Morocco - From the Argana Bigoudine area, Amelal.

Occurrence of Sengierite and Useful Mineral Association

Sengierite is often associated with minerals such as vandenbrandeite, chrysocolla, vlborthite, malachite, cobalt oxides (Luiswishi mine, Congo); covellite, malachite, chalcocite, tyuyamunite, chlorargyrite (Cole shaft, Arizona, USA).

Sengierite occurs as a rare secondary mineral, deposited from solutions derived from primary uraninite.


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