Editorial Feature

Chalcostibite - Occurrence, Properties, and Distribution

Chalcostibite is a lead-gray mineral, consisting of copper sulfide. The mineral was first identified in Wolfsberg, in the Hartz Mountains in 1847. Its name derives from the Greek words chalkos and stibi, which mean copper and antimony respectively.

Properties of Chalcostibite

The following are the key properties of Chalcostibite:

  • Cell Data
    • Space Group: Pnam
    • a = 6.02
    • b = 14.49
    • c = 3.79
    • Z = 4

  • Crystal Data
    • Orthorhombic
    • Point Group: 2/m 2/m 2/m
    • Bladed crystals, to 16cm, flattened || {010}; massive, disseminated and intergrown with other sulfides and sulfosalts
    • Twinning: Twin and composition planes {104}
    • X-ray Powder Pattern: 3.13 (10), 3.00 (9), 1.762 (5), 2.31 (4), 1.831 (4), 2.12 (3), 1.895 (3)

  • Chemical Composition
    Elements Content 1 Content 2
    Cu 24.72 25.48
    Sb 48.45 48.81
    S 26.20 25.71
    Total 99.37 100

  • Optical Properties
    • Pleochroism: Feeble in air, somewhat stronger in oil
    • Anisotropism: Observed

  • Estimated Properties
    Electron density Bulk density (electron density) = 4.48 g/cm3
    note: Specific gravity of Chalcostibite = 4.99 g/cm3
    Photoelectric PEChalcostibite = 173.24 barns/electron
    U= PEChalcostibite x ρElectron density = 776.33 barns/cm3
    Fermion index Fermion index = 0.001
    Boson index = 0.998
    Chalcostibite is not radioactive

How to Identify Chalcostibite

Chalcostibite occurs in dark gray, blue-gray, or lead-gray colors. It is non-fluorescent, and has a metallic luster, black streak, and good cleavage. It exhibits brittle fractures, as displayed by glasses and most of the other non-metallic minerals. It can be formed as massive granular or euhedral crystals.

The average density of the mineral is 4.87 g/cm3, and its hardness is 3.5.

Global Distribution

Chalcostibite is distributed in the following places:

  • Wolfsberg, in the Harz Mountains, Germany
  • Capileira, Sierra Nevada, Granada Province, Spain
  • Saint-Pons, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France
  • Saint Gestraudi, near Brixlegg, Tirol, Austria
  • Baia Mare and Baia Sprie, Romania
  • Tereksai, Kyrgyzstan
  • Rar el Anz, Wadi of Cherrat, east of Casablanca, Morocco
  • Pulacayo mine, Huanchaca, Bolivia
  • Tapi near Tupiza
  • Macayan, Philippines
  • Mt. Washington copper mine, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
  • Porter property, Carbon Hill, Wheaton district, Yukon Territory, Canada
  • Moctezuma mine, 12km south of Moctezuma, Sonora, Mexico

Occurrence of Chalcostibite and Useful Mineral Association

Chalcostibite occurs as a combination of sulfosalts and sulfides in hydrothermal veins.

The minerals that are closely associated with chalcostibite include barite, siderite, dadsonite, stannite, andorite, stibnite, tetrahedrite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, and jamesonite.


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