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Covellite

This page kindly sponsored by Mark Kucera
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About CovelliteHide

Formula:
CuS
"Extended" formula is Cu+4Cu2+2(S2)2S2 (Goble, 1985).
Colour:
Indigo-blue or darker, inclining towards blue-black, often iridescent with purplish, deep red, and brassy-yellow reflections.
Lustre:
Sub-Metallic
Hardness:
1½ - 2
Specific Gravity:
4.6 - 4.76
Crystal System:
Hexagonal
Name:
Named in 1832 by Francois Sulpice Beudant in honor of Niccolo Covelli (January 20, 1790, Cajazzo, Italy - November 15, 1829), an Italian mineralogist and discoverer of the mineral at Mount Vesuvius.
Usually as indigo-blue massive metallic material, sometimes with crystals on exposed surfaces (those often spheroidal). Good crystals extremely rare.

A possible precursor mineral is known: 'Unnamed (Covellite-like Mineral)'.

Covellite is almost certainly NOT cupric (Cu(II)) sulfide. Goble (1985) has suggested the "extended" formula being Cu+4Cu2+2(S2)2S2. However, later studies (Liang & Whangbo, 1993) show, that this compound contains monovalent Cu atoms exclusively and the actual formula is most likely (Cu+)3(S2-)(S2)-.

Compare UM2003-44-S:CuPdPt.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Covellite.


Classification of CovelliteHide

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

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
C : Metal Sulfides, M: S = 1: 1 (and similar)
A : With Cu
Dana 7th ed.:
2.8.12.1
2.8.12.1

2 : SULFIDES
8 : AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
3.1.8

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
1 : Sulphides etc. of Cu

Physical Properties of CovelliteHide

Sub-Metallic
Transparency:
Opaque
Colour:
Indigo-blue or darker, inclining towards blue-black, often iridescent with purplish, deep red, and brassy-yellow reflections.
Streak:
Shiny metallic, lead-grey to black
Hardness:
1½ - 2 on Mohs scale
Hardness:
VHN100=128 - 138 kg/mm2 - Vickers
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Flexible
Cleavage:
Perfect
Perfect on {0001}.
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Hackly
Density:
4.6 - 4.76 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.602 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of CovelliteHide

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.450 nε = 2.620
Max Birefringence:
δ = 1.170
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Anisotropism:
Strong
Dispersion:
Strong
Pleochroism:
Visible
Comments:
Deep blue to blue-white

Chemical Properties of CovelliteHide

Formula:
CuS

"Extended" formula is Cu+4Cu2+2(S2)2S2 (Goble, 1985).
Emperical Formula (of original material):
Cu0.99S1.00
Common Impurities:
Fe,Se,Ag,Pb

Crystallography of CovelliteHide

Crystal System:
Hexagonal
Class (H-M):
6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) - Dihexagonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
P63/mmc
Cell Parameters:
a = 3.7938 Å, c = 16.341 Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 4.307
Unit Cell V:
203.7 ų
Z:
6
Morphology:
Hexagonal plates {001}, with pyramidal faces striated horizontally and hexagonal striations on the base. Common forms: {001}, {104}, {103}, {308}, {102}, {9/0/16}, {5.08}, {101} and {201}. Less common to rare: {1.0.16}, {1.0.12}, {3.0.32}, {108}, {106}, {3.0.16}, {105}, {205}, {203}, {304}, {15.0.16} and {908}.
Twinning:
None reported.

Crystallographic forms of CovelliteHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Covellite - Tabular {001}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Crystal StructureHide

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IDSpeciesReferenceLinkYearLocalityPressure (GPa)Temp (K)
0000065CovelliteBerry L G (1954) The crystal structure of covellite, CuS and klockmannite, CuSe American Mineralogist 39 504-5091954Leonard mine, Butte, Montana, USA0293
0000534CovelliteEvans H T, Konnert J A (1976) Crystal structure refinement of covellite American Mineralogist 61 996-10001976Summitville, Colorado0293
0017675CovelliteOftedal I (1932) Die Kristallstruktur des Covellins CuS Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 83 9-251932Sardinia, Italy0293
0010940CovelliteTakeuchi Y, Kudoh Y, Sato G (1985) The crystal structure of covellite CuS under high pressure up to 33 kbar Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 173 119-1281985Kosaka mine, Akita Prefecture, Japan0.1293
0010941CovelliteTakeuchi Y, Kudoh Y, Sato G (1985) The crystal structure of covellite CuS under high pressure up to 33 kbar Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 173 119-1281985Kosaka mine, Akita Prefecture, Japan1.2293
0010942CovelliteTakeuchi Y, Kudoh Y, Sato G (1985) The crystal structure of covellite CuS under high pressure up to 33 kbar Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 173 119-1281985Kosaka mine, Akita Prefecture, Japan1.8293
0010943CovelliteTakeuchi Y, Kudoh Y, Sato G (1985) The crystal structure of covellite CuS under high pressure up to 33 kbar Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 173 119-1281985Kosaka mine, Akita Prefecture, Japan2.1293
0010944CovelliteTakeuchi Y, Kudoh Y, Sato G (1985) The crystal structure of covellite CuS under high pressure up to 33 kbar Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 173 119-1281985Kosaka mine, Akita Prefecture, Japan3.3293
0010979CovelliteFjellvag H, Gronvold F, Stolen S, Andresen A F, Mueller-Kaefer R, Simon A (1988) Low-temperature structural distortion in CuS Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 184 111-1211988synthetic0293
0010980CovelliteFjellvag H, Gronvold F, Stolen S, Andresen A F, Mueller-Kaefer R, Simon A (1988) Low-temperature structural distortion in CuS Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 184 111-1211988synthetic0293
0010981CovelliteFjellvag H, Gronvold F, Stolen S, Andresen A F, Mueller-Kaefer R, Simon A (1988) Low-temperature structural distortion in CuS Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie 184 111-1211988synthetic0293
0017645CovelliteRoberts H, Ksanda C (1929) The Crystal Structure of Covellite _cod_database_code 1010920 American Journal of Science 17 489-50319290293
0014418CovelliteOhmasa M, Suzuki M, Takeuchi Y (1977) A refinement of the crystal structure of covellite, CuS Mineralogical Journal 8 311-3191977Kosaka mine, Akita Prefecture, Japan0293
0015657CovelliteKalbskopf R, Pertlik F, Zemann J (1975) Verfeinerung der kristallstruktur des covellins, CuS, mit einkristalldaten Tschermaks Mineralogische und Petrographische Mitteilungen 22 242-24919750293
CIF Raw Data - click here to close

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:
d-spacingIntensity
3.22 Å(30)
3.05 Å(70)
2.81 Å(100)
2.72 Å(60)
2.32 Å(10)
1.90 Å(80)
1.74 Å(40)
1.57 Å(20)
1.56 Å(40)

Geological EnvironmentHide

Geological Setting:
Usually found as a secondary copper mineral in copper deposits, more rarely as a primary mineral of such deposits, and only very rarely as a volcanic sublimate (such as at Mount Vesuvius.)

Type Occurrence of CovelliteHide

Geological Setting of Type Material:
Igneous extrusive, as a volcanic sublimate on Mount Vesuvius.

Synonyms of CovelliteHide

Other Language Names for CovelliteHide

Varieties of CovelliteHide

Argentian CovelliteA silver-bearing variety of covellite.
Selenian Covellite

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
119 photos of Covellite associated with QuartzSiO2
115 photos of Covellite associated with PyriteFeS2
110 photos of Covellite associated with ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
59 photos of Covellite associated with CalciteCaCO3
41 photos of Covellite associated with MalachiteCu2(CO3)(OH)2
35 photos of Covellite associated with BorniteCu5FeS4
34 photos of Covellite associated with Plumosite
28 photos of Covellite associated with ChalcociteCu2S
25 photos of Covellite associated with SulphurS8
22 photos of Covellite associated with MarcasiteFeS2

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

2.CA.05bKlockmanniteCuSeHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
2.CA.05cSpionkopiteCu39S28Trig.
2.CA.05dYarrowiteCu9S8Trig.
2.CA.10NukundamiteCu3.33Fe0.66S4Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
2.CA.15CalvertiteCu5Ge0.5S4Iso. 4 3m : F4 3m

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

2.8.12.2KlockmanniteCuSeHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

3.1.1ChalcociteCu2SMon. 2/m : P21/b
3.1.2DjurleiteCu31S16Mon. 2/m
3.1.3DigeniteCu9S5Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
3.1.4AniliteCu7S4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
3.1.5RoxbyiteCu9S5Tric. 1 : P1
3.1.6SpionkopiteCu39S28Trig.
3.1.7GeeriteCu8S5Trig. 3
3.1.9BerzelianiteCu2SeIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
3.1.10BellidoiteCu2SeTet. 4/m : P42/n
3.1.11UmangiteCu3Se2Tet.
3.1.12YarrowiteCu9S8Trig.
3.1.13AthabascaiteCu5Se4Orth.
3.1.14KlockmanniteCuSeHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
3.1.15Krut'aiteCuSe2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.1.16WeissiteCu2-xTeHex.
3.1.17RickarditeCu7Te5Orth.
3.1.18VulcaniteCuTeOrth.
3.1.19BambollaiteCu(Se,Te)2Tet.
3.1.20LautiteCuAsSOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnma
3.1.21MgriiteCu3AsSe3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m)
3.1.22CubaniteCuFe2S3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
3.1.23BorniteCu5FeS4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbca
3.1.24FukuchiliteCu3FeS8Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.1.25ChalcopyriteCuFeS2Tet. 4 2m : I4 2d
3.1.26MooihoekiteCu9Fe9S16Tet.
3.1.27HaycockiteCu4Fe5S8Orth. 2 2 2
3.1.28IsocubaniteCuFe2S3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
3.1.29IdaiteCu5FeS6Hex.
3.1.30NukundamiteCu3.33Fe0.66S4Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
3.1.31PutoraniteCu1.1Fe1.2S2Iso.
3.1.32Orickite2CuFeS2 · H2OHex.
3.1.33EskeborniteCuFeSe2Tet.
3.1.34Chaméanite(Cu,Fe)4As(Se,S)4Iso.
3.1.35TalnakhiteCu9(Fe,Ni)8S16Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m

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.
Industrial Uses:
An ore of copper, sometimes of major importance but more typically a lesser one.

Covellite in petrologyHide

An essential component of rock names highlighted in red, an accessory component in rock names highlighted in green.

References for CovelliteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Freiesleben (1815) 3: 129 (as Blaues Kupferglas).
Breithaupt (1817) In: Hoffmann: 4b: 178 (as Kupferindig).
Covelli, N. (1827) Sur le Bisulfure de Cuivre qui se forme actuellement dans le
Vesuve (1826) Ann. Chim. Vol. XXXV, 105-111, Paris.
Covelli., N. (1827) Über das gegenwärtig am Vesuv sich bildende Doppelt-Schwefelkupfer, Annalen der Physik und Chemie: 86: 494-498.
Beudant, F.S. (1832) Sulfure de cuivre du Vésuve. in Traité Élémentaire de Minéralogie, 2nd Edition, (Paris): 409-410.
Rogers, A.F. (1911) A new synthesis and new occurrences of covellite. Columbia University School of Mines Quarterly: 32: 298-304.
Thompson, A.P. (1916). The occurrence of covellite at Butte, Montana (with discussions). Transactions of the American Institutetute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers: 52: 563-603.
Halferdahl, A.C. (1927) Thermal Decomposition of Covellite and Pyrite. Min. and Met.: 8: 468.
Roberts, H.S., Ksanda, C.J. (1929) The crystal structure of covellite. American Journal of Science: 102: 489-503.
Oftedal, I. (1932) Die Kristallstruktur des Covellins (CuS).. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 83: 9-25.
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, 834pp.: 248-251.
Ramdohr, Paul (1969) The Ore Minerals and their Intergrowths, Pergamon Press, pp. 1174.
Mathieu, H.J., Rickert, H. (1972) Elektrochemisch-thermodynamische Untersuchungen am System Kupfer-Schwefel bei Temperaturen T = 15-90°C. Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie Neue Folge: 79: 315-330.
Kalbskopf, R., Pertlik, F., Zemann, J. (1975) Verfeinerung der kristallstruktur des covellins, CuS, mit einkristalldaten. Tschermaks Mineralogische und Petrographische Mitteilungen: 22: 242-249.
Ohmasa, M., Suzuki, M., Takéuchi, Y. (1976) A refinement of the crystal structure of covellite, CuS. Mineralogical Journal: 8: 311-319.
Evans, H.T., Konnert, J.A. (1976) Crystal structure refinement of covellite. American Mineralogist: 61: 996-1000.
Potter, R.W. II (1977) An electrochemical investigation of the system copper-sulfur. Economic Geology: 72: 1524-1542.
Evans, H.T. (1981) Copper coordination in low chalcocite djurleite and other copper-rich sulfides. American Mineralogist: 66: 807-818.
Goble, R.J. (1985) The relationship between crystal structure, bonding and cell dimensions in the copper sulfides. The Canadian Mineralogist: 23: 61–76.
Takéuchi, Y., Kudoh, Y., Sato, G. (1985) The crystal structure of covellite CuS under high pressure up to 33 kbar. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 173: 119-128.
Fjellvåg, H., Grønvold, F., Stølen, S., Andresen, A.F., Müller-Käfer, R., Simon, A. (1988) Low-temperature structural distortion in CuS. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 184: 111-121.
Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (1990) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume I. Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 588pp.: 112.
Liang, W., Whangbo, M.H. (1993) Conductivity anisotropy and structural phase transition in Covellite CuS. Solid State Communications: 85(5): 405–408.
Wang, N. (1994) The Cu-Bi-S system: results from low-temperature experiments. Mineralogical Magazine: 58: 201-214. [on Bi solubility in CuS, and metastable solid solution series Cu10Bi2S13]
Peiris, S.M., Sweeney, J.S., Campbell, A.J., Heinz, D.L. (1996) Pressure-induced amorphization of covellite, CuS. The Journal of Chemical Physics: 104: 11-16.
Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig, Vandall T. King (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy: The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 79.
Cook, R. (2006) Connoisseur's Choice: Covellite Summitville, Rio Grande County, Colorado. Rocks & Minerals: 81: 296-300.
Tezuka, K., Sheets, W.C., Kurihara, R., Shan, Y.J., Imoto, H., Marks, T.J., Poeppelmeier, K.R. (2007) Synthesis of covellite (CuS) from the elements. Solid State Sciences: 9(1): 95-99.

Internet Links for CovelliteHide

Localities for CovelliteHide

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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