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About TetrahedriteHide

X = Fe2+ or Zn
Steel- to iron-gray
3½ - 4
Specific Gravity:
Crystal System:
Renamed in 1845 by Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger because of the common tetrahedral form of its crystals. Originally called argentum rude album by Georgius Agricola (Georg Bauer) in 1546 because it contained silver, although it may not have necessarily been silver-dominant as a related mineral, freibergite, is. Named Fahlerts and other names by Johan Gottschalk Wallerius in 1747, while in 1758, Axel Cronstedt used the spelling fahlerz and also used a multi-word chemical descriptive for the mineral. Fahlerts/fahlerz is derived from German fahl = ash-colored and erz = ore in allusion to its grayish black color.
Either tetrahedrite-(Fe) or tetrahedrite-(Zn) since new tetrahedrite-group nomenclature was established in 2019 (IMA 18-K proposal).
Note that although the formula of tetrahedrite in books and databases is/was generally given with ...(Fe,Zn)..., i.e conforming to Fe-dominance, both Fe- and Zn-dominant phases have been known for many decades.

Tennantite-Tetrahedrite Series, and the Freibergite-Tetrahedrite Series.
Compare 'UM1982-11-S:CuFeSb' - a possible ordered counterpart.

Classification of TetrahedriteHide

Redefined by the IMA

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
G : Sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites
B : Neso-sulfarsenites, etc. with additional S

3 : 3 <ø < 4

5 : Sulphosalts - Sulpharsenites and Sulphobismuthites (those containing Sn, Ge,or V are in Section 6)
1 : Sulpharsenites etc. of Cu

Physical Properties of TetrahedriteHide

Steel- to iron-gray
Black, brown to dark red
3½ - 4 on Mohs scale
VHN100=312 - 351 kg/mm2 - Vickers
4.97 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.99 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of TetrahedriteHide

Colour in reflected light:
Grey to olive brown
n greater than 2.72

Chemical Properties of TetrahedriteHide


X = Fe2+ or Zn
IMA Formula:
Common Impurities:

Chemical AnalysisHide

Oxide wt%:
Thomas Gemmell's analysiAg0.27)6(Ag4.16Fe1.85Zn0 %
Total:0 %
Sample references:
1Kidd Mine, Kidd Township, Timmins area, Cochrane District, Ontario, CanadaThomas Gemmell 2013 M.Sc. Thesis

Crystallography of TetrahedriteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
4 3m - Hextetrahedral
Space Group:
I4 3m
Cell Parameters:
a = 10.39(16) Å
Unit Cell V:
1,121.62 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Tetrahedral crystals, massive
On {111} and around [111] twin axis.

Crystallographic forms of TetrahedriteHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Tetrahedrite no.34 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Tetrahedrite - Penetration twin on [111]
Tetrahedrite - {111}, modified
Tetrahedrite - {211}
Tetrahedrite - {111}, modified
Tetrahedrite - {111}, {110}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by

Edge Lines | Miller Indices | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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

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.

First Recorded Occurrence of TetrahedriteHide

Synonyms of TetrahedriteHide

Other Language Names for TetrahedriteHide

Varieties of TetrahedriteHide

ApthoniteA variety of tetrahedrite with a high silver content.
Compare argentotetrahedrite-(Fe) and related silver-rich members of the tetrahedrite group.
Argentian Tetrahedrite
Argentiferous Auriferous TetrahedriteA Ag- and Au-bearing variety of tetrahedrite.
Arsenical TetrahedriteAn arsenic-bearing tetrahedrite.
Bismuthian TetrahedriteA Bi-bearing variety of tetrahedrite.
Cd-FreibergiteA cadmium-rich variety of tetrahedrite (and not of freibergite as the name suggests).
Cobaltoan TetrahedriteProbably a mixture.
CoppiteOriginally described as a ferroan variety of tetrahedrite.
Probably simply tetrahedrite-(Fe) in the modern nomenclature scheme.
FrigiditeA nickel-bearing variety of tetrahedrite. Probably a mixture.
KobaltfahlerzA Co-bearing (and Bi-bearing) variety of tetrahedrite. Co reported to 4%.
Probably a mixture.
MalinowskitA supposed plumbian variety of tetrahedrite (but possibly a mixture).
Mercurian TetrahedriteA mercury-bearing variety of tetrahedrite, if Zn/Fe>Hg.
NOTE: If the material is Hg-dominant, it is tetrahedrite-(Hg).

Relationship of Tetrahedrite to other SpeciesHide

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
695 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with QuartzSiO2
368 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with PyriteFeS2
263 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
220 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with RhodochrositeMnCO3
168 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with SphaleriteZnS
113 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with CalciteCaCO3
106 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with SideriteFeCO3
96 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with GalenaPbS
86 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2
78 photos of Tetrahedrite associated with FluoriteCaF2

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

2.GB.05Argentotennantite-(Zn)Ag6(Cu4Zn2)As4S12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05Freibergite(Ag,Cu,◻)10Fe2+2Sb4S12Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05GirauditeCu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2As4Se12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05Goldfieldite(Cu102)Te4S12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05Hakite-(Hg)Cu6Cu4Hg2Sb4Se12SeIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05TennantiteCu6(Cu4X2)As4S12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.05Argentotetrahedrite-(Fe)Ag6(Cu4Fe2)Sb4S12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
2.GB.10StephaniteAg5SbS4Orth. mm2 : Cmc21
2.GB.15Pearceite[Ag9CuS4][(Ag,Cu)6(As,Sb)2S7]Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
2.GB.15Polybasite[(Ag,Cu)6(Sb,As)2S7][Ag9CuS4]Mon. 2/m : B2/m
2.GB.15Selenopolybasite[(Ag,Cu)6(Sb,As)2(S,Se)7][Ag9Cu(S,Se)2Se2]Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
2.GB.15Cupropearceite[Cu6As2S7][Ag9CuS4]Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
2.GB.15Cupropolybasite[Cu6Sb2S7][Ag9CuS4]Trig. 3m : P3 1m
2.GB.20Galkhaite(Cs,Tl)(Hg,Cu,Zn)6(As,Sb)4S12Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide 4 3m : I4 3m,Cu,◻)10Fe2+2Sb4S12Iso. 4 3m : I4 3m 4 3m : I4 3m,Zn)2As4Se12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m 4 3m : I4 3m 4 3m : I4 3m

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

5.1.1SinneriteCu6As4S9Tric. 1 : P1
5.1.2TennantiteCu6(Cu4X2)As4S12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
5.1.4ChalcostibiteCuSbS2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
5.1.6Goldfieldite(Cu102)Te4S12SIso. 4 3m : I4 3m
5.1.7EmplectiteCuBiS2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmna
5.1.8CuprobismutiteCu8AgBi13S24Mon. 2/m : B2/m
5.1.9WitticheniteCu3BiS3Orth. 2 2 2 : P21 21 21
5.1.11GirauditeCu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2As4Se12SIso. 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.

Tetrahedrite in petrologyHide

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

References for TetrahedriteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
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: 374-384.
Wuensch, B.J. (1964): The crystal structure of tetrahedrite. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 119: 437-453.
Wuensch, B.J. et al. (1966) Z. Kristallogr., 123, 1.
Skinner, B.J., Luce, F.D., Makovicky, E. (1972): Studies of the sulfosalts of copper III. Phases and phase relations in the system Cu-Sb-S. Econ. Geol. 67, 924-938.
Kalbskopf, R. (1972) Strukturverfeinerung des Freibergits. Tschermaks Mineralogische und Petrographische Mitteilungen 18, 147-155 (in German).
Tatsuka. K. & Morimoto, N. (1977): Tetrahedrite stability relations in the Cu-Fe-Sb-S system American Mineralogist 62, 1101-1109.
Johnson, N.E., Craig, J.R., Rimstidt, J.D. (1986) Compositional trends in tetrahedrites. Can. Mineral. 24, 385-397.
Mineralogical Magazine (1986) 50: 717.
Johnson, N.E., Craig, J.R., Rimstidt, J.D. (1988) Crystal chemistry of tetrahedrite. Am. Mineral. 73, 389-397.
Pfitzner, A. (1998) Z. Kristallogr.: 213: 228-236.
Foit, F.F. Jr., Ulbricht, M.E. (2001) Compositional variation in mercurian tetrahedrite-tennantite from epithermal deposits of the Steens and Pueblo Mountains, Harney County, Oregon. Can Mineral 39, 819-830.
Di Benedetto, F., Bernardini, G.P., Borrini, D., Emiliani, C., Cipriani, C., Danti, C., Caneschi, A., Gatteschi, D., Romanelli, M. (2002) Mineral chemistry of tetrahedrite solid solution: EPR and magnetic investigations. Can. Mineral. 40, 837-847.
Sack, R.O.; Lynch, J.V.G.; Foit, F., Jr. (2003): Fahlore as a petrogenetic indicator: Keno Hill Ag-Pb-Zn district, Yukon, Canada. Mineralogical Magazine 67, 1023-1038.
Kharbish, S., Libowitzky, E. and Beran, A. (2007) The effect of As-Sb substitution in the Raman spectra of tetrahedrite-tennantite and pyrargyrite-proustite solid solutions. European Journal of Mineralogy, 19, 567-574.
Moëlo, Y., Makovicky, E., Mozgova, N.N., Jambor, J.L., Cook, N., Pring, A., Paar, W., Nickel, E.H., Graeser, S., Karup-Møller, S.; Balić-Žunić, T.; Mumme, W.G., Vurro, F., Topa, D., Bindi, L., Bente, K., Shimizu, M. (2008) Sulfosalt systematics: a review. Report of the sulfosalt sub-committee of the IMA Commission on Ore Mineralogy. European Journal of Mineralogy, 20, 7-46. [on freibergite vs. tetrahedrite].
Friese, K., Grzechnik, A., Makovicky, E., Balić-Žunić, T., Karup-Møller, S (2008) Crystal structures of iron bearing tetrahedrite and tennantite at 25 and 250°C by means of Rietveld refinement of synchrotron data. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 35, 455-465.
George, L.L., Cook, N.J. and Ciobanu, C.L. (2017) Minor and trace elements in natural tetrahedrite-tennantite: effects on element partitioning among base metal sulphides. Minerals 7, 17 (25 pp.).
IMA proposal 18-K. Nomenclature and classification of the tetrahedrite group. CNMNC Newsletter No. 49, June 2019, page xxx; Mineralogical Magazine, 83: 323–328.

Internet Links for TetrahedriteHide

Localities for TetrahedriteHide

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.

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