Lightly iridescent bornite crystal on quartz needles from Kazakhstan (size: 3.6 x 2.2 x 1.2 cm)
|Crystal symmetry||Orthorhombic (2/m 2/m 2/m)|
|Unit cell||a = 10.95 Å, b = 21.862 Å, c = 10.95 Å; Z = 16|
|Formula mass||501.88 g/mol|
|Color||Copper red, bronze brown, purple|
|Crystal habit||Granular, massive, disseminated - Crystals pseudocubic, dodecahedral, octahedral|
|Crystal system||Orthorhombic - Dipyramidal|
|Twinning||Penetration twins on |
|Cleavage||Imperfect on |
|Mohs scale hardness||3 - 3.25|
|Specific gravity||4.9 - 5.3|
|Pleochroism||Weak but noticeable|
|Other characteristics||Magnetic after heating, iridescent|
Bornite has a brown to copper-red color on fresh surfaces that tarnishes to various iridescent shades of blue to purple in places. Its striking iridescence gives it the nickname peacock copper or peacock ore.
Bornite is an important copper ore mineral and occurs widely in porphyry copper deposits along with the more common chalcopyrite. Chalcopyrite and bornite are both typically replaced by chalcocite and covellite in the supergene enrichment zone of copper deposits. Bornite is also found as disseminations in mafic igneous rocks, in contact metamorphic skarn deposits, in pegmatites and in sedimentary cupriferous shales. It is important as an ore for its copper content of about 63 percent by mass.
It occurs globally in copper ores with notable crystal localities in Butte, Montana and at Bristol, Connecticut in the U. S. It is also collected from the Carn Brea mine, Illogan, and elsewhere in Cornwall, England. Large crystals are found from the Frossnitz Alps, eastern Tirol, Austria; the Mangula mine, Lomagundi district, Zimbabwe; from the N’ouva mine, Talate, Morocco, the West Coast of Tasmania and in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. There are also traces of it found amongst the hematite in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
History and etymology
It was first described in 1725 for an occurrence in the Krušné Hory Mountains (Erzgebirge), Karlovy Vary Region, Bohemia in what is now the Czech Republic. It was named in 1845 for Austrian mineralogist Ignaz von Born (1742–1791).
- Palache, C., H. Berman, and C. Frondel (1944) Dana’s system of mineralogy, (7th edition), v. I, 195–197.
- Manning, P.G. (1966) A study of the bonding Properties of Sulphur in Bornite, The Canadian Mineralogist, 9, 85-94
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