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Cotunnite nymonh.jpg
CategoryHalide mineral
(repeating unit)
IMA symbolCot[1]
Strunz classification3.DC.85
Crystal systemOrthorhombic
Crystal classDipyramidal (mmm)
H-M symbol: (2/m 2/m 2/m)
Space groupPnam
Unit cella = 7.6222(5) Å,
b = 9.0448(7) Å,
c = 4.5348(4) Å; Z = 4
ColorColorless to white, pale green, pale yellow
Crystal habitAs elongated, flattened prismatic crystals; in aggregates of radiating sprays; granular, crustiform or pseudomorphs
CleavagePerfect on {010}
TenacitySlightly sectile
Mohs scale hardness2.5
LusterAdamantine, silky to pearly
DiaphaneityTransparent to opaque
Specific gravity5.80
Optical propertiesBiaxial (+)
Refractive indexnα = 2.199 nβ = 2.217 nγ = 2.260
Birefringenceδ = 0.061
2V angleMeasured: 67°
SolubilitySlight in water

Cotunnite is the natural mineral form of lead(II) chloride with formula PbCl2.

It was first described in 1825 from an occurrence on Mount Vesuvius, Naples Province, Campania, Italy.[3] It was named for Domenico Cotugno (Cotunnius) (1736–1822), Italian physician and Professor of Anatomy.[2]

It was first recognized in volcanic fumarole deposits. It occurs as a secondary alteration product in lead ore deposits. It has also been reported as an alteration of archaeological objects that contain lead.[2][5]

It occurs in association with galena, cerussite, anglesite and matlockite in the Caracoles, Chile. At the Tolbachik volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia it occurs with the rare to uncommon minerals tenorite, ponomarevite, sofiite, burnsite, ilinskite, georgbokite, chloromenite, halite, sylvite and native gold.[2]


  1. ^ Warr, L.N. (2021). "IMA–CNMNC approved mineral symbols". Mineralogical Magazine. 85 (3): 291–320. Bibcode:2021MinM...85..291W. doi:10.1180/mgm.2021.43. S2CID 235729616.
  2. ^ a b c d Handbook of Mineralogy
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Webmineral data
  5. ^ Late-Hellenistic shipwreck, Mahdia, Tunisia, (Mindat locality)