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Langite from Podlipa and Reinera Mines, Slovakia
Category Copper minerals
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 7.DD.10
Dana classification
Crystal system Monoclinic
Crystal class Domatic (m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space group Pc
Unit cell a = 7.118, b = 6.031
c = 11.209 [Å]
β = 90.00−90.02°; Z = 2
Formula mass 488.32 g/mol
Color Greenish blue, sky-blue to bluish green
Crystal habit Crystals scaly, or as crusts; earthy
Twinning Common on {110}, typically repeated
Cleavage {001} perfect, {010} distinct
Fracture Uneven
Mohs scale hardness 2.5 to 3
Luster Vitreous, crusts silky
Streak Blue green
Diaphaneity Translucent
Specific gravity 3.28[2] 3.48 to 3.5[1] 3.5[3] 2.28 to 3.34[4]
Optical properties Biaxial (-) r>v weak
Refractive index nα = 1.708 nβ = 1.760 nγ = 1.798 [1]
Birefringence δ = 0.090
Pleochroism X = c = light yellowish green
Y = b = blue-green
Z = a = sky blue
Solubility Insoluble in water, easily soluble in dilute acids or NH4OH
Other characteristics May be altered to brochantite. Not radioactive
References [1][2][3][4]

Langite is a rare hydrated copper sulfate mineral, with hydroxyl, found almost exclusively in druses of small crystals. It is formed from the oxidation of copper sulfides, and was first described in specimens from Cornwall, England. It is dimorphous with wroewolfeite. Langite was discovered in 1864 and named after the physicist and crystallographer Viktor von Lang (1838–1921), who was Professor of Physics at the University of Vienna, Austria.[1]

Unit cell[edit]

Langite belongs to the monoclinic crystal class m, meaning that it has just one mirror plane, and no axes of rotational symmetry. The crystal is built up of identical unit cells stacked together, with no space in between. The unit cell for the monoclinic system has a base which is a rhombus, with sides a and c inclined at angle β. The third side b is perpendicular to both a and c. For langite the angle β is very close to 90°, so the unit cell is almost brick-shaped (as for the orthorhombic system). Different sources give slightly different values for the unit cell parameters, but they all fall within the ranges a = 7.118 Å to 7.137 Å, b = 6.031 Å to 6.034 Å, c = 11.209 Å to 11.217 Å, β = 90.00 to 90.02°, Z (the number of formula units per unit cell) = 2.[1][2][3][4]

Physical properties[edit]

Langite usually occurs as druses of small greenish-blue crystals which may be scaly or earthy. It is translucent, with a vitreous to silky luster and a blue-green streak. It has perfect cleavage perpendicular to the c crystal axis, and distinct cleavage perpendicular to b. Twinning is common, and typically repeated to give snowflake or star shaped groupings.[1][4] The mineral is soft, with hardness 2.5 to 3, a little less than that of calcite. Fracture is uneven, and specific gravity is in the range 3.28 to 3.50,[1][2][3][4] a little less than that of diamond.

Optical properties[edit]

Langite is biaxial (-). Since it is monoclinic, it has three different refractive indices, corresponding to the three crystallographic directions. All the refractive indices are in the range 1.64 to 1.80, which is comparatively large, almost as high as garnet. Different sources give these values:

Nx=1.641, Ny=1.690, Nz=1.712[2]
Nx=1.708, Ny=1.760, Nz=1.798[1][3]
Nx=1.641 to 1.654, Ny=1.690 to 1.713, Nz=1.705 to 1.722[4]
Nx=1.641, Ny=1.690, Nz=1.705 to 1.712[5]

The mineral is pleochroic, with X light yellowish green, Y blue-green and Z sky blue.[1]


Langite is an uncommon but widespread secondary mineral in the oxidised zone of copper sulfide deposits, which may be of post-mine formation. It is associated with wroewolfeite, posnjakite, serpierite, devilline, chalcophyllite, connellite, brochantite, malachite and gypsum.[4]

There are two type localities for langite, Fowey Consols, Tywardreath, Par Area, St Austell District, and St Just, St Just District, both in Cornwall, England. The type material is conserved at the Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria, reference A.a.4353.

Other reported occurrences include:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  2. ^ a b c d e Gaines et al (1997) Dana’s New Mineralogy Eighth Edition, Wiley
  3. ^ a b c d e Webmineral data
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Handbook of Mineralogy
  5. ^ American Mineralogist (1964) 49:1143
  6. ^ Australian Journal of Mineralogy (2004) 10-1:3
  7. ^ Australian Journal of Mineralogy (1997) 3-1:43
  8. ^ The Mineralogical Record (2004) 35-4:357
  9. ^ Mines & Minerals (2005)25:6
  10. ^ Rocks & Minerals (2009) 84-4:321

External links[edit]