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Tenorite - USGS Mineral Specimens 1083.jpg
A sample of tenorite
Category Oxide mineral
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 4.AB.10
Crystal system Monoclinic
Crystal class Prismatic (2/m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space group C2/c
Unit cell a = 4.6837(5) Å
b = 3.4226(5) Å
c = 5.1288(6) Å; β = 99.47°; Z = 4
Color Steel-gray, iron-gray, black
Crystal habit Lathlike crystals, curved, scaly, dendritic; commonly pulverulent, earthy, massive
Twinning Common on {011}, forming stellate groups; lamellar
Cleavage Poor to indistinct
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Tenacity Brittle; flexible and elastic in thin scales
Mohs scale hardness 3.5 - 4
Luster Metallic to earthy
Streak Black
Diaphaneity Opaque, thin flakes transparent
Specific gravity 6.5
Optical properties Biaxial +
Pleochroism Distinct; light to dark brown
References [1][2][3]

Tenorite is a copper oxide mineral with the simple formula CuO.


Tenorite with azurite from Nischne Tagilsk, Urals, Russia

Tenorite occurs in the weathered or oxidized zone associated with deeper primary copper sulfide orebodies. Tenorite commonly occurs with chrysocolla and the copper carbonates, azurite and malachite. The dull grey-black color of tenorite contrasts sharply with the often intergrown blue chrysocolla. Cuprite, native copper and FeMn oxides also occur in this environment.[1]

In addition to the hydrothermal, tenorite also occurs as a volcanic sublimate from Vesuvius, Campania, and Etna, Sicily, Italy. As a sublimate it occurs with copper chlorides, alkali chlorides and cotunnite.[1] The Vesuvian sublimate occurrence was originally named melaconise or melaconite by F. S. Beudant in 1832.[4]

Tenorite was named in 1841 after the Italian botanist Michele Tenore (1780–1861).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. ^ Webmineral data
  3. ^ a b Mindat
  4. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press