Virtual museum of Canada
Collections from Storage: A Visit to our Hidden Treasures

Chalcocite and Malachite

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This rock contains two minerals that are often found in association with copper ore deposits: chalcocite, a copper sulfide, dark grey in colour, and malachite, a copper carbonate, the colour of which varies from pale to dark green. This sample comes from Grand Manan, an island off the coast of New Brunswick, where a copper mine was in operation at the end of the XIXth century. The ore was shipped to England.

The oxidation of copper and the presence of iron explain the green colour and the shadings of iridescent blue of this specimen. The common French name for subcarbonate of copper is "vert-de-gris", for its grey-green colour; "verdigris" in English. It is not to be confused with the green of the malachite which has no relation to it, except by colour, because it is an organic molecule.

A rock composed of two minerals : chalcocite, grey in colour, and malachite, which is green.

Credits : Musée de la nature et des sciences, Sherbrooke

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