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Earth Treasures: Chalcanthite

By Chisom Ibemere

Chalcanthite, also known as blue copper, is a mineral that was first discovered in Chile in the 15th century.

The name “chalcanthite” comes from the Greek words “chalkos” and “anthos,” meaning “copper flower.”

Chalcanthite occurs in the oxidized zones of copper deposits in many parts of the world such as Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

It’s formation was as a result of secondary mineral in copper deposits, and can also be found in geothermal areas and salt mines.

Chalcanthite has a number of industrial application, primarily as a source of copper and as a component of pigments, such as ceramic glazes.

It is also used for its blue color in dyes, pigments, and as an indicator in analytical chemistry.

Chalcanthite is composed of hydrated copper sulfate with a distinctive bright blue color and a vitreous, slightly shiny texture. It is soluble in water and is highly toxic if ingested or inhaled. It has a Mohs hardness of 2.5-3.0, making it relatively soft.

Chalcanthite is not wide in application and may not have a significant global value. As a source of copper and used in small quantities in a number of industrial and commercial applications, it does have some economic value.

The primary value of chalcanthite comes from its use in pigments and dyes, as well as its use in analytical chemistry.

The market for chalcanthite is relatively small and specialized, and its value is primarily determined by the demand for its specific uses.


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