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Chalcanthite disintegrates?

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The annual rock and mineral fair was held for about 7 hours today so I decided to go. The moment I walked through the door, my eyes layed sight on a billantly blue spire of what looked like a colored version of ulextite 'tv stone' it was a natural mineral i have never heard of called "Chalcanthite". Of course it was the first thing I bought being that blue is my favorite color. So when I got back home I researched it and found it was simply copper sulphate (which made me understand why something so eyecatching fit within my budget). Supposedly it decays over time due to it's extreme soluability in water and humidity traped inside it and all around it. Immediately i put a pinch of salt and about 20 graind of rice under the styrofoam base it stood to proudly on and closed the small plastic bin and cover, taping the seam afterwards. I have a few questions that will go un-answered so i hope some of you know about it.

Will it eventualy return to dust?

(If so) How long will this take before my new favorite mineral dissappears?

Will the salt and rice slow (possibly stop) the process?

Below are pictures of the days haul and the chalcanthite ^.^

Phantom Quartz (top right)

Unpolished Garnet (bottom right)

Celestite (top Left)

Malachite (bottom left)

Chalcanite (middle display box)

post-22786-014560900 1288575133_thumb.jp

post-22786-099847900 1288575147_thumb.jp

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In my experience with Chalcanthite, the mineral held up quite well for over a couple years. Mine was labelled from "russia" but it is indeed a man made mineral. Your specimen should be ok for some time but it is really hard to say. I have had man made Linerite? turn to powder after a few years.

I have collected at the Planet Mine complex myself ,and have never seen any Chalcanthite. That does not mean it is not there but I am highly sceptical of this occurence and locality for chalcanthite that is all of a sudden in abundance from that site.

Good hunting,,,

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"Will the salt and rice slow (possibly stop) the process?"

You might want to try a dessicant instead of salt and rice. I don't know if that will stop it from falling apart but I might work longer then salt and rice. The downside is it's going to cost a little $$$$, perhaps more then the specimen is worth. Some people who collect meteorites also use them to prevent rust. Maybe you can obtain some really cheap from a collector.


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  • 2 weeks later...

A dessicant like "Dryerite" for dehydrating food is cheap and reusable. It will keep a very low humidity in any air tight conatiner. Silica "soil amendments" at the local greenhouse work well, and so do the packets of dessicant you find in electronic and optical equipment. Just put the packets in the oven for an hour at about 160 degrees and they will dry and "recharge" themselves.

Oxygen is another big decomposer. I would purge any container with dry nitrogen and seal the specimen inside. No water and no oxygen will make anything last a lot longer.

Articles and minerals from space are often kept in vacuum tubes purged of oxygen (with nitrogen, helium, or argon) and bedded in silica dessicant. This is the way that the professionals store many scientific specimens.

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