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Quartz specimen with copper?


Goldbeans

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Hi all, im pretty new to the forum. I live in northern california and i detect for gold when i can get time. Its been qute a while since ive been out with all the smoke and heat this year. It cooled down yesterday it was great weather so i went for it. I hiked a few miles it seems over some rugged steep hills and got to a spot that looked promising. There was a couple hard rock mine shafts and piles way up on the hill. This was really steep and theres hand diggings and rock stacks all over the place. I really wanted to check up on the hill in the pile right under adit. This is a known gold area, lots of gold was found here in the past. I got a hot chunk of quartz and this really excited me. It was already cracked and opened up to reveal what was inside...i havnt found one like this. It looks to be copper? Maybe some gold in the mix? I dont know but its definitely interesting.

20210928_144221.jpg

20210928_144133.jpg

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Sulfides with realgar (arsenic sulfide) can make wild colors like that - and there also may be some copper in that blue staining part (chrysocolla)

Beautiful specimen, whatever you do, don’t eat it!

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36 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Chalcopyrite or similar. 

It's copper.

Ah, so it has a sulfide at least- I stand corrected though. From now on I will hold my analysis comments until Bob has a chance to chime in.

But what Bob didn’t say was that Chalcopyrite “is a powerful stone that activates and aligns all chakras.” I don’t know what the heck chakra alignment is and why it needs activation, but maybe it can help. I found this on the Internets.:idunno:

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Thanks i thought it looked like copper. Shasta County was also a major copper producer. Maybe the old timers threw this stuff out in there search for gold? Or is this something they would have taken to the smelter?

If chakras are anything like back bones i could use an alignment after that steep hike with my gpx 4500 all my heavy gear and water 

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1 hour ago, GotAU? said:

Ah, so it has a sulfide at least- I stand corrected though. From now on I will hold my analysis comments until Bob has a chance to chime in.

But what Bob didn’t say was that Chalcopyrite “is a powerful stone that activates and aligns all chakras.” I don’t know what the heck chakra alignment is and why it needs activation, but maybe it can help. I found this on the Internets.:idunno:

Hey I'm just guessing. I might sound authoritative but I'm not. 

There are a dozen different copper sulfide minerals that look like that. I wouldn't know one from the other. I call all of them chalcopyrite on the weekdays and bornite on the weekends.

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I've seen a lot of ore samples that look similar to what you picture here. It looks like a rich, complex, metallic copper ore.

The Shasta region has a lot of interesting minerals and mines. Besides copper and gold  bismuth and zinc have been mined there as well. The Iron Mountain group of mines have shown some really interesting mineral deposits.

The iridescent mineral is Bornite - an ore of copper. It does somewhat resemble Bismuth but Bornite and Bismuth have different crystal structures. Also Bismuth is a rare metallic element and Bornite is a common copper mineral.

Bornite, when it weathers, rather rapidly breaks down into Chalcopyrite - a very common ore of copper. These copper ores are often closely associated with minerals of Arsenic and/or Zinc. Those metal combinations are known to create beautiful minerals and it does look like that might be the case here. It looks like everybody that took a whack at this challenge contributed to the ID.

It's pretty easy to tell if this ore contains Arsenic. Run your fingernail across the ore and see if any of it is so soft it breaks up or turns to powder. Most, but not all, of the Arsenic minerals are very soft - around 1 or 2 on the Mohs scale. Copper minerals are typically much harder in the 3 to 5 range on the Mohs scale.

With Arsenic minerals you should not lick the soft dust off the ore or add it to your drink - that stuff is seriously poisonous. If you do lick Arsenic minerals there will be no taste initially but afterwards you will have the lingering smell of garlic on your breath. If you don't want to end up being the kind of person that goes around saying "hold my beer" "smell my breath" then don't consume Arsenic. Generally Arsenic ores and minerals are not put on public display due to the possibility of viewers breathing the dust or touching the minerals. It is not advisable to handle Arsenic minerals or ore.

The dirty little secret of some copper mines is the amount of Arsenic that's chemically bound into the copper ore. With the limited uses and demand for Arsenic today it's becoming a problem as to where to store the refined Arsenic products. With pure refined Arsenic metal selling for around 75 cents a pound these smelter products don't even come close to paying for the mining, processing, storage, marketing and transportation costs involved in extracting them.

Edited by clay
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I've seen specimens labeled as bornite and chalcopyrite that look exactly the same so I don't think one can conclusively state it's one or another by just visual means.

A streak test will help. Chalcopyrite streaks greenish black. Bornite streaks grayish black.

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9 hours ago, clay said:

I've seen a lot of ore samples that look similar to what you picture here. It looks like a rich, complex, metallic copper ore.

The Shasta region has a lot of interesting minerals and mines. Besides copper and gold  bismuth and zinc have been mined there as well. The Iron Mountain group of mines have shown some really interesting mineral deposits.

The iridescent mineral is Bornite - an ore of copper. It does somewhat resemble Bismuth but Bornite and Bismuth have different crystal structures. Also Bismuth is a rare metallic element and Bornite is a common copper mineral.

Bornite, when it weathers, rather rapidly breaks down into Chalcopyrite - a very common ore of copper. These copper ores are often closely associated with minerals of Arsenic and/or Zinc. Those metal combinations are known to create beautiful minerals and it does look like that might be the case here. It looks like everybody that took a whack at this challenge contributed to the ID.

It's pretty easy to tell if this ore contains Arsenic. Run your fingernail across the ore and see if any of it is so soft it breaks up or turns to powder. Most, but not all, of the Arsenic minerals are very soft - around 1 or 2 on the Mohs scale. Copper minerals are typically much harder in the 3 to 5 range on the Mohs scale.

With Arsenic minerals you should not lick the soft dust off the ore or add it to your drink - that stuff is seriously poisonous. If you do lick Arsenic minerals there will be no taste initially but afterwards you will have the lingering smell of garlic on your breath. If you don't want to end up being the kind of person that goes around saying "hold my beer" "smell my breath" then don't consume Arsenic. Generally Arsenic ores and minerals are not put on public display due to the possibility of viewers breathing the dust or touching the minerals. It is not advisable to handle Arsenic minerals or ore.

The dirty little secret of some copper mines is the amount of Arsenic that's chemically bound into the copper ore. With the limited uses and demand for Arsenic today it's becoming a problem as to where to store the refined Arsenic products. With pure refined Arsenic metal selling for around 75 cents a pound these smelter products don't even come close to paying for the mining, processing, storage, marketing and transportation costs involved in extracting them.

Thank you for all that information! Maybe i should have left it out there? Not sure what to do with it now, I dont really want it around. 🤔 

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19 minutes ago, Goldbeans said:

Thank you for all that information! Maybe i should have left it out there? Not sure what to do with it now, I dont really want it around. 🤔 

I wouldn't throw it away. Keep it as a specimen. Even if there's a tiny bit of arsenic in it, as long as you don't lick it or anything like that.. it's harmless.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Morlock said:

I wouldn't throw it away. Keep it as a specimen. Even if there's a tiny bit of arsenic in it, as long as you don't lick it or anything like that.. it's harmless.

 

 

Coat it with a matte acrylic spray? That would seal in any dust...

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The rock poses no hazard at all. Not unless you are crushing it.

When surface collecting the types of minerals that would be an inhalation hazard are mighty rare. The ones that are a handling hazard are too. You don't want to get too intimate with any heavy metal compounds but washing your hands after handling them is all you need to do.

Those types of minerals are very soluble and anything that may pose a hazard to a spectator disappears pretty fast. Weathering at the surface leaches it from the rocks surface pretty quickly. Unless you are down in a mine breaking out rock you are fine. 

While the things Clay speaks about are true for certain minerals it does not really apply to this specimen. This looks like quartz sided with polymetallic sulphide ore rich in copper. It is a colorful skin of chalcopyrite or Bornite (depending upon the day of the week). 

This specimen is not poisonous. It is not an arsenic mineral (although it could contain arsenic as well as many other toxic metals). It is "peacock ore" which is a general term for colorful copper "pyrites". "Pyrites" being another gutter slang phrase for an sulfide sub-metallic mineral.

It is always good advice to not ingest any rock you find in the field. It is perfectly fine to collect them though. And with very few exceptions you won't have to worry about toxins unless you put those rocks into an orifice or snort a line of crushed material.

In the Santa Rita open pit copper mine they have jokes about colorful minerals. There are millions of metric tons of rock that look just like your specimen. Everyone calls it something different and they are all right. And they are all wrong too.

Discussing what specific mineral this is would be like discussing which sub species of sunfish we caught. There are so many variations that only an expert could say and other experts may disagree. As long as we can all agree it is "a little perch" we have identified it as well as we can without further testing and knowledge.

So IMHO it is sufficient to say the rainbow coloration on this rock is either chalcopyrite or bornite (depending on the day). And while we can safely collect and observe this stone we should refrain from inserting it into any body cavities. At least for any extended periods. 

 

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