Aurichalcite is a carbonate mineral, usually found as a secondary mineral in copper and zinc deposits. Its chemical formula is (Zn,Cu)5(CO3)2(OH)6. The zinc to copper ratio is about 5:4.[3]

CategoryCarbonate mineral
(repeating unit)
IMA symbolAch[1]
Strunz classification5.BA.15
Crystal systemMonoclinic
Crystal classPrismatic (2/m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space groupP21/m
Unit cella = 13.82, b = 6.419
c = 5.29 [Å]
β = 101.04°; Z = 2
ColorPale green, greenish blue, light blue; colorless to pale blue, pale green in transmitted light
Crystal habitTypically in tufted divergent sprays or spherical aggregates, may be in thick crusts; rarely columnar, laminated or granular
TwinningObserved in X-ray patterns
Cleavage{010} and {100} Perfect
Mohs scale hardness2
LusterPearly, silky
StreakLight blue
Specific gravity3.96
Optical propertiesBiaxial (-)
Refractive indexnα = 1.655 nβ = 1.740 nγ = 1.744
PleochroismWeak colorless to pale green
2V angleMeasured: 1° to 4°, Calculated: 22°


Aurichalcite typically occurs in the oxidized zone of copper and zinc deposits. Associated minerals include: rosasite, smithsonite, hemimorphite, hydrozincite, malachite and azurite.[2]

It was first described in 1839 by Bottger who named the mineral for its zinc and copper content after the Greek όρειχαλκος, for "mountain brass" or "mountain copper", the name of orichalcum, a fabulous metal, mentioned in the legend of the mythic lost continent Atlantis. The type locality is the Loktevskoye Mine, Upper Loktevka River, Rudnyi Altai, Altaiskii Krai, Western Siberia, Russia.[3]


Aurichalcite displays prismatic crystals often in the form of encrustations and sometimes columnar structures.[5] The crystal system is monoclinic.


  1. ^ Warr, L.N. (2021). "IMA–CNMNC approved mineral symbols". Mineralogical Magazine. 85 (3): 291–320. Bibcode:2021MinM...85..291W. doi:10.1180/mgm.2021.43. S2CID 235729616.
  2. ^ a b Handbook of Mineralogy
  3. ^ a b c Mindat
  4. ^ Webmineral data
  5. ^ "Aurichalcite Mineral Data." Accessed 18 February 2019.