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Cubanite

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Cubanite
Cubanite-47299.jpg
Striated, cyclically-twinned cubanite crystals from the Chibougamau mines of Quebec. (size: 1.5 x 1.3 x 1.0 cm)
General
CategorySulfide mineral
Formula
(repeating unit)
CuFe2S3
IMA symbolCbn[1]
Strunz classification2.CB.55a
Crystal systemOrthorhombic
Crystal classDipyramidal (mmm)
H-M symbol: (2/m 2/m 2/m)
Space groupPcmn
Unit cella = 6.467(1) Å,
b = 11.117(1) Å,
c = 6.231(2) Å; Z = 4
Identification
ColorBronze to brass-yellow
Crystal habitCrystals elongated to thick tabular, striated also massive
TwinningCommon with twin plane {110} in pairs, also as fourlings and pseudohexagonal sixlings
CleavageParting on {110} and {130}
FractureConchoidal
Mohs scale hardness3.5-4
LusterMetallic
StreakBlack
DiaphaneityOpaque
Specific gravity4.0-4.2
Optical propertiesDistinctly anisotropic on polished surface
Other characteristicsStrongly magnetic
References[2][3][4]

Cubanite is a copper iron sulfide mineral that commonly occurs as a minor alteration mineral in magmatic sulfide deposits. It has the chemical formula CuFe2S3 and when found, it has a bronze to brass-yellow appearance. On the Mohs hardness scale, cubanite falls between 3.5 and 4 and has a orthorhombic crystal system.[2] Cubanite is chemically similar to chalcopyrite, however it is the less common copper iron sulfide mineral due to crystallization requirements.

Cubanite occurs in high temperature hydrothermal mineral deposits with pyrrhotite and pentlandite as intergrowths with chalcopyrite.[4] It results from exsolution from chalcopyrite at temperatures below 200 to 210 °C.[4] If cubanite is exposed to temperatures above 210 °C, it will transform into isocubanite. After this transformation, if it begins to cool, it will not revert to cubanite.[5] Upon its transformation to isocubanite it will lose its highly magnetic property due to its change from an orthorhombic to a cubic crystal structure.[6] Cubanite has been identified on chondrites and within dust grain samples and has improved the precision of copper isotope analysis.

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Copper

Copper

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Iron

Iron

Iron is a chemical element with symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 of the periodic table. It is, by mass, the most common element on Earth, right in front of oxygen, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust.

Sulfide mineral

Sulfide mineral

The sulfide minerals are a class of minerals containing sulfide (S2−) or disulfide (S22−) as the major anion. Some sulfide minerals are economically important as metal ores. The sulfide class also includes the selenides, the tellurides, the arsenides, the antimonides, the bismuthinides, the sulfarsenides and the sulfosalts. Sulfide minerals are inorganic compounds.

Magma

Magma

Magma is the molten or semi-molten natural material from which all igneous rocks are formed. Magma is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and evidence of magmatism has also been discovered on other terrestrial planets and some natural satellites. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and gas bubbles.

Sulfide deposit

Sulfide deposit

A sulfide deposit is an ore body or rock containing a great deal of sulfide minerals.

Mohs scale of mineral hardness

Mohs scale of mineral hardness

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a qualitative ordinal scale, from 1 to 10, characterizing scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of harder material to scratch softer material.

Orthorhombic crystal system

Orthorhombic crystal system

In crystallography, the orthorhombic crystal system is one of the 7 crystal systems. Orthorhombic lattices result from stretching a cubic lattice along two of its orthogonal pairs by two different factors, resulting in a rectangular prism with a rectangular base and height (c), such that a, b, and c are distinct. All three bases intersect at 90° angles, so the three lattice vectors remain mutually orthogonal.

Chalcopyrite

Chalcopyrite

Chalcopyrite ( KAL-kə-PY-ryte, -⁠koh-) is a copper iron sulfide mineral and the most abundant copper ore mineral. It has the chemical formula CuFeS2 and crystallizes in the tetragonal system. It has a brassy to golden yellow color and a hardness of 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale. Its streak is diagnostic as green-tinged black.

Pyrrhotite

Pyrrhotite

Pyrrhotite is an iron sulfide mineral with the formula Fe(1-x)S. It is a nonstoichiometric variant of FeS, the mineral known as troilite. Pyrrhotite is also called magnetic pyrite, because the color is similar to pyrite and it is weakly magnetic. The magnetism decreases as the iron content increases, and troilite is non-magnetic.

Pentlandite

Pentlandite

Pentlandite is an iron–nickel sulfide with the chemical formula (Fe,Ni)9S8. Pentlandite has a narrow variation range in Ni:Fe but it is usually described as having a Ni:Fe of 1:1. It also contains minor cobalt, usually at low levels as a fraction of weight.

Cubic crystal system

Cubic crystal system

In crystallography, the cubic crystal system is a crystal system where the unit cell is in the shape of a cube. This is one of the most common and simplest shapes found in crystals and minerals.

Comet dust

Comet dust

Comet dust refers to cosmic dust that originates from a comet. Comet dust can provide clues to comets' origin. When the Earth passes through a comet dust trail, it can produce a meteor shower.

Etymology and history

Iridescent and highly lustrous brass-yellow cubanite crystal from Chibougamau, Quebec (size: 1.7 x 1.0 x 0.7 cm)
Iridescent and highly lustrous brass-yellow cubanite crystal from Chibougamau, Quebec (size: 1.7 x 1.0 x 0.7 cm)

Cubanite comes from the Spanish word Cubano, or Cuban in English, and the suffix -ite, when naming a mineral. Cubanite was first described in 1843 for its occurrence in the Mayarí-Baracoa Belt, HolguÍn Province, Cuba. It may also be referenced as barracanite in some literature.[2]

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Chibougamau

Chibougamau

Chibougamau is the largest town in Nord-du-Québec, central Quebec, Canada. Located on Lake Gilman it has a population of 7,504 people. Chibougamau is surrounded by, but not part of, the local municipality of Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government.

Quebec

Quebec

Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is the largest province by area and the second-largest by population. Much of the population lives in urban areas along the St. Lawrence River, between the most populous city, Montreal, and the provincial capital, Quebec City. Quebec is the home of the Québécois nation. Located in Central Canada, the province shares land borders with Ontario to the west, Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeast, New Brunswick to the southeast, and a coastal border with Nunavut; in the south it borders Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York in the United States.

Holguín Province

Holguín Province

Holguín is one of the provinces of Cuba, the third most populous after Havana and Santiago de Cuba. It lies in the southeast of the country. Its major cities include Holguín, Banes, Antilla, Mayarí, and Moa.

Cuba

Cuba

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is an island country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located where the northern Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean meet. Cuba is located east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the American state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Hispaniola, and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The official area of the Republic of Cuba is 109,884 km2 (42,426 sq mi) but a total of 350,730 km² including the exclusive economic zone. Cuba is the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Haiti, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Association and alteration

As a minor alteration mineral, cubanite can only form when there is hydrothermal alteration of magmatic ores. The ores that are associated with cubanite are unaltered pyrrhotite-pentlandite-chalcopyrite ores that experience alteration to millerite-pyrite-chalcopyrite-cubanite ores, like those seen in the Bushveld Complex.[7] For cubanite to form from chalcopyrite, a loss of copper relative to sulfur and iron and an increase in iron relative to sulfur must occur.[7] This significant change in mineralogy results crystal structure change from tetragonal chalcopyrite to orthorhombic cubanite. With an increase in temperature above 210 °C, alteration continues and cubanite will transform into isocubanite, an isometric polymorph. There will be no transformation back to cubanite upon the cooling of the isocubanite.[5]

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Extraterrestrial cubanite

Tagish Lake Meteorite, Classified as CI-2 due to presence of chondrules
Tagish Lake Meteorite, Classified as CI-2 due to presence of chondrules

Although cubanite forms in hydrothermal mineral deposits, there are occurrences of cubanite that did not form on earth. Cubanite has been found in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, specifically class CI-chondrites, as well as in cometary samples from NASA’s Stardust spacecraft.[8] Data from the Itokawa asteroid, collected by the Hayabusa spacecraft, indicated that a 2-micrometre grain of cubanite was found on the S-type asteroid. This is the first time cubanite has been found on another asteroid that was not class C-type. However, further inspection of the sample revealed that the cubanite likely formed exogeneous to the Itokawa body.[9]

Synthetic cubanite

Although synthetic and chondritic cubanite have structural variations, synthesis of cubanite still grants insight into the formation of CI-chondrites. Using a lab-based variant of hydrothermal recrystallization, temperatures between 150-200 °C, and a pH of 9, scientists were able to determine compositions needed to replicate CI-chondrite mineralogy.  Experiments that began with copper + iron + sulfur, covellite + troilite, and copper + sulfur + troilite all formed cubanite. Starting with troilite instead of iron metal reinforces previous studies that sulfides on Cl-chondrites are the resultant of oxidation of troilite by hydrothermal processes.[8]

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Tagish Lake

Tagish Lake

Tagish Lake is a lake in Yukon and northern British Columbia, Canada. The lake is more than 100 km (62 mi) long and about 2 km (1 mi) wide.

Carbonaceous chondrite

Carbonaceous chondrite

Carbonaceous chondrites or C chondrites are a class of chondritic meteorites comprising at least 8 known groups and many ungrouped meteorites. They include some of the most primitive known meteorites. The C chondrites represent only a small proportion (4.6%) of meteorite falls.

Stardust (spacecraft)

Stardust (spacecraft)

Stardust was a 390-kilogram robotic space probe launched by NASA on 7 February 1999. Its primary mission was to collect dust samples from the coma of comet Wild 2, as well as samples of cosmic dust, and return them to Earth for analysis. It was the first sample return mission of its kind. En route to comet Wild 2, it also flew by and studied the asteroid 5535 Annefrank. The primary mission was successfully completed on 15 January 2006 when the sample return capsule returned to Earth.

Hayabusa

Hayabusa

Hayabusa was a robotic spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to return a sample of material from a small near-Earth asteroid named 25143 Itokawa to Earth for further analysis. Hayabusa, formerly known as MUSES-C for Mu Space Engineering Spacecraft C, was launched on 9 May 2003 and rendezvoused with Itokawa in mid-September 2005. After arriving at Itokawa, Hayabusa studied the asteroid's shape, spin, topography, color, composition, density, and history. In November 2005, it landed on the asteroid and collected samples in the form of tiny grains of asteroidal material, which were returned to Earth aboard the spacecraft on 13 June 2010.

S-type asteroid

S-type asteroid

S-type asteroids are asteroids with a spectral type that is indicative of a siliceous mineralogical composition, hence the name. They have relatively high density. Approximately 17% of asteroids are of this type, making it the second most common after the carbonaceous C-type.

Covellite

Covellite

Covellite is a rare copper sulfide mineral with the formula CuS. This indigo blue mineral is commonly a secondary mineral in limited abundance and although it is not an important ore of copper itself, it is well known to mineral collectors.

Troilite

Troilite

Troilite is a rare iron sulfide mineral with the simple formula of FeS. It is the iron-rich endmember of the pyrrhotite group. Pyrrhotite has the formula Fe(1-x)S which is iron deficient. As troilite lacks the iron deficiency which gives pyrrhotite its characteristic magnetism, troilite is non-magnetic.

Copper isotope analysis

Due to its complex growth nature, Cubanite has been the test subject for instrumental preference in copper isotope microanalysis. It was found that ultra violet laser ablation multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (UV-fs-LA-MC-ICP-MS) improves precision in respect to copper isotopes, when compared to the use of near infrared (NIR-fs-LA-MC-ICP-MS) methods.[10]

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) analytical instrument
Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) analytical instrument

Source: "Cubanite", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubanite.

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References
  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 c Mindat.org
  3. ^ Webmineral
  4. ^ a b c Handbook of Mineralogy
  5. ^ a b Chandra, U.; Parthasarathy, G.; Sharma, P. (2010-10-01). "SYNTHETIC CUBANITE CuFe2S3: PRESSURE-INDUCED TRANSFORMATION TO ISOCUBANITE". The Canadian Mineralogist. 48 (5): 1137–1147. doi:10.3749/canmin.48.5.1137. ISSN 0008-4476.
  6. ^ Sawada, M.; Ozima, M.; Fujiki, Y. (1962). "Magnetic Properties of Cubanite (CuFe2S3)". Journal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectricity. 14 (2): 107–112. Bibcode:1962JGG....14..107S. doi:10.5636/jgg.14.107. ISSN 0022-1392.
  7. ^ a b Holwell, David A.; Adeyemi, Zeinab; Ward, Laura A.; Smith, Daniel J.; Graham, Shaun D.; McDonald, Iain; Smith, Jennifer W. (December 2017). "Low temperature alteration of magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE sulfides as a source for hydrothermal Ni and PGE ores: A quantitative approach using automated mineralogy". Ore Geology Reviews. 91: 718–740. doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2017.08.025. ISSN 0169-1368.
  8. ^ a b Berger, Eve L.; Keller, Lindsay P.; Lauretta, Dante S. (2015). "An experimental study of the formation of cubanite (CuFe2S3) in primitive meteorites". Meteoritics & Planetary Science. 50 (1): 1–14. Bibcode:2015M&PS...50....1B. doi:10.1111/maps.12399. ISSN 1945-5100.
  9. ^ Burgess, Katherine; Stroud, Rhonda (August 2020). "STEM of Three Itokawa Grains: Space Weathering and Presence of Cubanite". Microscopy and Microanalysis. 26 (S2): 2602–2604. Bibcode:2020MiMic..26S2602B. doi:10.1017/S1431927620022151. ISSN 1431-9276. S2CID 225397714.
  10. ^ IKEHATA, Kei; HIRATA, Takafumi (2013). "Evaluation of UV-fs-LA-MC-ICP-MS for Precise in situ Copper Isotopic Microanalysis of Cubanite". Analytical Sciences. 29 (12): 1213–1217. doi:10.2116/analsci.29.1213. ISSN 0910-6340. PMID 24334990.


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