METATORBERNITE

 

Metatorbernite is a hydrous copper uranyl phosphate mineral - Cu(UO2)2(PO4)28H2O.  It has a nonmetallic luster, deep green color, light green streak, is fairly soft (H=2.5), typically has tabular crystals forming closely-packed clusters, and is radioactive.  This mineral is principally valued as collector specimens and not as an ore mineral of uranium.  Metatorbernite forms by partial dehydration of torbernite (Cu(UO2)2(PO4)210H2O), which in turn forms as a weathering product in U-rich rocks.

 

Metatorbernite plate, very likely from the famous uranium deposits at the Musonoi Mine, just west of Kolwezi, Shaba Crescent, southern Zaire ("D.R. Congo").  Several areas in Africa have high concentrations of uranium.  Africa was the source of uranium for Madame Curie & Pierre Curie's early investigations into radiation & for America's first atomic bombs (CM public display, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA).

For more info. on uranium minerals in southern Zaire, see Gauthier et al. (1989, The uranium deposits of the Shaba region, Zaire, Mineralogical Record 20: 265-288.

 


 

Metatorbernite from Bois-Noirs, Loire Valley, France (Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum public display, Golden, Colorado, USA).

 


 

Home page