Linarite

linarite

schulenbergite

caledonite

leadhillite

Images

Formula: CuPb(SO4)(OH)2
Sulphate, linarite-chenite group
Crystal System: Monoclinic
Specific gravity: 5.35 measured, 5.33 calculated
Hardness: 2½
Streak: Light blue
Colour: Blue
Solubility: Moderately soluble in nitric acid
Environments:

Hydrothermal environments

Linarite occurs as a secondary mineral in the oxidation zone of high temperature hydrothermal deposits, where it is formed as an alteration product of galena. In some localities in Cumbria, England, it is found on limonitic quartz or partly decomposed galena with cerussite. It also occurs near the contact between galena and the surrounding matrix, if any copper sulphides are present (JRS 11.13). It may be formed by post-mining oxidation. The linarite, anglesite, brochantite assemblage is typical for some localities, and helps to distinguish linarite from azurite.
Linarite and caledonite are both important lead/copper supergene minerals; both minerals can be found alone in cavities although they can also occur together, and both are often associated with simple lead and copper minerals such as cerussite and brochantite and, to a lesser extent, malachite; they can be found in such combinations in the carbonate rich English Pennines. When low concentrations of lead ions Pb2+ build up in an environment dominated by copper minerals, such as brochantite, the lead may form linarite (JRS 18.14).
Linarite has been found pseudomorphed by chrysocolla, malachite and brochantite (JRS 11.35-38), and it is often intergrown with leadhillite (R&M 85.6.519).

Localities

In Block 14, Broken Hill, New South Wales, linarite has been found as crusts coating cerussite and anglesite, lining fractures in gneiss. Some larger crystals have been found coating cerussite associated with brochantite and smithsonite (AJM 3.1.43).
Linarite from Block 14 - Image

At Kintore, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia, linarite has been found as impregations with other sulphates such as brochantite and connellite in quartz - chalcocite rocks, and with malachite on fractures (AJM 3.1.43).
Linarite from Kintore - Image

At the Kapi mine, Tasmania, Australia, linarite occurs rarely overgrown by cerussite and anglesite (AJM 12.2.83).
Linarite from the Kapi Mine - Image

At the Shangri La mine, Kimberley, Western Australia, linarite occurs as crusts coating malachite and cerussite in cavities (AJM 16.1.21).

At the Wheal Fortune copper mine, Northampton, Western Australia, linarite occurs intergrown with brochantite in crusts coating oxidised quartz-rich granitic gneiss, which contains minor chalcopyrite (AJM 18.1.44).

At the Devons Cut deposit, Braeside lead field, Pilbara, Western Austrlia, linarite has been found in association with caledonite and cerussite (AJM 13.2.60).

At Llallagua, Bolivia, crusts of a mixture of linarite and caledonite have been described (Minrec 37.2.142).

At the Goul Mine, Er Rachidia, Er Rachidia Province, Morocco, linarite occurs with brochantite on a quartz matrix (AESS).
Linarite from the Goul Mine - Image

At the Imiter Mine, Tinghir Province, Drâa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco, linarite is associated with cerussite, and also with weathered chalcopyrite and covellite (Minrec 42.2.125).

At the Driggith and Sandbed mines, Caldbeck, Allerdale, England, UK, linarite is a common component of crusts on weathered sulphides formed by post-mining oxidation. It also occurs as crystals in cavities in oxidised ore, commonly associated with brochantite and cerussite, and sometimes with hemimorphite, leadhillite, schulenbergite and anglesite (JRS 9.24).
Linarite from the Driggith Mine - Image

At Roughton Gill, Caldbeck, Allerdale, Cumbria, England, UK, linarite has been found in cavities and fractures in vein quartz, commonly associated with leadhillite and caledonite. Linarite crystals are sometimes partly replaced by brochantite. Linarite-rich lenses are commonly surrounded by iron-stained quartz, pyromorphite, chrysocolla and malachite (JRS 11.17).
Most linarite specimens are crusts which are a dump alteration product of galena and chalcopyrite. Crystals, however, have been found associated with malachite, caledonite or leadhillite (JRS 14.15).
Linarite from Roughton Gill - Image

At Red Gill Mine, Roughton Gill, Caldbeck, Allerdale, Cumbria, England, UK, bright blue, vitreous linarite occurs on a quartz matrix AESS).
Linarite from Red Gill - Image

At Silver Gill, Roughton Gill, Caldbeck, Allerdale, Cumbria, England, UK, linarite is commonly found on limonitic quartz or partly decomposed galena with cerussite, associated with brochantite, langite, hemimorphite and cerussite (JRS 8(2).92).
Linarite from Silver Gill - Image

At Short Grain, Caldbeck, Allerdale, Cumbria, England, UK, linarite usually occurs as crusts of post-mining origin, but a specimen has been found with linarite crystals to 5 mm associated with minor caledonite and cerussite (JRS 12.55).

At the Tynebottom mine, Alston Moor, Eden, Cumbria, England, UK, linarite has been found associated with pyrite, serpierite, cerussite, chalcopyrite and malachite (AESS).
Linarite from Tynebottom - Image

The Cononley mine, near Skipton, Craven, North Yorkshire, England, UK, worked veins in clastic sedimentary rocks. Baryte is the most abundant primary vein-filling, with minor witherite, fluorite and calcite. Galena was the principal lead ore, but workable quantities of cerussite were found, and sphalerite and smithsonite also occurred. Limited evidence suggests that fluorite and witherite were late-stage local infills.
In 1966 a small specimen was found of massive baryte containing a cavity with a few azure blue crystals which were visually identified as linarite. Half a century later, in 2019, on re-examination the visual identification was confirmed by wet chemistry.
In this specimen linarite overgrows partly oxidised galena and cerussite. Some pale blue coatings of linarite were present on two other specimens, but no further crystals were found.
Linarite commonly occurs where oxidising solutions percolate through mixed lead and copper sulphides. It is present at almost every such locality in the Lake District, and is abundant in dump-formed supergene assemblages produced by the oxidation of mixed lead-copper ores at the lead mines in Central Wales. The relative rarity of linarite in the Pennine orefields, and in the Yorkshire Pennines in particular, makes its occurrence at Cononley Mine noteworthy.
It seems likely that the absence of carbonates in the wall-rocks at the Cononley Mine and the abundance of relatively inert baryte in the veins allowed linarite to form by the build-up of concentrations of aqueous Cu2+ in an environment dominated by lead minerals in slightly alkaline conditions. It is almost certain that the linarite is part of the mineral assemblage produced by natural oxidation in the relatively extensive supergene zone, and not a post-mining product (JRS 23.91-95).

At the Gallagher Mine, Tombstone Hills, Cochise county, Arizona, USA, linarite has been found associated with leadhillite, diaboleite and anglesite on material from the dump (R&M 90-4.344).
Linarite from the Gallagher Mine - Image

At the Brown Monster mine, Inyo county, California, USA, linarite occurs with caledonite near altered galena pods (Minrec 41.2.189).

At the Reward mine, Inyo county, California, USA, linarite occurs along fractures in quartz veins, associated with brochantite, cerussite, anglesite, leadhillite and caledonite in various combinations (Minrec 41.2.189).
Linarite from the Reward Mine - Image

At the Blanchard mine, Socorro, New Mexico, USA, linarite and anglesite pseudomorphs after galena have been found (KL p192)

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