Orpiment

orpiment

cinnabar

stibnite

realgar

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Formula: As2S3 with oxidation states As3+2S2-3
Sulphide of arsenic
Specific gravity: 3.48
Hardness: 1½ to 2
Streak: Light yellow
Colour: Lemon yellow to orange yellow
Solubility: Slightly soluble in nitric acid
Common impurities: Hg,Ge,Sb
Environments:

Fumeroles and hot spring deposits
Hydrothermal environments

Orpiment is a rare mineral, usually associated with realgar and formed under similar conditions. It occurs in epithermal (low temperature) hydrothermal silver and lead ore veins; it is also found in hot springs and fumaroles.
Common associated minerals include arsenic, baryte, calcite, gypsum, realgar, stibnite and cinnabar (HOM).

Localities

At the Siglo Veinte mine, Llallagua, Rafael Bustillo, Potosí, Bolivia, orange-yellow orpiment coating quartz and originating from weathered arsenopyrite has been found (Min Rec 37-2.145).

At the Jiepaiyu mine, Shimen deposit, Shimen county, Changde, Hunan, China, druses of short acicular crystals of orpiment, sometimes coating calcite crystals, and crystals of orpiment to 10cm long and 1 cm in diameter have been found. Calcite is the only associated mineral; orpiment can occur as inclusions in calcite or as large crystals associated with calcite (Min Rec 38-1.49-52).

At the Palomo mine, Huachocolpa District, Huancavelica Province, Huancavelica, Peru, greenish yellow orpiment crusts to about 3 mm cover pyrite, sphalerite and chalcopyrite. Orpiment also forms orange crusts on druses of realgar crystals, with some of the orpiment crusts partially covered by thin crusts of tiny white baryte crystals (Min Rec 42-2.166). Orpiment pseudomorphs after realgar are a feature of this mine, in sizes up to 4 cm (Min Rec 39-2.97-98).

At the Quiruvilca mine, Quiruvilca District, Santiago de Chuco Province, La Libertad, Peru, orpiment occurs as orange crusts with colourless baryte crystals to 5 cm (Min Rec 42-2.141).

Alteration

Orpiment is an alteration product of other arsenic minerals, especially realgar (Webmin).

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