Malachite is a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral, with the formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. This opaque, green-banded mineral crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, and most often forms botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagmitic masses, in fractures and deep, underground spaces, where the water table and hydrothermal fluids provide the means for chemical precipitation. Individual crystals are rare, but occur as slender to acicular prisms. Pseudomorphs after more tabular or blocky azurite crystals also occur.[5]

CategoryCarbonate mineral
(repeating unit)
IMA symbolMlc[1]
Strunz classification5.BA.10
Crystal systemMonoclinic
Crystal classPrismatic (2/m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space groupP21/a
Formula mass221.1 g/mol
ColorBright green, dark green, blackish green, with crystals deeper shades of green, even very dark to nearly black commonly banded in masses; green to yellowish green in transmitted light
Crystal habitMassive, botryoidal, stalactitic, crystals are acicular to tabular prismatic
TwinningCommon as contact or penetration twins on {100} and {201}. Polysynthetic twinning also present.
CleavagePerfect on {201} fair on {010}
FractureSubconchoidal to uneven
Mohs scale hardness3.5–4
LusterAdamantine to vitreous; silky if fibrous; dull to earthy if massive
Streaklight green
DiaphaneityTranslucent to opaque
Specific gravity3.6–4
Optical propertiesBiaxial (–)
Refractive indexnα = 1.655 nβ = 1.875 nγ = 1.909
Birefringenceδ = 0.254

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