Cuprite-tenorite-chrysocolla, Milpillas mine, SON



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Cuprite-tenorite-chrysocolla (polished cut slice, 10.4 cm across at its widest) from the Paleocene of Mexico.

This is copper oxide rock from Mexico's Milpillas Copper Mine. It contains reddish cuprite (Cu2O - copper oxide), black tenorite (CuO - copper oxide), and slightly bluish-green chrysocolla ((Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O - hydrous copper aluminum hydroxy-silicate). The mine targets the Milpillas Orebody, a partially oxidized "porphyry copper" deposit. The nonoxidized portions of the deposit have chalcopyrite and bornite disseminated in breccias and stockwork veins, capped by a supergene-enriched blanket of chalcocite. The cuprite-tenorite-chrysocolla only occurs in the oxidized portions of the chalcocite blanket.

Geologic unit & context & age: Milpillas Orebody, Danian Stage, Early Paleocene (63.1 Ma), hosted mostly in rhyolite and porphyritic quartz monzonite stocks emanating from the Cuitaca-Tinaja Batholith (a Laramide Orogeny intrusive complex dating to 63.9 Ma) + Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous-Paleocene volcanics.

Locality: Milpillas Mine, Rancho Milpillas, Cuitaca Graben (produced by crustal extension at 12 to 27 Ma; now covered with gravels & alluvium), Cananea Mining District, 25 km northwest of Cananea, Santa Cruz Municipality, northern Sonora State, northwestern Mexico (31° 06' 25.47" North, 110° 25' 30.24" West).

Source Cuprite-tenorite-chrysocolla (Milpillas Orebody, Early Paleocene, 63 Ma; Milpillas Mine, Cananea Mining District, northern Sonora State, northwestern Mexico)
Author James St. John


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