Linarite is a rare copper lead sulfate hydroxide mineral with the formula PbCuSO4(OH)2. It is well-known among mineral collectors for its exceptionally bright blue color. Linarite can easily be mistaken for Azurite or Kinoite. Azurite may be found in the same localities as Linarite and can be very similar in appearance. Since Azurite is a carbonate mineral, it will react to hydrochloric acid while Linarite does not. Kinoite is a calcium copper silicate mineral belonging to the same crystal system as Linarite and has the same hardness and the same beautiful blue color.
Where Linarite is found
Linarite was first identified in 1822. It is named for its type locality, Linares, in the Andalusian province of Jaén, Spain.
Linarite is found in secondary, weathered zones of ore deposits in metamorphic and sedimentary environments. It is formed by the oxidation of galena and chalcopyrite and other copper sulfides. Linarite is found in association with brochantite, anglesite, caledonite, leadhillite, cerussite, malachite and hemimorphite.
Crystalline structure of Linarite
Linarite may be found as small tabular and elongated prismatic crystals but most often as acicular and encrusting aggregates.
Linarite belongs to the Monoclinic Crystal System, Prismatic Crystal Class. Hardness is 2.5 on the Mohs Scale. Luster is adamantine to vitreous.
One of the most famous occurrences of Linarite is the Blanchard Mine in Bingham, Socorro County, New Mexico. Elsewhere in the United States, some of the largest Linarite crystals have come from the Mammoth-St. Anthony Mine in Tiger, Pinal County, Arizona. Also in Arizona are the copper mines at Bisbee, Cochise County; and the Grand Reef Mine at Klondyke, Graham County. Well-known California localities include Cerro Gordo and Darwin in Inyo County, and at the Blue Bell claims in Baker, San Bernardino County.
Good European localities of Linarite include Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria, England; the Baccu Locci and Montevecchio Mines, on the island of Sardinia, Italy; and Linares, Spain, which is the locality this mineral was named after. In Africa it was found in Tsumeb, Namibia; and in Goulmina and Mujurum, Morocco. South American Linarite occurrences are Serra de Capitillas, Argentina; and Las Condes, Copiapo, and Chuquicatama, Chile.
By Bill Jones, Sidewinder Minerals