DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The mineral turquoise is a hydrated copper-aluminium phosphate, formed by precipitation from aqueous solutions in a host rock rich in copper and aluminium. It is amorphous (non- or crypto-crystalline) and has a very characteristic blue green color. It is of rare occurrence and has since ancient cultures always been highly valued as a gem for jewelry, for use in religious and artistic crafts etc. The turquoise is here seen interspersed with native copper, not an uncommon combination given the cuprous nature of both. Native copper is pure copper as found in nature, one of the few metallic elements to occur in unmixed natural form, although it most commonly occurs in oxidized states or in minerals mixed with other elements. It forms irregular masses and fracture fillings, crystals being very rare. Length of sample is 55 mm.
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