Natural Arsenides

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Natural Arsenides


a group of minerals representing compounds of the metals Fe, Ni, and Co—as well as Pt and Cu—with arsenic. The natural arsenides crystallize in various systems—hexagonal (modderite CoAs, niccolite NiAs, and others), cubic (domeykite Cu3As, sperrylite PtAs2 and skut-terudite CoAS3), rhombic (loellingite FeAs2, safflorite [Co, Fe]As2, rammelsbergite NiAs2, and others), and tetragonal (maucherite Ni3As2). Crystallochemically, natural arsenides are related to the coordinated and islandlike structures. Simple arsenides, as well as diarsenides with paired anions of the As24− type in their structure, are formed. The isomorphism of Ni, Co, and Fe is characteristic for the natural arsenides. The density of the natural arsenides ranges from 5,500–6,000 to 10,500 kg/m3. Their hardness on the mineralogical scale is 4.0–6.5. They are nontransparent and have a metallic luster. Natural arsenides are found occasionally in magmatic deposits in connection with basic and ultrabasic rock. They are most frequently found in hydrothermal deposits of nickel-cobalt and silver-nickel-cobalt formations. Loellingite is observed in very significant quantities in arsenopyrite and tin-arsenic deposits. Occasional mineralogical finds of natural arsenides have been observed in iron ore, gold ore, and lead-zinc deposits. Natural arsenides play an essential role in the composition of numerous metallic mineral deposits and serve as a source for obtaining nickel, cobalt, platinum, and arsenic. Upon oxidation they are transformed into arsenates.


Fersman, A. E. Izbrannye trudy, vol. 5. Moscow, 1959.
Mineraly: Spravochnik, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.