Secondary Minerals

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Secondary Minerals


minerals formed by the chemical disintegration or displacement of minerals evolved earlier. The formation of secondary minerals is common in nature, especially in the surface zones of the earth’s crust during the processes of hypergenesis, and is also linked to changes in the physicochemical parameters of mineral formation.

The transition into secondary minerals can occur without a change in the quality of the composition of the substance— for example, the transition of chalcopyrite CuFeS2 into the secondary bornite CuFeS4. More frequently, however, transition is accompanied by the removal and exchange of substance from the surrounding medium—for instance, the formation of covellite Cu2S CuS2 through chalcopyrite, malachite Cu2[CO3](OH)2 through atacamite CuCl2 3Cu (OH)2, and kaolin through feldspar. Secondary minerals can also be formed during a purely physical change in the crystalline structure of a substance, retaining its chemical composition: cubic chalcosine changes to rhombic chalcosine, high-temperature cubic leucite changes to low-temperature rhombic leucite.

There are various forms of secondary minerals. These are powdery or other masses or pseudomorphs which retain the external form of the primary mineral while the substance is replaced by a new one.


Lazarenko, E. K. Osnovy geneticheskoi mineralogii. L’vov, 1963.


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