Chalcopyrite is a relatively common mineral. It is a sulphide mineral that is a source of copper ore, and is found in a variety of geological settings, often associated with gold and other metals.

This beautiful specimen was collected in the Gillies Bay area of Texada Island in British Columbia, although its exact source is unknown.

This area of Texada has an interesting geological past, mainly consisting of limestones deposited in a warm, shallow sea that are layered with volcanic ash from ancient volcanoes. These layers were deeply buried and compressed as the island chains smashed against the western edge of the North American continent, heating them up and being intruded by magma.

The heat, pressure and fluids in the rocks kickstarted the alteration of the subterranean environment, and new elements were introduced (such as copper) that mixed with others already present. As the system matured and cooled, new minerals were deposited, including this specimen which would have formed in a void / fracture in the rock. The limestone itself became injected with copper and gold minerals, and turned into a rock we call a ‘skarn’. These skarns, and the minerals within, have been mined since the late 1800’s on Texada Island, and continue to provide ore today.

Did you know?

Electric vehicles need up to four times more copper than a car with a combustion engine? And wind turbines need up to 50 kilograms of copper? BC produces over half of Canada’s copper, a metal required to build vehicles and infrastructure for a low carbon future. For more information visit Mining Association of BC

Specimen Information

Store: Pacific Museum of the Earth, University of British Columbia
Collection: UBC Geological and Mineral Collection
Accession #: 6845
Primary Mineral: Chalcopyrite
Secondary Mineral: Quartz
Site Locality: Gillies Bay
Location: Texada Island, British Columbia
Special Features: n/a