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March-April 2018

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The Where of Mineral Names: Namibite, Namib Desert, Copper Valley, Khorixas District and Region, Namibia

NAMIBITE, Cu(BiO)2VO4(OH), was discovered on the farm 504 Mesopotamia located in Copper Valley in northwestern Namibia (von Knorring and Sahama 1981) where it occurs in a polymetallic mineralized hydrothermal quartz vein (fig. 3). Subsequent to its description as a new species, its crystal structure and symmetry were revised by Kolitsch and Giester (2000). Namibite is found as small (less than 2-mm), translucent to transparent, olive-green to dark green crystals (fig. 2) with a pistachio-green streak (; accessed April 2017). It is triclinic-pseudomonoclinic (Kolitsch and Giester 2000), has good cleavage on {001}, and forms in various habits including platy crystals, radiating aggregates, and rounded masses (Anthony et al. 2000). Twinning is common on {011}. At the type locality, namibite is associated with beyerite, brochantite, khorixasite, and quartz. Since its discovery in Namibia, namibite has been found in other global localities (Dunning and Cooper 1998), and Mindat currently lists twenty-three known localities. The mineral is named after the Namib Desert (fig. 1).


Dr. Bruce Cairncross, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor of geology at the University of Johannesburg.

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