Atacamite is a copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 halide mineral
Halide mineral
The halide mineral class include those minerals with a dominant halide anion . Complex halide minerals may also have polyatomic anions in addition to or that include halides.Examples include the following:*Halite NaCl*Sylvite KCl...

: a copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

(II) chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

Hydroxide is a diatomic anion with chemical formula OH−. It consists of an oxygen and a hydrogen atom held together by a covalent bond, and carrying a negative electric charge. It is an important but usually minor constituent of water. It functions as a base, as a ligand, a nucleophile, and a...

 with formula Cu2Cl(OH)3.

It was first described for deposits in the Atacama Desert
Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world...

 of Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 in 1801.

Atacamite is polymorphous
Polymorphism (materials science)
Polymorphism in materials science is the ability of a solid material to exist in more than one form or crystal structure. Polymorphism can potentially be found in any crystalline material including polymers, minerals, and metals, and is related to allotropy, which refers to chemical elements...

 with botallackite
Botallackite, chemical formula Cu2[3|Cl] is a secondary copper mineral, named for its type locality at the Botallack mine, St Just in Penwith, Cornwall. It is polymorphous with atacamite, paratacamite and clinoatacamite....

, clinoatacamite, and paratacamite. Atacamite is a comparatively rare mineral, formed from primary copper minerals in the oxidation or weathering
Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soils and minerals as well as artificial materials through contact with the Earth's atmosphere, biota and waters...

 zone of arid climates. It has also been reported from fumarole
A fumarole is an opening in a planet's crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen sulfide. The steam is created when superheated water turns to steam as its pressure drops when it emerges from...

 deposits, as sulfide alteration products in black smokers and as alteration of ancient bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 and copper artefacts. It occurs in association with cuprite
Cuprite is an oxide mineral composed of copper oxide Cu2O, and is a minor ore of copper.Its dark crystals with red internal reflections are in the isometric system hexoctahedral class, appearing as cubic, octahedral, or dodecahedral forms, or in combinations. Penetration twins frequently occur...

, brochantite
Brochantite is a sulfate mineral, one of a number of cupric sulfates. Its chemical formula is CuSO4·3Cu2. Formed in arid climates or in rapidly oxidizing copper sulfide deposits, it is named for its discoverer, the French geologist and mineralogist, A. J. M...

, linarite
Linarite is a somewhat rare, crystalline mineral that is known among mineral collectors for its unusually intense, pure blue color. It is formed by the oxidation of galena and chalcopyrite and other copper sulfides. It is a combined copper lead sulfate hydroxide with formula PbCuSO42.Linarite...

, caledonite
Caledonite, whose name derives from Caledonia, the historical name of its place of discovery , is a richly colored blue-green sulfate-carbonate mineral of lead and copper with an orthorhombic crystal structure. It is an uncommon mineral found in the oxidized zones of copper-lead...

, malachite
Malachite is a copper carbonate mineral, with the formula Cu2CO32. This green-colored mineral crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, and most often forms botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagmitic masses. Individual crystals are rare but do occur as slender to acicular prisms...

, chrysocolla
Chrysocolla is a hydrated copper silicate mineral with formula 2H2Si2O54·nH2O.-Properties:Chrysocolla has a blue-green color and is a minor ore of copper, having a hardness of 2.5 to 3.5.-Name and discovery:...

and its polymorphs.

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