Supergene (geology)
In ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

 deposit geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, supergene processes or enrichment occur relatively near the surface. Supergene processes include the predominance of meteoric water
Meteoric water
Meteoric water is a hydrologic term of long standing for water in the ground which originates from precipitation. This includes water from lakes, rivers, and icemelts, which all originate from precipitation indirectly.- Overview :...

 circulation with concomitant oxidation
Redox reactions describe all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state changed....

 and chemical 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...

. The descending meteoric waters oxidize the primary (hypogene) sulfide
A sulfide is an anion of sulfur in its lowest oxidation state of 2-. Sulfide is also a slightly archaic term for thioethers, a common type of organosulfur compound that are well known for their bad odors.- Properties :...

 ore minerals and redistribute the metallic ore elements. Supergene enrichment occurs at the base of the oxidized portion of an ore deposit. Metals that have been leached from the oxidized ore are carried downward by percolating groundwater, and react with hypogene sulfides at the supergene-hypogene boundary. The reaction produces secondary sulfides with metal contents higher than those of the primary ore. This is particularly noted in 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...

 ore deposits where the copper sulfide minerals chalcocite
Chalcocite, copper sulfide , is an important copper ore mineral. It is opaque, being colored dark-gray to black with a metallic luster. It has a hardness of 2½ - 3. It is a sulfide with an orthorhombic crystal system....

, covellite
Covellite is a rare copper sulfide mineral with the formula CuS. This indigo blue mineral is ubiquitous in copper ores, it is found in limited abundance and is not an important ore of copper itself, although it is well known to mineral collectors.The mineral is associated with chalcocite in zones...

, digenite
Digenite is a copper sulfide mineral with formula: Cu9S5. Digenite is a black to dark blue opaque mineral that crystallizes with a trigonal - hexagonal scalenohedral structure. In habit it is usually massive, but does often show pseudo-cubic forms. It has poor to indistinct cleavage and a brittle...

, and djurleite
Djurleite is a copper sulfide mineral of secondary origin with formula Cu31S16 that crystallizes with monoclinic-prismatic symmetry. It is typically massive in form, but does at times develop thin tabular to prismatic crystals. It occurs with other supergene minerals such as chalcocite, covellite...

are deposited by the descending surface waters.
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