How Malachite Is Formed

The rich copper-ore of the Ural, which occurs in veins or masses, amid metamorphic strata associated with igneous rocks, and even in the hollows between the eruptive rocks, is worked in shafts. At the bottom of one of these, 280 feet deep, has been found an enormous irregularly-shaped botryoidal mass of Malachite  (Greek malache, mountain-green), sending off strings of green copper-ore. The upper surface of it is about 18 feet long and 9 wide; and it was estimated to contain 15,000 poods, or half a million pounds, of pure and compact malachite. Sir Roderick Murchison is of opinion that this wonderful subterraneous incrustation has been produced in the stalagmitic form, during a series of ages, by copper solutions emanating from the surrounding loose and sporous mass, and trickling through it to the lowest cavity upon the subjacent solid rock. Malachite is brought chiefly from one mine in Siberia; its value as raw material is nearly one-fourth that of the same weight of pure silver, or in a manufactured state three guineas per pound avoirdupois.[1]

[1] The use of malachite in ornamental work is very extensive in Russia. Thus, to the Great Exhibition of 1851 were sent a pair of folding-doors veneered with malachite, 13 feet high, valued at 6000 l.; malachite cases and pedestals from 1500 l. to 3000 l. a-piece, malachite tables 400 l., and chairs 150 l. each.