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A weathered and broken trachyte is host to the turquoise, which is found both in situ between layers of limonite and sandstone and amongst the scree at the mountain's base.These workings are the oldest known, together with those of the Sinai Peninsula.The word turquoise dates to the 17th century and is derived from the French turquois for "Turkish" because the mineral was first brought to Europe through Turkey, from mines in the historical Khorasan Province of Persia.

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For example, the copper may come from primary copper sulfides such as chalcopyrite or from the secondary carbonates malachite or azurite; the aluminium may derive from feldspar; and the phosphorus from apatite.

Climate factors appear to play an important role as turquoise is typically found in arid regions, filling or encrusting cavities and fractures in typically highly altered volcanic rocks, often with associated limonite and other iron oxides.

Odontolite is fossil bone or ivory that has been traditionally thought to have been altered by turquoise or similar phosphate minerals such as the iron phosphate vivianite.

Intergrowth with other secondary copper minerals such as chrysocolla is also common.

In the Southwestern United States turquoise is almost invariably associated with the weathering products of copper sulfide deposits in or around potassium-feldspar-bearing porphyritic intrusives.

In some occurrences alunite, potassium aluminium sulfate, is a prominent secondary mineral.

Crystals, even at the microscopic scale, are exceedingly rare.

Typically the form is vein or fracture filling, nodular, or botryoidal in habit. Turquoise may also pseudomorphously replace feldspar, apatite, other minerals, or even fossils.

Under longwave ultraviolet light, turquoise may occasionally fluoresce green, yellow or bright blue; it is inert under shortwave ultraviolet and X-rays.

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