Abstract

This study explores crystal chemical features of a sodian muscovite from Antarctica, both in the bulk of the mineral and at the uppermost surface layers. These features may support a deeper comprehension of processes affecting mineral surface and mineral physical properties. The muscovite under analysis is characterized by limited celadonite and paragonite substitutions and shows the following chemical formula: [XII](K1.73 Na0.27) [VI](Fe2+0.14 Al3+3.77 Mg0.07 Ti0.01) [IV](Al1.91 Si60.9) O20 (F0.11 OH3.89). The sample is monoclinic, 2M1 polytype, with symmetry C2/c and unit cell parameters a = 5.1969(1), b = 9.0138(3), c = 20.0835(7) Å, and β = 95.763(2)°. The two tetrahedral sites, T1 and T2, present similar distances (<T1–O> = 1.643Å and <T2–O> = 1.647 Å) and distortion parameter values, evidencing a disordered distribution of Si and Al at tetrahedral sites. The tetrahedral ring is significantly distorted (α = 11.2°) and the tetrahedral basal oxygen atom plane is remarkably wavy (Δz = 0.224 Å).

Crystal chemical modifications at mineral surface were investigated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The interlayer cation K is eight-fold coordinated both in the bulk and at the surface, and its amount decreases at the surface. Sodium substitutes K and its coordination at the mineral surface is six. This evidence, together with a significant Na increase at the surface, is consistent with Na clustering close to the cleavage plane.

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