ABSTRACT

Fleetite, Cu2RhIrSb2, a new species of platinum-group mineral (PGM), was discovered intergrown with an Os–Ir–Ru alloy in the Miass Placer Zone (Au–PGE), southern Urals, Russia. A single grain 50 μm across was found. Osmium, ruthenium, and iridium are the main associated minerals; also present are Pt–Fe alloys, laurite, Sb-rich irarsite, Rh-rich tolovkite, kashinite, anduoite, ferronickelplatinum, heazlewoodite, PGE-bearing pentlandite and digenite, as well as micrometric inclusions of forsterite (Fo93.7), chromite–magnesiochromite, and Mg-rich edenite. In reflected light, fleetite is light gray; it is opaque, isotropic, non-pleochroic, and non-bireflectant. We report reflectance values measured in air. A mean of seven point-analyses (wavelength-dispersive spectrometry) gave Cu 13.93, Ni 8.60, Fe 0.10, Ir 28.07, Rh 7.91, Ru 1.96, Sb 39.28, total 99.85 wt.%, corresponding to (Cu1.41Ni0.58Fe0.01)Σ2.00(Rh0.49Ni0.36Ru0.12)Σ0.97Ir0.95Sb2.08 on the basis of six atoms per formula unit, taking into account the structural results. The calculated density is 10.83 g/cm3. Single-crystal X-ray studies show that fleetite is cubic, space group Fdforumlam (#227), a = 11.6682(8) Å, V = 1588.59(19) Å3, and Z = 16. A least-squares refinement of X-ray powder-diffraction data gave a = 11.6575(5) Å and V = 1584.22(19) Å3. The strongest five reflections in the powder pattern [d in Å(I)(hkl)] are: 6.70(75)(111), 4.13(100)(220), 3.52(30)(311), 2.380(50)(422), 2.064(40)(440). Results of synchrotron micro-Laue diffraction experiments are consistent [a = 11.66(2) Å]. The crystal structure of fleetite was solved and refined to R = 0.0340 based upon 153 reflections with Fo > 4σ(Fo). It is isotypic with Pd11Bi2Se2 and best described as intermetallic, with all metal atoms in 12-fold coordination. Fleetite and other late exotic phases were formed by reaction of the associated alloy phases with a fluid phase enriched in Sb, As, and S in circulation in the cooling ophiolite source-rock. The mineral is named after Michael E. Fleet (1938–2017) in recognition of his significant contributions to the Earth Sciences.

This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.
You do not currently have access to this article.