Abstract

The newly discovered mineral ewingite is the most structurally complex mineral known. Ewingite is found in the abandoned Plavno mine in the Jáchymov ore district, western Bohemia (Czech Republic), and was studied by synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The structure of ewingite contains nanometer-scale anionic uranyl carbonate cages that contain 24 uranyl polyhedra, as well as Ca and Mg cations and H2O groups located in interstitial regions inside and between the cages. The discovery of ewingite suggests that nanoscale uranyl carbonate cages could be aqueous species in some systems, and these may affect the geochemical behavior of uranium.

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