To date, Fe-Li micas have been defined differently from other micas. The purpose of this paper is to reinterpret the actual Fe-Li mica series with new concepts of ‘essential replacement’ (the evolution direction) and ‘composition track’ (the sequence of mica varieties). Two hundred and fifty-eight analyses from the literature are used for this study in the form of eight data groups. The common compositional and substitutional characters of Fe-Li micas have been reinterpreted in light of principal component analysis and a geometric frame of ideal Fe2+-Al-Li micas in space with (Si, AlIV, AlVI, Fe2+, Li, □VI, K)-coordinates.

In our new interpretation, the actual Fe-Li micas are essentially neither AlIV- nor AlVI-, but □VI-constant. The actual Fe-Li micas are the weakest fluctuant relative to the Annite-Polylithionite-Trilithionite-Siderophyllite (APTE) plane. About 90% of variations of actual Fe-Li micas range from the trioctahedral trend described as a sequence along the segment K2Al2Fe5/22+ Li□1/2Si6Al2O20(OH,F)4 +x[AlFe2+–2Li3SiAl–2] (–1/3⩽ x⩽ 5/8). The substitution AlFe2+2Li3SiAl–2 (i.e. 2AlIV +4Fe2+ → 2Si +AlVI +3Li) is the main mechanism that keeps actual Fe-Li micas trioctahedral. More than 8% of variations arise from the dioctahedral trend involving created AlVI- and □VI-increasing replacement. The actual Fe-Li mica series comprises the composition trend from Fe2+-biotite to lepidolite. This series is not on the siderophyllite-polylithionite join, but can be expressed ideally as K2Al1+xFe2+4–4xLi1+3x(Si6+2xAl2–2x)O20(OH,F)4 (–1/3⩽ x⩽ 1).

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