Abstract

The previously unknown, complex crystal structures of two fibrous ferric iron phosphate minerals have been solved using single-crystal X-ray diffraction data. The structure of a slightly arsenatian kidwellite has been refined in space group P2/c (a = 20.117(4), b = 5.185(1), c = 13.978(3) Å, β = 107.07(3)°, V = 1393.8(5) Å 3, Z = 2) to R1 = 5.21%; a revision of both space group symmetry and chemical formula is proposed. The idealized formula is Na(Fe3+,M)9+x(OH)11(H2O)3(PO4)6, where M = Fe3+, Cu2+ or other metal cation, and x ≈ 0.3. The structure of a slightly arsenatian ‘laubmannite’ (as defined by Moore, 1970) has been refined in space group Pbcm (a = 5.172(1), b = 13.999(3), c = 31.083(6) Å, V = 2250.5(8) Å 3, Z = 4) to R1 = 3.14%. The revised, idealized formula is (Fe3+,Fe2+,M)8+x(OH,H2O)9(H2O)2(PO4)5, where M = Fe3+, Cu2+ or other metal cation, and x ≈ 0.1. The framework structures of both minerals are similar. Dominant building units are dimers composed of face- and edge-sharing FeO6 octahedra. Whereas kidwellite contains an additional trimer built of three corner-sharing FeO6 octahedra, ‘laubmannite’ instead contains a dimer built of two corner-sharing FeO6 octahedra. Kidwellite contains only trivalent iron, while one of the Fe sites in ‘laubmannite’ is occupied by a mixture of Fe3+ and Fe2+ in a 1:1 ratio. In both structures, the FeO6-based building units are linked via corners to PO4 tetrahedra; the M sites are located in narrow channels and have very low occupancies (~2 to 7%) and strongly distorted [6]- or [5+1]-coordinations. Close structural relations between kidwellite and ‘laubmannite’, and other fibrous iron phosphates explain observations of epitaxial intergrowths of them.

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