Abstract

The original structure determination of asisite, nominally Pb7SiO8Cl2, has been re-evaluated in the light of electron-diffraction data (TEM) on the original sample material. Electron diffraction patterns indicate a super-structure based upon a metrically tetragonal 26-cation-site super-sheet motif (14 × 14 × 23 Å). Given the strong ordering of elements substituting for Pb in closely-related litharge-based oxychlorides (parkinsonite, symesite, kombatite, schwartzembergite), the asisite superstructure is inferred to be due to strong ordering of Si within the PbO sheet. The original chemical analyses of asisite given by Rouse et al. (1988) are shown to be consistent with such a super-structure, which has a 12Pb:1Si cation ratio. A new formula for asisite is proposed that is based upon this super-structure: Pb12(SiO4)O8Cl4 (Z = 8). The structure of asisite determined by Rouse et al. (1988) is that of the average Pb/Si-disordered tetragonal sub-cell (I4/mmm: 4 × 4 × 23 Å) and belies the highly ordered real state. The structure of the tetragonal sub-cell has been re-determined here: R = 5.6% for 178 unique Fo > 4σFo and an anisotropic model. A significantly reduced 72% occupancy of the Pb(2) site was found that implies the nominal formula Pb7SiO8Cl2, thus confirming the findings of Rouse et al. (1988). Comparisons with kombatite and symesite support the assignment of Si to Pb(2) and imply that Si in asisite is also likely to be in tetrahedral coordination, with the apical oxygen cross-linking PbO sheets. However, because most of the key information relating to the location of Si is provided by the super-lattice reflections, the inability of X-ray diffraction to register these reflections introduces a significant ambiguity into the interpretation of Pb/Si ordering behaviour in this mineral.

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