Abstract

Non-metamict betafite, a pyrochlore-group mineral with general formula A2−mB2XO6Y(O,OH,F)1−n·pH2O and 2 Ti > Nb+Ta and U > 20% at the A site, has been found at Le Carcarelle, (Latium, Italy). It occurs within miarolitic cavities of a foid-bearing syenitic ejectum enclosed within the pyroclastic formation known as “ignimbrite C”, which belongs to the main effusive phase of the Vico volcanic complex. The host rock is composed of K-feldspar, biotite, augitic clinopyroxene, magnetite and minor sodalite. Electron microprobe analyses gave the following crystal-chemical formula: (Ca1.24Na0.17U0.49REE0.03)∑ =1.93 (Ti1.05Nb0.76Zr0.14Fe0.04Ta0.01) ∑=2.00O6(O,OH). Compared with other occurrences reported in the mineralogical literature, betafite from Le Carcarelle is extremely enriched in U and depleted in Th. Due to its young age of formation (~150 k.y.), this betafite sample is highly crystalline, thus allowing structure refinement of unheated material. Betafite from Le Carcarelle is cubic Fdm, with a = 10.2637(13) Å, and V = 1081.21(35) Å3, and has a smaller A site (consistent with the higher U content), and a larger and more distorted B site (consistent with the higher Ti content) than calciobetafite from Campi Flegrei, Italy (Mazzi and Munno, 1983). Analysis of the atomic displacement parameters provides evidence for static disorder at the X site.

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