Abstract

Tiny green crystals from Kabwe, Zambia, associated with hopeite and tarbuttite (and probably first recorded in 1908 but never adequately characterized because of their scarcity) have been studied by X-ray diffraction, microchemical and electron probe microanalysis, infrared spectroscopy, and synthesis experiments. They are shown to be orthorhombic, stoichiometric CuZnPO4OH, of species rank, forming the end-member of a solid-solution series to libethenite, Cu2PO4OH, and are named zincolibethenite. The libethenite structure is unwilling to accommodate any more Zn substituting for Cu at atmospheric pressure, syntheses using Zn-rich solutions precipitating a mixture of zincolibethenite with hopeite, Zn3(PO4)2.4H2O. Single-crystal X-ray data confirm that the Cu(II) occupies the Jahn-Teller distorted 6-coordinate cation site in the libethenite lattice, and the Zn(II) occupies the 5-coordinate site. The space group of zincolibethenite is Pnnm, the same as that of libethenite, with unit-cell parameters a = 8.326, b = 8.260, c = 5.877 Å, V = 404.5 Å3, Z = 4, calculated density = 3.972 g/cm3 (libethenite has a = 8.076, b = 8.407, c = 5.898 Å, V = 400.44 Å3, Z = 4, calculated density = 3.965 g/cm3). Zincolibethenite is biaxial negative, with 2Vα(calc.) of 49°, r<v, and α = 1.660, β = 1.705, and γ = 1.715 The mineral is named for its relationship to libethenite.

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