Abstract

Paratooite-(La) is a new lanthanum-dominant rare-earth copper carbonate from the Paratoo copper mine, near Yunta, Olary district, South Australia. Paratooite-(La) occurs as sheaves and radiating sprays of blade-like to tabular pale blue crystals in thin fissures in a slaty country rock. Individual crystals are typically 50–200 μm in maximum dimension but <5 μm thick. Associated minerals include donnayite-(Y), kamphaugite-(Y), and bastnäsite-(La). Electron microprobe and CHN analyses gave: La2O3 26.47; Pr2O3 7.74; Nd2O3 8.15; Sm2O3 0.66; Gd2O3 0.85; Y2O3 0.72; CaO 7.57; SrO 3.15; Na2O 3.3; CuO 5.77; F 0.24; CO2 32.05; NO2 1.12; –O=F −0.10; sum 100.03, yielding an empirical formula of (La3.54Ca2.94Na2.32Nd1.05Pr1.03Sr0.66Y0.14Gd0.10Sm0.0.8)∑11.86Cu1.58(C15.84N0.53)O47.76F0.24. The simplified formula is (REE,Ca,Na,Sr)6Cu(CO3)8 or possibly REE3(Ca,Sr)2NaCu(CO3)8. The mineral is pale turquoise-blue to pale blue in colour, transparent, with a pearly to vitreous lustre and a pale blue streak. No cleavage was observed but the morphology and TEM studies indicate a cleavage parallel to {100}. The Mohs hardness is estimated to be 4. The strongest lines in the X-ray powder pattern are [dobs (Iobs) (hkl)]: 5.047 (53) (200); 4.786 (49) (021); 3.957 (43) (220); 3.468 (43) (012, 221); 2.927 (100) (202); 2.530 (52) (241); 2.344 (22) (420,103); 2.232 (20) (421). A synchrotron powder diffraction pattern was indexed on a primitive orthorhombic cell with a = 10.0862(5), b = 12.8088(6), c = 7.2360(4) Å, V = 934.8(1) Å3 and Z = 2. The crystal structure of the new mineral could not be determined but powder diffraction data indicate the space group is probably P222, Pmmm, P2221 or Pmm2. The measured density is 3.68(3) g/cm3 and the calculated density is 3.78 g/cm3. Paratooite-(La) is biaxial negative with α = 1.605(3), β = 1.696(3) and γ = 1.752(2); pleochroism is medium strong; X very pale bluish, Y and Z bluish (with greenish tint) with absorption Z ≈ Y >> X. Paratooite-(La) is a supergene mineral which precipitated from mildly basic carbonated groundwaters. The mineral is named for the type locality.

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