Abstract

The crystal structure of quintinite-2H-3c, [Mg4Al2(OH)12](CO3)(H2O)3, from the Kovdor alkaline massif, Kola peninsula, Russia, was solved by direct methods and refined to an agreement index (R1) of 0.055 for 484 unique reflections with |Fo| ≥ 4σF. The mineral is rhombohedral, R32, a = 5.2745(7), c = 45.36(1) Å. The diffraction pattern of the crystal has strong and sharp Bragg reflections having hk = 3n and l = 3n and lines of weak superstructure reflections extended parallel to c* and centred at hk ≠ 3n. The structure contains six layers within the unit cell with the layer stacking sequence of...AC=CA=AC=CA=AC=CA... The Mg and Al atoms are ordered in metal hydroxide layers to form a honeycomb superstructure. The full superstructure is formed by the combination of two-layer stacking sequence and Mg-Al ordering. This is the first time that a long-range superstructure in carbonate-bearing layered double hydroxide (LDH) has been observed. Taking into account Mg-Al ordering, the unique layer sequence can be written as...=Ab1C=Cb1A=Ab2C=Cb2A=Ab3C=Cb3A=... The use of an additional suffix is proposed in order to distinguish between LDH polytypes having the same general stacking sequence but with different c parameters compared with the `standard' polytype. According to this notation, the quintinite studied here can be described as quintinite-2H-3c or quintinite-2H-3c[6R], indicating the real symmetry.

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