Abstract

Forêtite, ideally Cu2Al2(AsO4)(OH,O,H2O)6, is a new secondary arsenate mineral from the Cap Garonne mine, Var, France (IMA2011-100). It has also been identified at the Salsigne gold mine, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Although it was identified as a potentially new mineral in 1993, a formal description has only been possible as a result of a new find in a chamber called Annex S located near the entrance of the Cap Garonne mine. Forêtite occurs as pale sky blue to aqua aggregates, up to ~0.1 mm across, made up of minute plates no more than 20 μm in length. It has a very pale blue streak. Individual crystals have a vitreous lustre and are transparent, whereas clusters appear translucent. The calculated density is 3.286 g cm−3. The crystals are brittle, with an irregular fracture and have a hardness of ~3–4 on Moh's scale. Forêtite is found in direct association with bariopharmacoalumite, cyanotrichite, parnauite, chalcophyllite and mansfieldite in an Al-rich assemblage which is presumed to have formed under acidic conditions. It is biaxial; the average refractive index measured in white light on aggregates of forêtite crystals is 1.620(5). The empirical formula (based on 10 oxygen atoms per formula unit) is Cu1.94(Al1.96Fe0.04)Σ2.00(As0.84S0.09Si0.04)Σ0.97O10H5.19. Raman spectroscopy confirms the presence of OH and H2O in the structure. Forêtite is triclinic, space group P1İ, with a = 6.969(9), b = 7.676(9), c = 8.591(11) Å, α = 82.01(9), β = 71.68(8), γ = 102.68(8)°, V = 415(1) Å3 and Z = 2. The five strongest lines in the X-ray powder diffraction pattern [d in Å, (I), (hkl)] are as follows: 7.307, (100), (010, 01İ0); 3.141, (24), (200, 2İ00); 2.818, (24), (22İ0, 2İ20); 4.519, (23), (111); 2.343, (22), (13İ1). The mineral is named in honour of Dr Jean-Paul Forêt, who co-founded the project that turned the Cap Garonne mine into a protected site and museum.

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