Abstract

Alcaparrosaite, ideally K3Ti4+Fe3+ (SO4)4O(H2O)2, is a new mineral from the Alcaparrosa mine, Cerritos Bayos, El Loa Province, Antofagasta, Chile (IMA2011-024). The mineral occurs on and intergrown with coquimbite, and is also associated with ferrinatrite, krausite, pertlikite, pyrite, tamarugite and voltaite. It is a relatively early phase which forms during the oxidation of pyritic masses under increasingly arid conditions. Alcaparrosaite crystallizes from hyperacidic solutions in a chemical environment that is consistent with its association with coquimbite. It occurs as pale yellow blades and tapering prisms up to 4 mm in length, flattened on {010} and elongated along [100]. The observed crystal forms are {010}, {110}, {1.13.0} and {021}. The mineral is transparent and has a white streak, vitreous lustre, Mohs hardness of about 4, brittle tenacity, conchoidal fracture and no cleavage. The measured and calculated densities are 2.80(3) and 2.807 g cm−3, respectively. It is optically biaxial (+) with α = 1.643(1), β = 1.655(1), γ = 1.680(1) (white light), 2Vmeas = 70(2)° and 2Vcalc = 70.3°. The mineral exhibits strong parallel dispersion, r < v. The optical orientation is X = b; Y^c = 27° in the obtuse angle β. No pleochroism was observed. Electron-microprobe analyses (average of 4) provided: Na2O 0.32, K2O 20.44, Fe2O3 11.58, TiO2 11.77, P2O5 0.55, SO3 47.52, H2O 5.79 (calc); total 97.97 wt.%. The empirical formula (based on 19 O) is (K2.89Na0.07)Σ2.96TiO(SO4)22 (S0.99P0.01O4)4O0.72 (OH)0.28(H2O)2. The mineral is hydrophobic, insoluble in cold and hot water, very slowly soluble in acids and decomposes slowly in bases. Alcaparrosaite is monoclinic, C2/c, with the cell parameters a = 7.55943(14), b = 16.7923(3), c = 12.1783(9) Å, β = 94.076(7)°, V = 1542.01(12) Å3 and Z = 4. The eight strongest lines in the X-ray powder diffraction pattern [dobs in Å (Irel) (hkl)] are 6.907 (41)(021,110); 3.628 (34) (023,1İ13); 3.320 (32) (21İ02); 3.096 (100) (202,1İ33,150); 3.000 (40) (1İ51);> 2.704 (38) (2İ23,152); 1.9283 (30) (1İ55); 1.8406 (31) (3İ53,206). In the structure of alcaparrosaite (R1 = 2.57% for 1725 Fo > 4ΣF), Ti4+ and Fe3+, in roughly equal amounts, occupy the same octahedrally coordinated site. Octahedra are linked into dimers by corner sharing. The SO4 tetrahedra link the dimers into chains parallel to [001] and link the chains into undulating sheets parallel to {010}. The sheets link via 10- and 11-coordinated K atoms in the interlayer region. The structure shares some features with that of goldichite.

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