Abstract

Supposed ‘merlinoite’ crystals from Monte Somma, Vesuvius (Italy) and Fosso Attici, north of Rome (Italy) represent highly twinned coherent intergrowths between merlinoite and phillipsite on a submicroscopic level. The MER (Immm, a ≈ 14.1, b ≈ 14.2, c ≈ 9.9 Å) and PHI (P21/m, a ≈ 9.9, b ≈ 14.3, c ≈ 8.7 Å, β = 124.8°) frameworks of similar composition are assembled from identical tetrahedral units, though with a different connectivity. Coherent intergrowth and twinning of the two frameworks lead to P42/mnm pseudosymmetry, which is diagnostic of the intergrowth. Under ambient conditions merlinoite has Immm symmetry or I4/mmm if twinned. A low-symmetry model of space group P121/m1 (a ≈ 14.2, b ≈ 14.2, c ≈ 10 Å, β = 90°) allows structure refinement and quantification of the two frameworks.

Upon in situ dehydration to 250°C the evolution of the unit-cell volume of the Monte Somma merlinoite/phillipsite intergrowth displays an intermediate trend between previously studied pure merlinoite from the Khibiny massif (Russia) and Ba-rich phillipsite.

The Monte Somma crystal studied by temperature-dependent single-crystal X-ray diffraction methods also contained a subordinate chabazite inclusion with no coherent structural relationship to the merlinoite/phillipsite framework. Thus, the modification of the chabazite framework on dehydration could also be studied.

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