Abstract

The new mineral shilovite, the first natural tetrammine copper complex, was found in a guano deposit located on the Pabellón de Pica Mountain, near Chanabaya, Iquique Province, Tarapacá Region, Chile. It is associated with halite, ammineite, atacamite (a product of ammineite alteration) and thénardite. The gabbro host rock consists of amphibole, plagioclase and minor clinochlore, and contains accessory chalcopyrite. The latter is considered the source of Cu for shilovite. The new mineral occurs as deep violet blue, imperfect, thick tabular to equant crystals up to 0.15 mm in size included in massive halite. The mineral is sectile. Its Mohs hardness is 2. Dcalc is 1.92 g cm−3. The infrared spectrum shows the presence of NH3 molecules and NO3 anions. Shilovite is optically biaxial (+), α = 1.527(2), β = 1.545(5), γ = 1.610(2). The chemical composition (electron-microprobe data, H calculated from ideal formula, wt.%) is Cu 26.04, Fe 0.31, N 30.8, O 35.95, H 4.74, total 100.69. The empirical formula is H12.56(Cu1.09Fe0.01)N5.87O6.00. The idealized formula is Cu(NH3)4(NO3)2. The crystal structure was solved and refined to R = 0.029 based upon 2705 unique reflections having F > 4σ(F). Shilovite is orthorhombic, space group Pnn2, a = 23.6585(9), b = 10.8238(4), c = 6.9054(3) Å, V = 1768.3(1) Å3, Z = 8. The strongest reflections of the powder X-ray diffraction pattern [d, Å (I,%) (hkl)] are: 5.931 (41) (400), 5.841 (100) (011), 5.208 (47) (410), 4.162 (88) (411), 4.005 (62) (420), 3.462 (50) (002), 3.207 (32) (031), 2.811 (40) (412).

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