Abstract

The crystal structure of the mineral uytenbogaardtite, a rare silver-gold sulfide, was solved using intensity data collected for a crystal from the type locality, the Comstock lode, Storey County, Nevada (USA). The study revealed that the structure is trigonal, space group Rforumlac, with cell parameters a = 13.6952(5), c = 17.0912(8) Å and V = 2776.1(2) Å3. The refinement of an anisotropic model led to an R index of 0.0140 for 1099 independent reflections. The structure consists of a sub-lattice of sulfur atoms forming a distorted body-centred cubic arrangement. The structure contains distinct tri-atomic linear groups (S–Au–S) and Ag atoms bonded to four S atoms (from four different linear groups) in a distorted tetrahedral arrangement. On the basis of information gained from this characterization, uytenbogaardtite is here definitively proved to be structurally different from petzite, Ag3AuTe2 and fischesserite, Ag3AuSe2. By use of high-quality single-crystal diffraction data, the symmetry of the mineral was found to be trigonal, and not tetragonal as erroneously supposed. A revaluation of the powder diffraction data listed in the scientific literature for uytenbogaardtite according to the structural results obtained here leads to an excellent agreement. Crystal-chemical features of uytenbogaardtite, Au2S, petrovskaite AgAuS, uytenbogaardtite–fischesserite series Ag3Au(S2–xSex) and acanthite–naummanite series Ag2(S1–xSex) are compared.

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