ABSTRACT

Structural data for weishanite, an alloy of Au, Ag and Hg, were collected for the first time from a crystal from the Keystone Mine, Colorado, USA. The structure was solved in the space group P63/mmc with the unit cell a = 2.9348(8) and c = 4.8215(18) Å] and refined to R = 0.0299 for 40 observed reflections [4σ(F) level] and four parameters and to R = 0.0356 for all 47 independent reflections. The weishanite structure can be considered a derivative of the zinc structure, with Au, Ag and Hg disordered in the same structural position. On this basis, we suggest that the formula is normalized to 1 atom with Z = 2, leading, for the sample investigated, to Au0.41Ag0.31Hg0.28 (electron microprobe data). Accordingly, weishanite can be considered the Au-rich isotype of schachnerite. A comparison with other Au/Ag-Hg alloys is presented together with a critical discussion about the nomenclature rules to be applied to alloys and simple metals.

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