A new mineral species, bernardevansite (IMA2022-057), ideally Al2(Se4+O3)3⋅6H2O, has been discovered from the El Dragón mine, Potosí Department, Bolivia. It occurs as aggregates or spheres of radiating bladed crystals on a matrix consisting of Co-bearing krut'aite–penroseite. Associated minerals are Co-bearing krut'aite–penroseite, chalcomenite and ‘clinochalcomenite’. Bernardevansite is colourless in transmitted light, transparent with white streak and vitreous lustre. It is brittle and has a Mohs hardness of 2½–3. Cleavage is not observed. The measured and calculated densities are 2.93(5) and 2.997 g/cm3, respectively. Optically, bernardevansite is biaxial (+), with α = 1.642(5), β = 1.686(5) and γ = 1.74(1) (white light). An electron microprobe analysis yielded an empirical formula (based on 15 O apfu) (Al1.26Fe3+0.82)Σ2.08(Se0.98O3)3⋅6H2O, which can be simplified to (Al,Fe3+)2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O.

Bernardevansite is the Al-analogue of mandarinoite, Fe3+2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O or dimorphous with P|$\bar{6}$|forumla2c alfredopetrovite. It is monoclinic, with space group P21/c and unit-cell parameters a = 16.5016(5), b = 7.7703(2), c = 9.8524(3) Å, β = 98.258(3)°, V = 1250.21(6) Å3 and Z = 4. The crystal structure of bernardevansite consists of a corner-sharing framework of M3+O6 (M = Al and Fe) octahedra and Se4+O3 trigonal pyramids, leaving large voids occupied by the H2O groups. There are two unique M3+ positions: M1 is octahedrally coordinated by (4O + 2H2O) and M2 by (5O + H2O). The structure refinement indicates that Al preferentially occupies M1 (= 0.692Al + 0.308Fe) over M2 (= 0.516Al + 0.484Fe). The substitution of the majority of Fe in mandarinoite by Al results in a significant reduction in its unit-cell volume from 1313.4 Å3 to 1250.21(6) Å3 for bernardevansite. The discovery of bernardevansite begs the question whether the Fe3+ end-member, Fe3+2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O, has two polymorphs as well, one with P21/c symmetry, as for mandarinoite and the other P|$\bar{6}$|forumla2c, as for alfredopetrovite.

Bernardevansite, ideally Al2(Se4+O3)3⋅6H2O, is a new mineral species from the El Dragón mine, Antonio Quijarro Province, Potosí Department, Bolivia. It is named in honour of Dr Bernard W. Evans (b. 1934, Fig. 1), an Emeritus Professor in Mineralogy and Petrology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA. Bernard received his B.Sc. from the University of London King's College, England, 1955 and Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, England in 1959. He was an Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of California in Berkeley from 1965–1969 and a Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1969–2001. Bernard's major research interests included petrology, mineralogy, geochemistry and electron microprobe analysis, with outstanding contributions to the crystal chemistry and thermodynamics of amphiboles in particular and metamorphic minerals in general. In his over 50 years academic career, he has received numerous awards or honours, such as the Tennant Prize for Geology, King's College, London (1955), the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) Award (1970), U.S. Senior Scientist Award, Humboldt Foundation (1988–89), the President of MSA (1993–94), Fulbright Scholar, France (1995–96) and the Roebling Medal of MSA (2008). Dr Evans has gladly accepted the proposed naming. The new mineral and its name (symbol Bev) have been approved by the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA2022-057, Yang et al., 2023). The co-type samples have been deposited at the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum (Catalogue # 22712) and the RRUFF Project (deposition # R210010) (http://rruff.info). This paper describes the physical and chemical properties of bernardevansite, and its crystal structure determined from single-crystal X-ray diffraction data, illustrating its structural relationships with mandarinoite and alfredopetrovite.

Occurrence

Bernardevansite was found on a specimen (Fig. 2) collected from the El Dragón mine (19°49’15”S, 65°55’00”W), Antonio Quijarro Province, Potosí Department, Bolivia. Associated minerals are Co-bearing krut'aite–penroseite (matrix), chalcomenite and ‘clinochalcomenite’ (not IMA-approved). Detailed descriptions on the geology and mineralogy of the El Dragón mine have been given by Grundmann et al. (1990, 2007) and Grundmann and Förster (2017). This mine exploited a telethermal deposit consisting of a single selenide vein hosted in sandstones and shales. The major ore mineral is krut'aite, CuSe2, varying in composition to penroseite, NiSe2. Later solutions rich in Bi, Pb and Hg resulted in the crystallisation of minerals such as clausthalite, petrovicite, watkinsonite, and the recently described minerals eldragónite, Cu6BiSe4(Se2) (Paar et al., 2012), grundmannite, CuBiSe2 (Förster et al., 2016), hansblockite, (Cu,Hg)(Bi,Pb)Se2 (Förster et al., 2017), cerromojonite, CuPbBiSe3 (Förster et al., 2018) and nickeltyrrellite, CuNi2Se4 (Förster et al., 2019). Oxidation produced a wide range of secondary Se-bearing minerals, such as favreauite, PbBiCu6O4(SeO3)4(OH)⋅H2O (Mills et al., 2014), alfredopetrovite, Al2(Se4+O3)3⋅6H2O (Kampf et al., 2016a), petermegawite Al6(Se4+O3)3[SiO3(OH)](OH)9⋅10H2O (Yang et al., 2022a), franksousaite PbCu(Se6+O4)(OH)2 (Yang et al., 2022b) and the new mineral bernardevansite, described herein.

Physical and chemical properties and Raman spectra

Bernardevansite occurs as aggregates or spheres of radiating bladed crystals (Figs 3,4,5) on a matrix consisting of Co-bearing krut'aite–penroseite. Individual crystals of bernardevansite are found up to 0.10 × 0.03 × 0.01 mm, with elongation along [001] and common crystal forms {100}, {110}, |$\bar{1}$|forumla10} and {001}. Bernardevansite is colourless in transmitted light and transparent with white streak, and has a vitreous lustre. It is brittle and has a Mohs hardness of 2½–3. Cleavage was not observed. The density measured by flotation in heavy liquids is 2.93(5) g/cm3 and the calculated density is 2.997 g/cm3 on the basis of the empirical chemical formula and unit-cell volume from single-crystal X-ray diffraction data. Optically, bernardevansite is biaxial (+), with α = 1.642(5), β = 1.686(5), γ = 1.74(1) (determined in white light), 2V (meas.) = 84(2)° and 2V (calc.) = 87°. The pleochroism is very weak, from pale grey to grey, and dispersion was not observed. The calculated Gladstone-Dale compatibility index based on the empirical formula is 0.013 (superior) (Mandarino, 1981). Bernardevansite is insoluble in water or hydrochloric acid.

The chemical composition was determined using a Shimadzu-1720 electron microprobe (WDS mode, 15 kV, 10 nA and a beam diameter of 2 μm). The standards used for the probe analysis are given in Table 1, along with the determined compositions (11 analysis points). The resultant chemical formula, calculated on the basis of 15 O apfu (from the structure determination), is (Al1.26Fe3+0.82)Σ2.08(Se0.98O3)3⋅6H2O, which can be simplified to (Al,Fe3+)2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O.

The Raman spectrum of bernardevansite (Fig. 6) was collected on a randomly oriented crystal with a Thermo Almega microRaman system, using a solid-state laser with a wavelength of 532 nm at 75 mW power and a thermoelectric cooled CCD detector. The laser is partially polarised with 4 cm–1 resolution and a spot size of 1 μm.

X-ray crystallography

Both the powder and single-crystal X-ray diffraction data for bernardevansite were collected on a Rigaku Xtalab Synerg D/S 4-circle diffractometer equipped with CuKα radiation. Powder X-ray diffraction data were collected in the Gandolfi powder mode at 50 kV and 1 mA (Table 2) and the unit-cell parameters were refined using the program by Holland and Redfern (1997): a = 16.535(1), b = 7.7762(5), c = 9.8841(6) Å, β = 98.337(7)° and V = 1257.5(5) Å3.

All bernardevansite crystals examined are pervasively twinned on (100) with a twin law (⁠|$\bar{1}$|forumla 0 ½, 0 |$\bar{1}$|forumla 0, 0 0 1). Single-crystal X-ray diffraction data were collected from a 0.03 × 0.02 × 0.01 mm fragment. The systematic absences of reflections suggest the unique space group P21/c. The structure was solved and refined using SHELX2018 (Sheldrick, 2015a, 2015b). No H atoms were located through the difference-Fourier syntheses. The refined Al/Fe ratios at the octahedral M1 and M2 sites are (0.692Al + 0.308Fe) and (0.516Al + 0.484Fe), respectively, yielding a total Al/Fe ratio of 1.208/0.792, which is very close to that (1.211/0.789, normalised) measured from the electron microprobe analysis. The structure was refined as a 2-component twin with a twin ratio of 0.81/0.19. Final refinement statistics for bernardevansite are listed in Table 3. Atomic coordinates and displacement parameters are given in Tables 4 and 5, respectively. Selected bond distances are presented in Table 6. The bond-valence sums were calculated using the parameters given by Brese and O'Keeffe (1991) (Table 7). The crystallographic information file has been deposited with the Principal Editor of Mineralogical Magazine and is available as Supplementary material (see below).

Bernardevansite, Al2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O, is isostructural with mandarinoite, Fe3+2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O (Hawthorne, 1984), rather than with the Al end-member P|$\bar{6}$|forumla2c alfredopetrovite, Al2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O (Morris et al., 1992; Kampf et al., 2016a). In other words, it is dimorphous with alfredopetrovite. The crystal structure of bernardevansite consists of a corner-sharing framework of M3+O6 (M = Al and Fe) octahedra and Se4+O3 trigonal pyramids, leaving large voids that are occupied by the H2O groups (Fig. 7). There are three unique Se positions in bernardevansite, each of which is coordinated to three O atoms to form characteristic SeO3 trigonal pyramids. There are two unique M3+ positions: M1 is octahedrally coordinated by (4O + 2H2O) and M2 by (5O + H2O). The structure refinement indicates that Al preferentially occupies M1 (= 0.692Al + 0.308Fe) over M2 (= 0.516Al + 0.484Fe). There are three distinct H2O molecules (O13, O14 and O15) in the structure that are not bonded to any non-H cation (Table 7), in addition to three H2O molecules (O10, O11 and O12) bonded to M cations. Although our structure determination failed to locate H atoms, all O–O distances for H-bonding in bernardevansite are consistent and comparable with those found in mandarinoite (Hawthorne, 1984) (Table 6).

The substitution of the majority of Fe in mandarinoite by Al in bernardevansite results in a significant reduction in unit-cell volume from 1313.4 Å3 to 1250.21(6) Å3, which motivated this investigation. Compared to mandarinoite, which has the identical average <M–O> bond distances (2.021 Å) for the two octahedral sites (Hawthorne, 1984), the <M–O> distance for the M1 site (1.942 Å) in bernardevansite is shorter than that for the M2 site (1.955 Å), consistent with the preference of Al at M1 over M2 (0.692 vs. 0.516), as the ionic radius of VIAl3+ (0.535 Å) is smaller than that of VIFe3+ (0.645 Å) (Shannon, 1976). A survey of the literature appears to suggest that, for a structure with two or more octahedral sites, Al3+ is likely to be favoured by the site coordinated with more H2O molecules. This is indeed the case for bernardevansite, as the M1 site is coordinated by (4O + 2H2O) and M2 by (5O + H2O). Another typical example is coquimbite, which contains three distinct octahedral sites (M1, M2 and M3), with M1 coordinated by (6H2O), M2 by (6O2–) and M3 by (3H2O + 3O2–). All structure determinations on coquimbite have shown that Al3+ is predominately or exclusively ordered into the M1 site (e.g. Demartin et al., 2010; Yang and Giester, 2018; Mauro et al., 2020 and references therein).

According to the Raman spectroscopic studies on hydrous materials containing (SeO3)2– (e.g. Wickleder et al., 2004; Frost et al., 2006; Frost and Keeffe, 2008; Djemel et al., 2013; Wolak et al., 2013; Kasatkin et al., 2014; Mills et al., 2014; Kampf et al., 2016b), we made the following tentative assignments of major Raman bands for bernardevansite. The broad bands between 2900 and 3500 cm–1 and those between 1500 and 1750 cm–1 are due to the O–H stretching and H–O–H bending modes in H2O groups, respectively. The bands at 844 and 685 cm–1 are ascribable to the Se4+–O symmetric and antisymmetric stretching vibrations, respectively, within the Se4+O3 groups, whereas those from 320 to 570 cm–1 originate from the O–Se4+–O bending modes. The bands below 320 cm–1 are mainly associated with the rotational and translational modes of Se4+O3 groups, as well as the M3+–O interactions and lattice vibrational modes.

For comparison, the Raman spectra of alfredopetrovite, Al2(Se4+O3)3⋅6H2O and mandarinoite, Fe3+2(Se4+O3)3⋅6H2O, from the RRUFF Project (http://rruff.info/R210014 and http://rruff.info/R140742, respectively) are also plotted in Fig. 6. Evidently, the spectrum of bernardevansite is more similar to that of mandarinoite than to that of alfredopetrovite, pointing to the structural similarities between bernardevansite and mandarinoite.

Although the bernardevansite sample we studied here, (Al0.61Fe3+0.39)2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O, is isostructural with mandarinoite, its chemistry is closer to that of alfredopetrovite, the Al end-member of the Fe3+2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O–Al2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O system, as illustrated in Fig. 8. This raises an interesting question about its ideal chemical formula. Should it be expressed as (1) an Fe-bearing formula, (Al1–xFex)2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O, where 0 < x < 0.5, or (2) an Fe-free end-member formula, Al2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O. The first Fe-bearing formula requires that Fe is essential to stabilise the P21/c mandarinoite-type structure and there is no complete solid-solution series between Al2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O and Fe2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O. This formula appears to be consistent with synthetic experiments, as several hydrothermal syntheses of Al selenites conducted thus far have revealed only the hexagonal form of Al2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O and no monoclinic form (Morris et al., 1992; Ratheesh et al., 1997 and references therein). In contrast, the second Fe-free formula implies that Al2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O possesses two polymorphs: a monoclinic P21/c mandarinoite-type form and a hexagonal P|$\bar{6}$|forumla2c alfredopetrovite form. Regardless of its ideal chemical formula, the discovery of bernardevansite begs the question whether the Fe3+ end-member, Fe3+2(SeO3)3⋅6H2O, has two polymorphs as well, one with P21/c symmetry, as for mandarinoite, and the other P|$\bar{6}$|forumla2c, as for alfredopetrovite.

We are grateful for the constructive comments by Drs Anthony Kampf and Peter Leverett. This study was funded by the Feinglos family and Mr. Michael M. Scott.

To view supplementary material for this article, please visit https://doi.org/10.1180/mgm.2023.7

The authors declare none.

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