Abstract

Nixonite (IMA 2018-133), ideally Na2Ti6O13, is a new mineral found within a heavily metasomatized pyroxenite xenolith from the Darby kimberlite field, beneath the west-central Rae Craton, Canada. It occurs as microcrystalline aggregates, 15 to 40 μm in length. Nixonite is isostructural with jeppeite, K2Ti6O13, with a structure consisting of edge- and corner-shared titanium-centered octahedra that enclose alkali-metal ions. The Mohs hardness is estimated to be between 5 and 6 by comparison to jeppeite, and the calculated density is 3.51(1) g/cm3. Electron microprobe wavelength-dispersive spectroscopic analysis (average of 6 points) yielded: Na2O 6.87, K2O 5.67, CaO 0.57, TiO2 84.99, V2O3 0.31, Cr2O3 0.04, MnO 0.01, Fe2O3 0.26, SrO 0.07, total 98.79 wt%. The empirical formula, based on 13 O atoms, is: (Na1.24K0.67Ca0.06)Σ1.97(Ti5.96V0.023Fe0.018)Σ6.00O13 with minor amounts of Cr and Mn. Nixonite is monoclinic, space group C2/m, with unit-cell parameters a = 15.3632(26) Å, b = 3.7782(7) Å, c = 9.1266(15) Å, β = 99.35(15)°, and V = 522.72(1) Å3, Z = 2. Based on the average of seven integrated multi-grain diffraction images, the strongest diffraction lines are [dobs in Å (I in %) (hkl)]: 3.02 (100) (310), 3.66 (75) (110), 7.57 (73) (200), 6.31 (68) (201), 2.96 (63) (311), 2.96 (63) (203), and 2.71 (62) (402). The five main Raman peaks of nixonite, in order of decreasing intensity, are at 863, 280, 664, 135, and 113 cm–1. Nixonite is named after Peter H. Nixon, a renowned scientist in the field of kimberlites and mantle xenoliths. Nixonite occurs within a pyroxenite xenolith in a kimberlite, in association with rutile, priderite, perovskite, freudenbergite, and ilmenite. This complex Na-K-Ti-rich metasomatic mineral assemblage may have been produced by a fractionated Na-rich kimberlitic melt that infiltrated a mantle-derived garnet pyroxenite and reacted with rutile during kimberlite crystallization.

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