Abstract

The common association of beryllium minerals with fluorite in hydrothermal deposits has suggested that beryllium was carried in solution as the fluoberyllate, BeF42-, and that beryllium was precipitated when a reduction of the fluoride concentration by the formation of fluorite caused the dissociation of the complex fluorides (Staatz and Griffitts, 1961). Inasmuch as the BeF42- ion closely resembles the SO42- ion in its chemical and structural properties, we might expect the formation in nature of fluoberyllate analogs of sulfate minerals, some of which are well known laboratory products (Ray, 1931). The cation that seems most likely to form natural fluoberyllates is Ba2+, which might be partly replaced by Pb2+, as pointed out by Cannas and Rollier (1961). BaBeF4 probably looks like barite, with which it is isostructural, and is likely to be mistaken for it. These two substances can, fortunately, be distinguished by optical or X-ray examination. I have found no beryllian “barite” myself and hope that publication of its diagnostic properties in this note will facilitate its recognition by others.

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