Abstract

Recently, there has been substantial interest in post-stishovite high-pressure polymorphs of SiO2, discovered as extraterrestrial minerals, or synthesized in the laboratory. Previous investigators reported the presence of “α-PbO2-like” and “baddeleyite-like” SiO2 in the Martian meteorite Shergotty, and also the synthesis of an α-PbO2-like phase at pressures of 60–80 GPa in a laser-heated diamond anvil cell. To provide definitive information about the nature of the natural “α-PbO2 phase,” we recovered a small sample from the Shergotty meteorite, obtained powder X-ray diffraction patterns, and performed a Rietveld refinement of the structure. The resulting cell parameters and space group are a = 4.097(1) Å, b = 5.0462(9) Å, c = 4.4946(8) Å, and Pbcn. The structure refinement confirms that this sample does have the α-PbO2 structure.

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