The new mineral vorlanite, (CaU6+)O4, Dcalc = 7.29 g/cm3, H = 4–5, VHN10 = 360 kg/mm2, was found near the top of Mt. Vorlan in a calcareous skarn xenolith in ignimbrite of the Upper Chegem caldera in the Northern Caucasus, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia. Vorlanite occurs as aggregates of black platy crystals up to 0.3 mm long with external symmetry 3̅m. The strongest powder diffraction lines are [d(Å)/(hkl)]: 3.107/(111), 2.691/(200), 1.903/(220), 1.623/(311), 1.235/(331), 1.203/(420), 1.098/(422), 0.910/(531). Single-crystal X-ray study gives isometric symmetry, space group Fmm, a = 5.3813(2) Å, V = 155.834(10) Å3, and Z = 2. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy indicate that all U in vorlanite is hexavalent. The mineral is isostructural with fluorite and uraninite (U4+O2). In contrast to synthetic rhombohedral CaUO4, and most U6+ minerals, the U6+ cations in vorlanite are present as disordered uranyl ions. [8]Ca2+ and [8]U6+ are disordered over a single site with average M-O = 2.33 Å.

Vorlanite is believed to be a pseudomorphic replacement of originally rhombohedral CaUO4. We assume that this rhombohedral phase transformed by radiation damage to cubic CaUO4 (vorlanite). The new mineral is associated with larnite, chegemite, reinhardbraunsite, lakargiite, rondorfite, and wadalite, which are indicative of high-temperature formation (>800 °C) at shallow depth.

You do not currently have access to this article.