In the Fregeneda area different pegmatitic types can be distinguished on the basis of their mineralogy, internal structure and field relationships. The most common type corresponds with simple pegmatites with a homogeneous internal structure, but Li and Sn-bearing pegmatites are also relatively widespread, besides a minority group of Fe-Mn phosphate-bearing pegmatites that has recently been characterized. These pegmatites are located in an intermediate zone, between the barren pegmatites and the most evolved Li and Sn-bearing bodies, and they carry a complex association of phosphate minerals. The study of these phosphates has allowed the identification of the primary phases as wyllieite, graftonite, sarcopside, triplite-zwieselite and ferrisicklerite; the secondary phosphates are rosemaryite, heterosite-purpurite, alluaudite and väyrynenite. In this study, the main characteristics of these phosphate minerals are reported, including their chemical composition, analysed by electron microprobe, and their unit-cell parameters, calculated using X-ray powder diffraction techniques.
A common transformation mechanism in this phosphate association is the oxidation of the transition metal cations at the same time as Na-leaching in wyllieite to generate rosemaryite, and Li-leaching in ferrisicklerite to generate heterosite. The occurrence of sarcopside lamellae in ferrisicklerite and heterosite is evidence of the replacement processes of the former by the latter. A Na-metasomatic replacement of the early phosphates as ferrisicklerite and graftonite, producing alluaudite, is also a well developed process.
Phosphate minerals occur in pegmatites with an intermediate degree of fractionation, appearing between the barren and the more evolved pegmatites with Li and Sn, which is in agreement with the pegmatite field zonation established in the literature.