Aurivilliusite, ideally Hg2+Hg1+OI, is monoclinic, C 2/c, with unit-cell parameters refined from X-ray powder data: a= 17.580(6), b= 6.979(1), c= 6.693(3)Å, β = 101.71(4)°, V = 804.0(5)Å3, a:b:c= 2.5190:1:0.9590,Z = 8. The strongest six lines of the X-ray powder-diffraction pattern [din Å (I )(hkl)] are: 8.547(70)(200), 3.275(100)(002), 2.993(80)(2̄21), 2.873(80)(600), 2.404(50b)(6̄02, 421, 2̄22) and 1.878(50)(2̄23). This extremely rare mineral was collected from a small prospect pit near the longabandoned Clear Creek mercury mine, New Idria district, San Benito County, California, USA. It is intimately intermixed with another new undefined Hg-O-I phase (‘CCUK-15’), and is also closely associated with native mercury, cinnabar and edgarbaileyite in a host rock principally composed of quartz and magnesite. Aurivilliusite occurs in a cm-wide quartz vein predominantly as irregular-shaped thin patches ‘splattered’ on the quartz surface; patches vary in size from 10–20 μm up to 0.5 mm. The only known subhedral platy brightly reflecting crystal fragment, with major ﹛100﹜ form and distinct ﹛100﹜ cleavage, did not exceed 0.2 mm in longest dimension. The mineral is dark grey-black with a dark red-brown streak. Physical properties include: metallic lustre; opaque; non-fluorescent; brittle; uneven fracture; calculated density 8.96 g/cm3 (empirical formula), 8.99 g/cm3 (ideal formula). In polished section in plane-polarized reflected light, aurivilliusite resembles cinnabar, is extremely light sensitive, shows twinning and no internal reflections, and exhibits an unusual ‘red light’ coalescing phenomena. Averaged and corrected results of electron-microprobe analyses yielded HgO 40.10, Hg2O 38.62, I 22.76, Br 0.22, Cl 0.06, sum 101.76, less O = I + Br + Cl –1.46, total 100.30 wt.%, corresponding to Hg1.00
1+ O1.01(I0.97Br0.01Cl0.01)Σ0.99, based on O + I + Br + Cl = 2 atoms per formula unit (a.p.f.u.). The original value for Hg, 74.27 wt.%, was partitioned in a HgO:Hg2O ratio of 1:1 after the discovery of the crystal-structure paper dealing with the synthetic equivalent of aurivilliusite. The mineral name is in honour of the late Dr Karin Aurivillius (1920 –1982), chemistcrystallographer at the University of Lund, Sweden, for her significant contributions to the crystal chemistry of Hg-bearing inorganic compounds. Aurivilliusite is related chemically to terlinguaite, Hg2+Hg1+OCl, but has a different structure and X-ray characteristics.