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Bowlesite, PtSnS, a new platinum group mineral (PGM) from the Merensky Reef of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 April 2020

Anna Vymazalová
Affiliation:
Czech Geological Survey, Geologická 6, 152 00, Praha 5, Czech Republic
Federica Zaccarini
Affiliation:
Department of Applied Geological Sciences and Geophysics, University of Leoben, Peter Tunner Str. 5, A-8700 Leoben, Austria
Giorgio Garuti
Affiliation:
Department of Applied Geological Sciences and Geophysics, University of Leoben, Peter Tunner Str. 5, A-8700 Leoben, Austria
František Laufek
Affiliation:
Czech Geological Survey, Geologická 6, 152 00, Praha 5, Czech Republic
Daniela Mauro
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Pisa, Via Santa Maria 53, I-56126 Pisa, Italy
Chris J. Stanley
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
Cristian Biagioni
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Pisa, Via Santa Maria 53, I-56126 Pisa, Italy
Corresponding

Abstract

Bowlesite is a new mineral discovered in the Merensky Reef of the Rustenburg Platinum Mine, Bushveld complex, South Africa. Bowlesite forms tiny grains (maximum dimension 20 μm). It is associated with sulfides including chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite and pentlandite, in contact with silicates including plagioclase, pyroxene- and minor serpentine-subgroup and amphibole-supergroup minerals. Bowlesite is brittle and has a metallic lustre. In plane-polarised light, bowlesite has a light bluish grey colour. It shows weak bireflectance, no pleochroism and has weak anisotropism. Internal reflections were not observed. Reflectance values of bowlesite in air (R1, R2 in %) are: 50.3–51.4 at 470 nm, 48.5–48.9 at 546 nm, 47.9–48.6 at 589 nm and 47.8–48.7 at 650 nm. Ten spot analyses of bowlesite give the average composition: Pt 56.85, Pd 0.02, Sn 34.03 and S 9.15, total 100.05 wt.%, corresponding to the empirical formula (Pt1.001Pd0.001)Σ1.002Sn0.997S1.001, based on 3 atoms per formula unit. The simplified formula is PtSnS. Due to the small size of bowlesite, the crystal structure was solved and refined from the powder X-ray-diffraction data of synthetic PtSnS. The calculated density is 10.06 g⋅cm–3. The mineral is orthorhombic, space group: Pca21 (#29) with a = 6.11511(10), b = 6.12383(10), c = 6.09667(11) Å, V = 228.31(1) Å3 and Z = 4. Bowlesite is isotypic with cobaltite, CoAsS. The origin of bowlesite is probably related to low-T exsolution of Pt–Sn phases from high-T sulfides crystallised from the sulfide melt. The mineral honours Dr. John Bowles (Manchester University, UK) for his contributions to ore mineralogy and mineral deposits related to mafic–ultramafic rocks.

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Article
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Copyright © The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2020

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Footnotes

Associate Editor: Ian T. Graham

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