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Leverettite from the Torrecillas mine, Iquique Provence, Chile: the Co-analogue of herbertsmithite

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2018

A. R. Kampf*
Mineral Sciences Department, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA
M. J. Sciberras
School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith NSW 2750, Australia
P. A. Williams
School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith NSW 2750, Australia
M. Dini
Pasaje San Agustin 4045, La Serena, Chile
A. A. Molina Donoso
Los Algarrobos 2986 - Iquique, Chile


The new mineral leverettite (IMA 2013-011), ideally Cu3CoCl2(OH)6, was found at the Torrecillas mine, Salar Grande, Iquique Province, Chile, where it occurs as a supergene alteration phase in association with akaganéite, anhydrite, chalcophanite, goethite, halite, manganite, pyrite, quartz and todorokite. Crystals of leverettite are steep rhombohedra to 1 mm with {101} prominent and modified by {001}, sometimes forming V-shaped twins by reflection on {10}. The crystals can also form finger-like, parallel stacked growths along the c axis. The new mineral is medium to deep green in colour and has a light green streak. Crystals are transparent with a vitreous lustre. Mohs hardness is ∼3 and the crystals have a brittle tenacity, a perfect cleavage on {101} and a conchoidal fracture. The measured density is 3.64(2) g cm–3 and calculated density based on the empirical formula is 3.709 g cm–3. Optically, leverettite is uniaxial (–) with ω and ε > 1.8 and exhibits pleochroism with O (bluish green) > E (slightly yellowish green). The empirical formula, determined from electron-microprobe analyses is Cu3(Co0.43Cu0.40Mn0.17Ni0.07Mg0.01)Σ1.08Cl1.87O6.13H6. Leverettite is trigonal (hexagonal), space group Rm, unit-cell parameters a = 6.8436(6) and c = 14.064(1) Å, V = 570.42(8) Å3, Z = 3. The eight strongest X-ray powder diffraction lines are [dobs Å (I)(hkl)]: 5.469(90)(101), 4.701(18)(003), 2.905(22)(021), 2.766(100)(113), 2.269(66)(024), 1.822(26)(033), 1.711(33)(220), 1.383(23)(128). The structure, refined to R1 = 0.023 for 183 Fo > 4σF reflections, shows leverettite to be isostructural with herbertsmithite and gillardite.

Research Article
Copyright © The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2013

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