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Thebaite-(NH4), (NH4,K)3Al(C2O4)(PO3OH)2(H2O), a new phosphate–oxalate mineral from the Rowley mine, Arizona, USA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2021

Anthony R. Kampf*
Mineral Sciences Department, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California90007, USA
Mark A. Cooper
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2, Canada
Aaron J. Celestian
Mineral Sciences Department, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California90007, USA
Barbara P. Nash
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah84112, USA
Joe Marty
5199 East Silver Oak Road, Salt Lake City, Utah84108, USA
*Author for correspondence: Anthony R. Kampf, E-mail:


Thebaite-(NH4), (NH4,K)3Al(C2O4)(PO3OH)2(H2O), is a new mineral species (IMA2020-072) from the Rowley mine, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA. It occurs in an unusual bat-guano-related, post-mining assemblage of phases that include a variety of vanadates, phosphates, oxalates and chlorides, some containing NH4+. Other secondary minerals found in association with thebaite-(NH4) are antipinite, vanadinite and at least one other new mineral. Crystals of thebaite-(NH4) are colourless blades up to ~0.1 mm in length. The streak is white, lustre is vitreous, Mohs hardness is 1½–2, tenacity is brittle and fracture is splintery. There are two good cleavages in the [010] zone, probably {100} and {10$\bar{2}$}. The calculated density is 2.093 g⋅cm–3. Thebaite-(NH4) is optically biaxial (–) with α = 1.490(2), β = 1.534(2), γ = 1.570(2) (white light); 2V = 82.7(5)°; slight r > v dispersion; and orientation X = b, Y ^ c = 13° in obtuse β. Electron microprobe analysis gave the empirical formula [(NH4)2.12K0.69Na0.20]Σ3.01(Al0.84Fe3+0.11V3+0.04)Σ0.99(C2O4)[(P0.98Si0.02)O3OH]2(H2O), with the C, N and H contents constrained by the crystal structure. Raman spectroscopy confirmed the presence of NH4 and C2O4. Thebaite-(NH4) is monoclinic, P21/c, with a = 11.156(9), b = 6.234(6), c = 18.651(16) Å, β = 102.928(15)°, V = 1264.2(19) Å3 and Z = 4. The structural unit in the crystal structure of thebaite-(NH4) (R1 = 0.0612 for 863 Io > 2σI reflections) is a double-strand chain of corner-sharing AlO6 octahedra and PO3OH tetrahedra decorated by additional PO3OH tetrahedra and C2O4 groups. The decorated chains connect to one another through bonds to NH4+ and K+ and through hydrogen bonds.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland

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Associate Editor: Peter Leverett


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