Putnisite

A multinational group of scientists led by Dr Peter Elliott of South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide has described a new mineral from the Polar Bear peninsula, Southern Lake Cowan, Australia.

putnidiyr

The new mineral is named putnisite after Drs Christine and Andrew Putnis from the University of Münster, Germany, for their outstanding contributions to mineralogy.

Putnisite occurs as isolated pseudocubic crystals, up to 0.5 mm in diameter, and is associated with quartz and a near amorphous Cr silicate.

It is translucent, with a pink streak and vitreous lustre. It is brittle and shows one excellent and two good cleavages parallel to {100}, {010} and {001}.

“What defines a mineral is its chemistry and crystallography. By x-raying a single crystal of mineral you are able to determine its crystal structure and this, in conjunction with chemical analysis, tells you everything you need to know about the mineral.

“Most minerals belong to a family or small group of related minerals, or if they aren’t related to other minerals they often are to a synthetic compound – but putnisite is completely unique and unrelated to anything.”

Putnisite combines the elements strontium, calcium, chromium, sulfur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen:

SrCa4Cr83+(CO3)8SO4(OH)16•25H2O

The mineral has a Mohs hardness of 1.5–2, a measured density of 2.20 g/cm3 and a calculated density of 2.23 g/cm3. It was discovered during prospecting by a mining company in Western Australia.

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