Australian research group described new mineral named Putnisite

Australian scientists discover new mineral, Putnisite

7:11 AM, 23rd April 2014
Putnisite new mineral
Crystals of putnisite (purple). © Peter Elliott.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: A multinational research group 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. The new mineral is named "Putnisite" after Dr Christine and Andrew Putnis from the University of Munster, Germany, for their outstanding contributions to mineralogy. Putnisite occurs as isolated pseudocubic crystals, up to 0.5 mm in diametre, and is associated with quartz and a near amorphous Chromium 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,” explained Dr Elliott.

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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