An X-Ray Investigation of some Rare-Earth Silicates: Cerite, Lessingite, Beckelite, Britholite, and Stillwellite

P. Gay
Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, University of Cambridge.

Summary: An X-ray study of a number of rare-earth silicates has been carried out; single-crystal and powder data are presented.

It is found that cerites can contain up to at least 6 % CaO without disruption of the structure, which is trigonal with probable space-group P321 etc. The cell dimensions are a ca. 10·8 Å., c ca. 37–38 Å., although there is a strong pseudo-cell with halved c-axis. An ideal formula (Ca,Ln†)3Si2(O,OH,F)9 is proposed for this series.

Lessingite and beckelite can be regarded chemically as lime-rich members of this cerite series. They do not, however, have the same crystal structure as cerite; their diffraction patterns are very similar to that of britholite, and indicate a structure dimensionally comparable with apatite. For a hexagonal cell, the dimensions are a ca. 9·7 Å., c ca. 7·1 Å., with probable space-group P63, &c. An ideal formula (Ca,Ln)2(Si,Al,P)(O,OH,F)5 is proposed for this series. Marked biaxial optical properties suggest that the structure may be truly orthorhombic, with a very close dimensional approximation to a hexagonal cell.

The new mineral, stillwellite, is unrelated to either of these series. It is trigonal with cell dimensions a ca. 6·9 Å., c ca. 6·7 Å., with probable space-group P3112. An ideal formula (Ca,Ln)(Si,Al,P)B(O,OH,F)5 suggested by previous work is confirmed.

Mineralogical Magazine; June 1957 v. 31; no. 237; p. 455-468; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1957.031.237.04
© 1957, The Mineralogical Society
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