The Iron-rich Blueschist Facies Minerals: 2. Howieite

Robert Muir Wood
Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, Cambridge

Summary: The mineral howieite has a stability range that extends down to pressures at, or even below, those normally considered to represent blueschist facies metamorphism. Its structure, lying somewhere between a chain and a sheet silicate, can accommodate almost complete iron for manganese substitution as well as the more extraordinary ferrous iron for ferric iron substitution, that is tolerated by changes in the hydroxyl and water content of the unit cell. The ideal formula is NaM12 Si12(O,OH)44, where M is principally manganese and iron but may include limited amounts of aluminium and magnesium. Four new localities for howieite have been discovered by the author and the howieites from the eight localities that have been analysed here help complete the compositional spectrum. The most curious crystallographic feature of howieite is that although the structure seems capable of considerable chemical variation, it is only those howieites of approximate NaMn3Fe8(AlMg)1Si12(O,OH)44 composition that are well crystallized, often growing to over 10 mm in length.

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1979 v. 43; no. 327; p. 363-370; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1979.043.327.08
© 1979, The Mineralogical Society
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