Spheniscidite, a New Phosphate Mineral from Elephant Island, British Antarctic Territory

M. J. Wilson and D. C. Bain
Department of Mineral Soils, the Macaulay Institute for Soil Research, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen

Abstract: Spheniscidite is a new phosphate mineral occurring in a soil profile in an area of nesting penguins on Elephant Island. It is the NH4-dominant analogue of leucophosphite and has the formula (NH4,K)(Fe3+,Al)2 (PO4)2(OH) · 2H2O. It is monoclinic, P21/n with unit cell parameters a = 9.75, b = 9.63, c = 9.70 Å, β = 102° 34′, and Z = 4. The strongest X-ray lines are 6.79(100), 5.99(90), 3.05(45), 7.62(40) Å. Spheniscidite is thought to have formed by the interaction of ammonium phosphate solutions from penguin guano with micaceous and chloritic minerals in the soil. The name is for Sphenisciformes, the order name for penguins, and has been approved by the IMA Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names.

Keywords: spheniscidite • phosphate minerals • new minerals • Elephant Island • Antarctica

Mineralogical Magazine; June 1986 v. 50; no. 356; p. 291-293; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1986.050.356.14
© 1986, The Mineralogical Society
Mineralogical Society (www.minersoc.org)