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Somersetite, Pb8O(OH)4(CO3)5, a new complex hydrocerussite-related mineral from the Mendip Hills, England

  • Oleg I. Siidra (a1) (a2), Diana O. Nekrasova (a1), Rick Turner (a3), Anatoly N. Zaitsev (a4) (a5), Nikita V. Chukanov (a6), Yury S. Polekhovsky (a7), John Spratt (a5) and Mike S. Rumsey (a8)...

The new mineral somersetite, has been found at Torr Works (‘Merehead quarry’) in Somerset, England, United Kingdom. Somersetite is green or white (typically it is similar visually to hydrocerussite-like minerals but with a mint-green tint), forms plates and subhedral grains up to 5 mm across and up to 2 mm thick. In bi-coloured crystals it forms very thin intergrowths with plumbonacrite. The empirical formula of somersetite is Pb8.00C5.00H4.00O20. The simplified formula is Pb8O(OH)4(CO3)5, which requires: PbO = 87.46, CO2 = 10.78, H2O = 1.76, total 100.00 wt.%.

The infrared spectrum of somersetite is similar to that of plumbonacrite and, to a lesser degree, hydrocerussite. Somersetite is hexagonal, P63/mmc, a = 5.2427(7), c = 40.624(6) Å, V = 967.0(3) Å3 and Z = 2. The eight strongest reflections of the powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern [d,Å(I)(hkl)] are: 4.308(33)(103), 4.148(25)(104), 3.581(40)(107), 3.390(100)(108), 3.206(55)(109), 2.625(78)(110), 2.544(98)(0.0.16) and 2.119(27)(1.0.17). The crystal structure was solved from single-crystal XRD data giving R1 = 0.031. The structure of somersetite is unique and consists of the alternation of the electroneutral plumbonacrite-type [Pb5O(OH)2(CO3)3]0 and hydrocerussite-type [Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2]0 blocks separated by stereochemically active lone electron pairs on Pb2+. There are two blocks of each type per unit cell in the structure, which corresponds to the formula [Pb5O(OH)2(CO3)3][Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2] or Pb8O(OH)4(CO3)5 in a simplified representation. The 2D blocks are held together by weak Pb–O bonds and weak interactions between lone pairs.

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Associate Editor: Juraj Majzlan

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Mineralogical Magazine
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