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Fleetite, Cu2RhIrSb2, a New Species of Platinum-Group Mineral from the Miass Placer Zone, Southern Urals, Russia


Fleetite, Cu2RhIrSb2, a new species of platinum-group mineral (PGM), was discovered intergrown with an Os–Ir–Ru alloy in the Miass Placer Zone (Au–PGE), southern Urals, Russia. A single grain 50 lm across was found. Osmium, ruthenium, and iridium are the main associated minerals; also present are Pt–Fe alloys, laurite, Sb-rich irarsite, Rh-rich tolovkite, kashinite, anduoite, ferronickelplatinum, heazlewoodite, PGE-bearing pentlandite and digenite, as well as micrometric inclusions of forsterite (Fo93.7), chromite–magnesiochromite, and Mg-rich edenite. In reflected light, fleetite is light gray; it is opaque, isotropic, non-pleochroic, and non-bireflectant. We report reflectance values measured in air. A mean of seven point-analyses (wavelength-dispersive spectrometry) gave Cu 13.93, Ni 8.60, Fe 0.10, Ir 28.07, Rh 7.91, Ru 1.96, Sb 39.28, total 99.85 wt.%, corresponding to (Cu1.41Ni0.58Fe0.01)R2.00(Rh0.49Ni0.36Ru0.12)R0.97Ir0.95Sb2.08 on the basis of six atoms per formula unit, taking into account the structural results. The calculated density is 10.83 g/cm3. Single-crystal X-ray studies show that fleetite is cubic, space group Fd3m (#227), a = 11.6682(8) Å, V = 1588.59(19) Å3, and Z = 16. A least-squares refinement of X-ray powder-diffraction data gave a = 11.6575(5) Å and V = 1584.22(19) Å3. The strongest five reflections in the powder pattern [d in Å(I)(hkl)] are: 6.70(75)(111), 4.13(100)(220), 3.52(30)(311), 2.380(50)(422), 2.064(40)(440). Results of synchrotron micro-Laue diffraction experiments are consistent [a ¼ 11.66(2) Å]. The crystal structure of fleetite was solved and refined to R ¼ 0.0340 based upon 153 reflections with Fo . 4r(Fo). It is isotypic with Pd11Bi2Se2 and best described as intermetallic, with all metal atoms in 12-fold coordination. Fleetite and other late exotic phases were formed by reaction of the associated alloy phases with a fluid phase enriched in Sb, As, and S in circulation in the cooling ophiolite source-rock. The mineral is named after Michael E. Fleet (1938–2017) in recognition of his significant contributions to the Earth Sciences.

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