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Crystal structure of owyheeite, Ag1.5Pb4.43Sb6.07S14: refinement from powder synchrotron X-ray diffraction

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The crystal structure of owyheeite, a natural Ag-Pb-Sb sulphosalt from hydrothermal veins at Kutná Hora in central Bohemia, Czech Republic has been refined from powder X-ray synchrotron data, with a final R wp = 4.1 %. The symmetry is monoclinic, space group P21/c, with a = 4.1035(1), b = 27.3144(3), c = 22.9366(3) Å, β = 90.359(1)°. The structural formula is Ag1.5Pb4.43Sb6.07S14, with Z = 4. The structure of owyheeite contains 26 independent atoms: four Pb sites, one mixed Pb/Sb site, five Sb sites, one Ag site, one mixed Ag/Sb site and 14 S sites. All of them are in general Wyckoff position 4e of the space group P21/c; no special positions are occupied. The powder synchrotron diffraction pattern showed weak diffraction reflections indicative of a 2asuperstructure. Three types of aggregates of coordination polyhedra can be recognized: three-fold columns of bicapped trigonal coordination prisms of Pb, two-strand ribbons of Sb and four-strand ribbons of 2 Sb atoms and 2 mixed sites Sb/Ag and Pb/Sb. A typical feature of the owyheeite structure is an ordering of Sb atoms to form lone electron pair micelles. Electron probe microanalysis gives (mean of 10 point analyses in wt. %): Ag 6.51(12), Cu 0.18(2), Pb 45.03(24), Sb 28.69(33), S 19.66(19), Total 100.08. Owyheeite belongs to a broad family of rod-based sulphosalt structures with the chess-board arrangement of the rods.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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  • The European Journal of Mineralogy publishes original papers, review articles and letters dealing with the mineralogical sciences s.l. These include primarily mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, crystallography and ore deposits, as well as environmental, applied and technical mineralogy. Nevertheless, papers in any related field, including cultural heritage, will be considered.
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