The triplite–triploidite supergroup: structural modulation in wagnerite, discreditation of magniotriplite, and the new mineral hydroxylwagnerite

Chopin, Christian; Armbruster, Thomas Michael; Grew, Edward S.; Baronnet, Alain; Leyx, Catherine; Medenbach, Olaf (2014). The triplite–triploidite supergroup: structural modulation in wagnerite, discreditation of magniotriplite, and the new mineral hydroxylwagnerite. European journal of mineralogy, 26(4), pp. 553-565. E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 10.1127/0935-1221/2014/0026-2386

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Electron-microprobe analysis, single-crystal X-ray diffraction with an area detector, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy show that minerals related to wagnerite, triplite and triploidite, which are monoclinic Mg, Fe and Mn phosphates with the formula Me2+ 2PO4(F,OH), constitute a modulated series based on the average triplite structure. Modulation occurs along b and may be commensurate with (2b periodicity) or incommensurate but generally close to integer values (∼3b, ∼5b, ∼7b, ∼9b), i.e. close to polytypic behaviour. As a result, the Mg- and F-dominant minerals magniotriplite and wagnerite can no longer be considered polymorphs of Mg2PO4F, i.e., there is no basis for recognizing them as distinct species. Given that wagnerite has priority (1821 vs. 1951), the name magniotriplite should be discarded in favour of wagnerite.

Hydroxylwagnerite, end-member Mg2PO4OH, occurs in pyrope megablasts along with talc, clinochlore, kyanite, rutile and secondary apatite in two samples from lenses of pyrope–kyanite–phengite–quartz-schist within metagranite in the coesite-bearing ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic unit of the Dora-Maira Massif, western Alps, Vallone di Gilba, Val Varaita, Piemonte, Italy. Electron microprobe analyses of holotype hydroxylwagnerite and of the crystal with the lowest F content gave in wt%: P2O5 44.14, 43.99; SiO2 0.28, 0.02; SO3 –, 0.01; TiO2 0.20, 0.16; Al2O3 0.06, 0.03; MgO 48.82, 49.12; FeO 0.33, 0.48; MnO 0.01, 0.02; CaO 0.12, 0.10; Na2O 0.01, –; F 5.58, 4.67; H2O (calc) 2.94, 3.36; –O = F 2.35, 1.97; Sum 100.14, 99.98, corresponding to (Mg1.954Fe0.007Ca0.003Ti0.004Al0.002Na0.001)Σ=1.971(P1.003Si0.008)Σ=1.011O4(OH0.526F0.474)Σ=1 and (Mg1.971Fe0.011Ca0.003Ti0.003Al0.001)Σ=1.989(P1.002Si0.001)Σ=1.003O4(OH0.603F0.397)Σ=1, respectively. Due to the paucity of material, H2O could not be measured, so OH was calculated from the deficit in F assuming stoichiometry, i.e., by assuming F + OH = 1 per formula unit. Holotype hydroxylwagnerite is optically biaxial (+), α 1.584(1), β 1.586(1), γ 1.587(1) (589 nm); 2V Z(meas.) = 43(2)°; orientation Y = b. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction gives monoclinic symmetry, space group P21/c, a = 9.646(3) Å, b = 12.7314(16) Å, c = 11.980(4) Å, β = 108.38(4) , V = 1396.2(8) Å3, Z = 16, i.e., hydroxylwagnerite is the OH-dominant analogue of wagnerite [β-Mg2PO4(OH)] and a high-pressure polymorph of althausite, holtedahlite, and α- and ε-Mg2PO4(OH).

We suggest that the group of minerals related to wagnerite, triplite and triploidite constitutes a triplite–triploidite super-group that can be divided into F-dominant phosphates (triplite group), OH-dominant phosphates (triploidite group), O-dominant phosphates (staněkite group) and an OH-dominant arsenate (sarkinite). The distinction among the three groups and a potential fourth group is based only on chemical features, i.e., occupancy of anion or cation sites. The structures of these minerals are all based on the average triplite structure, with a modulation controlled by the ratio of Mg, Fe2+, Fe3+ and Mn2+ ionic radii to (O,OH,F) ionic radii.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Armbruster, Thomas Michael


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung




Sarah Antenen

Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2015 15:48

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:48

Publisher DOI:



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