Original paper

Physics and Chemistry of Minerals

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 705-716

First online:

Three cubic phases intergrown in a birefringent andradite-grossular garnet and their implications

  • Sytle M. AntaoAffiliated withDepartment of Geoscience, University of Calgary Email author 

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The crystal chemistry across the garnet series is examined, and several systematic trends are reported. The crystal structure of three different cubic phases intergrown in a birefringent near end-member andradite from Namibia was refined by the Rietveld method, space group \( Ia\bar{3}d, \) and monochromatic synchrotron high-resolution powder X-ray diffraction data. Electron microprobe results indicate three phases with distinct compositions. The sample is birefringent, indicating that it is not cubic when observed optically. The reduced χ 2 and overall R (F 2) Rietveld refinement values are 1.655 and 0.0284, respectively, so the multi-phase refinement is excellent. The composition, weight %, unit-cell parameter (Å), distances (Å), and site-occupancy factors (sofs) are as follows: phase-1, Adr99, 88.5(1)  %, a = 12.06259(1), average 〈Ca–O〉 = 2.4310, Fe–O = 2.0189(4), Si–O = 1.6490(4) Å, Ca(sof) = 0.948(1), Fe(sof) = 0.934(1), and Si(sof) = 0.940(1). For phase-2: Adr71Grs28, 7.1(1) %, a = 12.00361(5), average 〈Ca–O〉 = 2.440, Fe–O = 1.979(3), Si–O = 1.641(3) Å, Ca(sof) = 0.913(5), Fe(sof) = 0.767(4), and Si(sof) = 0.932(5). For phase-3: Grs79Adr17, 4.4(1) %, a = 11.89719(4), average 〈Ca–O〉 = 2.404, Al–O = 1.935(4), Si–O = 1.667(3) Å, Ca(sof) = 0.944(6), Al(sof) = 1.069(7), and Si(sof) = 0.887(5). The dominant phase-1 (89 %; Adr99) is nearly end-member andradite, Ca3Fe 2 3+ Si3O12, which contains no cation order in the Ca(X) or Fe(Y) sites. The intergrowth of the three cubic phases causes considerable strain in the minor phases-2 and phases-3 that arise from different structural parameters and gives rise to strain-induced birefringence. For comparison, the results for an isotropic, single-phase, grossular–andradite garnet (Grs76Adr21) are also presented. The strain in the minor phases is about 3–5 times more than the unstrained dominant phase-1, or the unstrained single-phase grossular–andradite.


Andradite Grossular Birefringence Three-phase intergrowth Rietveld refinements Synchrotron high-resolution powder X-ray diffraction (HRPXRD) Crystal structure