Physics and Chemistry of Minerals

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 705–716 | Cite as

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

Original paper


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 χ2 and overall R (F2) 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, Ca3Fe23+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 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeoscienceUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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