Physics and Chemistry of Minerals

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 37–51 | Cite as

Mixed valence of iron in minerals with cation clusters

  • Georg Amthauer
  • George R. Rossman


The valence and distribution of iron in vivianite, lazulite, babingtonite, rockbridgeite, acmite, aegirine-augite, hedenbergite, and ilvaite were studied with optical and Mössbauer spectroscopy. Optically activated intervalence charge transfer between Fe2+ and Fe3+ in neighboring sites through common edges or faces is observed in all these minerals irrespective of the polymerization of the iron-oxygen polyhedra ranging from finite clusters to infinite structural units. However, a distinct decrease occurs in the energy of the corresponding optical absorption band with increasing number of Fe2+ and Fe3+ ions involved in the charge transfer process. Thermally activated electron delocalization between Fe2+ and Fe3+ occurs only if Fe2+ and Fe3+ occupy crystallographically equivalent or geometrically very similar neighboring sites which share common edges to form extended structural units such as the ribbon in ilvaite. If the Fe-O polyhedra form finite clusters of two, three, or four polyhedra (e.g., in vivianite, lazulite, and babingtonite, respectively) no thermally-activated mixed-valence states of iron are observed. In aegirine, extended regions of the M1 chain are statistically occupied by Fe2+ and Fe3+ giving rise to thermally-activated electron delocalization in addition to the intervalence band in the optical absorption spectrum. The intensity of the optical intervalence absorption has been measured in a number of systems: ɛ values range from 60 to 210.


Optical Absorption Structural Unit Optical Absorption Spectrum Electron Delocalization Charge Transfer Process 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georg Amthauer
    • 1
  • George R. Rossman
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für MineralogieUniversität MarburgMarburgWest Germany
  2. 2.Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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