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Are the ‘cave’ minerals archerite (K,NH4)H2PO4 and biphosphammite (K,NH4)H2PO4 identical? A molecular structural study

By Ray L. Frost, Yunfei Xi and Sara J. Palmer


The molecular structure of the mineral archerite ((K,NH4)H2PO4) has been determined and compared with that of biphosphammite ((NH4,K)H2PO4). Raman spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy has been used to characterise these ‘cave’ minerals. Both minerals originated from the Murra-el-elevyn Cave, Eucla, Western Australia. The mineral is formed by the reaction of the chemicals in bat guano with calcite substrates. Raman and infrared bands are assigned to H2PO4-, OH and NH stretching vibrations. The Raman band at 981 cm-1 is assigned to the HOP stretching vibration. Bands in the 1200 to 1800 cm-1 region are associated with NH4+ bending modes. The molecular structure of the two minerals appear to be very similar, and it is therefore concluded that the two minerals are identical

Topics: 030606 Structural Chemistry and Spectroscopy, archerite, biphosphammite, ‘cave’ minerals, brushite, mundrabillaite, dihydrogen phosphate, Raman spectroscopy.
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.molstruc.2011.06.015
OAI identifier:

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