Hanawaltite, Hg1+6Hg2+[Cl,(OH)]2O3 - A new mineral from the Clear Creek claim, San Benito County, California: Description and crystal structure

Powder Diffraction

, , , ,


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time


Hanawaltite, ideally Hg1+6Hg2+O3Cl2, is orthorhombic, Pbma (57), with unit-cell parameters refined from powder data: a=11.790(3), b=13.881(4), c=6.450(2) A??, V=1055.7(6) A??3, a:b:c =0.8494:1:0.4647, Z=4. The strongest six lines of the X-ray powder-diffraction pattern [d in A?? (I)(hkl)] are: 5.25 (80)(111), 3.164 (60)(231), 3.053 (100)(041), 2.954 (70)(141), 2.681 (50)(401), and 2.411 (50)(232,341). The mineral is an extremely rare constituent in a small prospect pit near the long-abandoned Clear Creek mercury mine, New Idria district, San Benito County, California. It was found on a single-fracture surface where it is intimately associated with calomel, native mercury, cinnabar, montroydite, and quartz. Individual crystals are subhedral to anhedral, platy to somewhat bladed, and average about 50 ??m in longest dimension. The largest known crystal is approximately 0.3??0.3 mm in size and is striated parallel [001]. Hanawaltite is opaque to translucent (on very thin edges), black to very dark brown-black in color, with a black to dark red-brown streak. Other physical properties include: metallic luster; cleavage {001} good; uneven fracture; brittle; nonfluorescent; H<5; calculated density (for the empirical formula) 9.51 g/cm3. In polished section, hanawaltite is moderately to strongly bireflectant and is pleochroic white (R1) to blue-white (R2). In reflected plane-polarized light, it is white with orange-red internal reflections in very thin grains and at grain margins. The anisotropy is strong with bright metallic blue rotation tints. Measured reflectance values, in air and in oil, are tabulated. Electron-microprobe analysis yielded Hg2O 82.46, HgO 14.27, Cl 3.33, H2O [0.34], sum [100.40], less O=Cl 0.75, total [99.65] wt. %, corresponding to Hg1+6.00H2+1.00[Cl 1.43(OH)0.57]??2.00O3.00, based on O+C1=5. After the crystal structure was determined, the original microprobe value for Hg2O, 96.2, was partitioned in a ratio of 6Hg2O:HgO and (OH) was calculated, such that Cl+(OH)=2. The hanawaltite structure consists of undulatory [Hg-Hg]2+ ribbons which roughly parallel (100). The diatomic [Hg-Hg]2+ groups have anion tails which, in turn, serve as cross linkages between dimer ribbons through [Hg2+O2Cl2] planar rhombs. The structure is compared to that of other mercury oxychlorides and each is found to have its own unique structural features. This structural diversity is attributed to the inherent ability of mercury to adopt either metallic or ionic types of bonds. The mineral name honors the late Dr. J. D. (Don) Hanawalt (1903-1987), who was a pioneer in the field of X-ray powder diffraction. ?? 1996 International Centre for Diffraction Data.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Hanawaltite, Hg1+6Hg2+[Cl,(OH)]2O3 - A new mineral from the Clear Creek claim, San Benito County, California: Description and crystal structure
Series title:
Powder Diffraction
Year Published:
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
Last page:
Number of Pages: