Marchettiite, (NH 4 )C 5 H 3 N 4 O 3 , a new organic mineral from Mount Cervandone, Devero Valley, Western–Central Alps, Italy


The new mineral marchettiite (IMA2017-066) is the natural equivalent of ammonium hydrogen urate. It has a simple molecular formula C5H7N5O3 and can be alternatively written as (NH4)C5H3N4O3. Marchettiite was found in a cleft at Mount Cervandone, Devero Valley, Piedmont, Italy, where it occurs as aggregates of opaque pale pink to white, platy prismatic crystals. This mineral has a white streak, dull and opaque lustre, it is not fluorescent and has a hardness of 2–2.5 (Mohs’ scale). The tenacity is brittle and crystals have a good cleavage parallel to {001}. The calculated density is 1.69 g/cm3. Marchettiite is biaxial (–) with 2V of 47.24°; the optical properties of marchettiite were determined by periodic-DFT methods providing the following values: α = 1.372, β = 1.681 and γ = 1.768. No twinning was observed. Electron microprobe analyses gave the following chemical formula: C4.99H6.97N4.91O3.00. Although the small crystal size did not allow refinement of structural data by single-crystal diffraction, we were able to refine the structure by powder micro X-ray diffraction. Marchettiite has space group P and the following unit-cell parameters: a = 3.6533(2) Å, b = 10.2046(7) Å, c = 10.5837(7) Å, α = 113.809(5)°, β = 91.313(8)°, γ = 92.44(1)° and V = 360.312 Å3. The strongest lines in the powder diffraction pattern [d in Å (I)(hkl)] are: 9.784(50)(001); 8.663(80)(01); 5.659(100)(011); 3.443(100)(10); 3.241(70)(003) and 3.158(100)(1. Marchettiite is named after Gianfranco Marchetti, the mineral collector who found this mineral.


DOI: 10.1180/mgm.2022.97

Research Groups: Computational Carbon Chemistry

Publication type: Journal

Journal: Mineralogical Magazine

Citation: MinMag 86(6):966-974

Date Published: 1st Dec 2022

Registered Mode: by DOI

Authors: Alessandro Guastoni, Fabrizio Nestola, Federico Zorzi, Arianna Lanza, Michelle Ernst, Paolo Gentile, Sergio Andò, Alessandra Lorenzetti

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Guastoni, A., Nestola, F., Zorzi, F., Lanza, A., Ernst, M., Gentile, P., Andò, S., & Lorenzetti, A. (2022). Marchettiite, (NH4)C5H3N4O3, a new organic mineral from Mount Cervandone, Devero Valley, Western–Central Alps, Italy. In Mineralogical Magazine (Vol. 86, Issue 6, pp. 966–974). Mineralogical Society.

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Created: 3rd Feb 2023 at 15:33

Last updated: 5th Mar 2024 at 21:25

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