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Tsikourasite, Mo3Ni2P1+x (x < 0.25), a New Phosphide from the Chromitite of the Othrys Ophiolite, Greece

Department of Applied Geological Sciences and Geophysics, University of Leoben, A-8700 Leoben, Austria
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Firenze, I-50121 Florence, Italy
Department of Geology, Section of Earth Materials, University of Patras, 265 00 Patras, Greece
Faculty of Science, Physical and Geological Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Gadong BE 1410, Brunei Darussalam
SGS Canada Inc., 185 Concession Street, PO 4300, Lakefield, ON K0L 2H0, Canada
Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Pisa, I-56126 Pisa, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 248;
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 21 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection New Minerals)
PDF [3596 KB, uploaded 26 April 2019]


Tsikourasite, Mo3Ni2P1+x (x < 0.25), is a new phosphide discovered in a mantle-hosted podiform chromitite collected in the abandoned mine of Agios Stefanos (Othrys ophiolite), Central Greece. It forms tiny grains (from a few μm up to about 80 μm) and occurs as isolated grains or associated with other known minerals such as nickelphosphide and awaruite, and with undetermined minerals such as Ni-allabogdanite or Ni-barringerite and a V-sulphide. Tsikourasite is brittle and has a metallic luster. In plane-polarized light, tsikourasite is white yellow and it shows no bireflectance, anisotropism or pleochroism. Internal reflections were not observed, Reflectance values of tsikourasite in air (R in %) are: 55.7 at 470 nm, 56.8 at 546 nm, 57.5 at 589 nm and 58.5 at 650 nm. Five spot analyses of tsikourasite give the average composition: P 7.97, S 0.67, V 14.13, Fe 14.37, Co 7.59, Ni 23.9, and Mo 44.16, total 99.60 wt.%, corresponding to the empirical formula (Mo1.778V1.071Fe0.082Co0.069)Σ3.000(Ni1.572Co0.428)Σ2.000(P0.981S0.079)Σ1.060, on the basis of Σ(Mo +V + Fe + Co + Ni) = 5 apfu and taking into account the structural results. The simplified formula is Mo3Ni2P1+x (x < 0.25). The density, which was calculated based on the empirical formula and single-crystal data, is 9.182 g/cm3. The mineral is cubic, space group F-43m, with a = 10.8215(5) Å and Z = 16. Although tsikourasite is similar in composition to those of monipite (MoNiP), polekhovskyite (MoNiP2), and the synthetic compound MoNiP2, all these phases are hexagonal and not cubic like tsikourasite. It exhibits the same structure as the cubic Mo3Ni2P1.18 compound [space group F-43m, a = 10.846(2) Å] synthesized at 1350 °C. The mineral and its name have been approved by the Commission of New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association (No. 2018-156). The mineral honors Professor Basilios Tsikouras of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam. View Full-Text
Keywords: tsikourasite; phosphide; chromitite; Agios Stefanos mine; Othrys; ophiolite; Greece tsikourasite; phosphide; chromitite; Agios Stefanos mine; Othrys; ophiolite; Greece

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Zaccarini, F.; Bindi, L.; Ifandi, E.; Grammatikopoulos, T.; Stanley, C.; Garuti, G.; Mauro, D. Tsikourasite, Mo3Ni2P1+x (x < 0.25), a New Phosphide from the Chromitite of the Othrys Ophiolite, Greece. Minerals 2019, 9, 248.

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