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The staurolite enigma solved

Abstract : Staurolite has been long considered an enigma because of its remarkable pseudosymmetry and the frequent twinning. Staurolite gives two twins whose occurrence frequency seems to contradict the condition of lattice restoration requested by the reticular theory of twinning, in that the more frequent one (Saint Andrews cross twin) has a twin index of 12, whereas the less frequent one (Greek cross twin) has a twin index of 6. The hybrid theory of twinning shows that the former is actually a hybrid twin with two concurrent sublattices and an effective twin index of 6.0. However, this is still not sufficient to explain the observed higher occurrence frequency of the Saint Andrews twin. The (pseudo)eigensymmetry of the crystallographic orbits of staurolite has been analysed and it was found that the whole substructure built on anions is restored (with small deviations) by both twin laws, which explains why twinning is frequent in staurolite. On the other hand, 45% of the cation sites are quasi-restored in the Saint Andrews cross twin, against only 19% for the Greek cross twin: this difference finally explains the different occurrence frequencies of the two twins.
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Mohamed Amine Marzouki, Bernd Souvignier, Massimo Nespolo. The staurolite enigma solved. Acta Crystallographica Section a Foundations of Crystallography, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, 70 (4), pp.348-353. ⟨10.1107/S2053273314007335⟩. ⟨hal-01521316⟩



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