International Mineralogical Association


Mineral of the Year 2015

The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) is pleased to announce that the Mineral of the Year award for 2015 goes to chanabayaite.

This mineral was discovered and studied by Nikita V. Chukanov of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Chernogolovka, Moscow Region) in collaboration with Natalia V. Zubkova (Moscow State University, MSU), Gerhard Möhn (Niedernhausen, Germany), Igor V. Pekov (MSU), Dmitry Yu. Pushcharovsky (MSU), and Aleksandr E. Zadov (NPP Teplokhim, Moscow).

Chanabayaite, Cu2(N3C2H2)Cl(NH3,Cl,H2O,[])4, is a new mineral species from Mt. Pabellón de Pica near the village of Chanabaya in the Tarapacá region of Chile (Chukanov et al. 2015). This unusual organometallic mineral does not only have a unique crystal structure that features the 1,2,4-triazolate anion (N3C2H2)-, but also acts as a “bridge” between the geosphere and the biosphere because its deep-blue crystals formed where guano deposits (the source of the C and N) came into contact with a chalcopyrite-bearing gabbro (which supplied the Cu). Chanabayaite formed by Na and Cl leaching from, and by the dehydration of, another triazolate-bearing natural compound – and potentially another new mineral – NaCu2Cl3[N3C2H2]2[NH3]2·4H2O (Zubkova et al. 2016).

Prof. Chukanov is known internationally both for his fascinating mineral discoveries (chanabayaite is but one of the 190 new species under Chukanov’s belt) and his prominent contributions to mineral spectroscopy [most recently, Chukanov (2014) and Chukanov and Chervonnyi (2016)]. A close runner-up to the winner was decagonite (Al71Ni24Fe5), the second naturally occurring quasicrystal from the Khatyrka CV3 carbonaceous chondrite (Bindi et al. 2015).

Sergey Krivovichev
IMA President

Bindi L and 12 coauthors (2015) Decagonite, Al71Ni24Fe5, a quasicrystal with decagonal symmetry from the Khatyrka CV3 carbonaceous chondrite. American Mineralogist 100: 764-772
Chukanov NV (2014) Infrared Spectra of Mineral Species: Extended Library. Springer-Verlag GmbH, Dordrecht–Heidelberg–New York–London, 1, 716 pp
Chukanov NV, Chervonnyi AD (2016) Infrared Spectroscopy of Minerals and Related Compounds. Springer, Cham–Heidelberg– Dordrecht–New York–London, 1,109 pp
Chukanov NV and 5 coauthors (2015) Chanabayaite, Cu2(N3C2H2)Cl(NH3,Cl,H2O,[])4, a new mineral containing triazolate anion. Geology of Ore Deposits 57: 712-720
Zubkova NV and 7 coauthors (2016) The crystal structure of the natural 1,2,4-triazolate compound NaCu2Cl3[N3C2H2]2[NH3]2·4H2O. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie 231: 47-54


Mineral of the Year 2014

The Mineral of the Year for 2014 is ophirite!

Ophirite, Ca2Mg4[Zn2Mn23+(H2O)2(Fe3+W9O34)2]·46H2O, is a new mineral species from the Ophir Hill Consolidated mine, Ophir district, Oquirrh Mountains, Tooele County, Utah, USA, and was described by Anthony R. Kampf of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and co-authors: John M. Hughes (University of Vermont), Barbara P. Nash (University of Utah), Stephen E. Wright (Miami University), George R. Rossman (Caltech), and Joe Marty (Utah) (Kampf et al., 2014). Ophirite forms beautiful, orange-brown tablet-shaped crystals up to 1 mm in length and is the first known mineral to contain a lacunary defect derivative of the Keggin anion, i.e. a heteropolyanion missing some of its octahedral segments (Keggin, 1934). Phases with the Keggin anion are important in solid state chemistry as a catalyst (e.g. Sun et al., 2009).

We would like to mention that there were other very interesting phases which were close runner-ups, including bluebellite, Cu6[I5+O3(OH)3](OH)7Cl (Mills et al. 2014), qingsongite, BN (Dobrzhinetskaya et al. 2014) and peterandresenite, Mn4Nb6O19·14H2O (Friis et al. 2014).

Once again, we would like to congratulate the authors on the discovery of ophirite and encourage all of the readers to read about this fantastic find in the American Mineralogist article.

Sergey Krivovichev
IMA President

Dobrzhinetskaya LF, Wirth R, Yang J, Green HW, Hutcheon ID, Weber PK, Grew ES (2014) Qingsongite, natural cubic boron nitride: The first boron mineral from the Earth’s mantle. American Mineralogist 99: 764-772
Friis H, Larsen AO, Kampf AR, Evans RJ, Selbekk RS, Sánchez A, Kihle J (2014) Peterandresenite, Mn4Nb6O19·14H2O, a new mineral containing the Lindqvist ion from a syenite pegmatite of the Larvik Plutonic Complex, southern Norway. European Journal of Mineralogy 26: 567-576
Kampf AR, Hughes JM, Nash BP, Wright SE, Rossman GR, Marty J (2014) Ophirite, Ca2Mg4[Zn2Mn23+(H2O)2(Fe3+WO34)2]·46H2O, a new mineral with a heteropolytungstate tri-lacunary Keggin anion. American Mineralogist 99: 1045-1051
Keggin JF (1934) The structure and formula of 12-phosphotungstic acid. Proceedings of the Royal Society A 144: 75-100
Mills SJ, Kampf AR, Christy AG, Housley RM, Rossman GR, Reynolds RE, Marty J (2014) Bluebellite and mojaveite, two new minerals from the central Mojave Desert, California, USA. Mineralogical Magazine 78: 1325-1340
Sun CY, Liu SX, Liang DD, Shao K9Z, Ren YH, Su ZM (2009) Highly stable crystalline catalysts based on a microporous metal−organic framework and polyoxometalates. Journal of the American Chemical Society 131: 1883-1888