Sasaite - Occurrence, Properties, and Distribution

Sasaite is an orthorhombic white mineral containing sulfur, phosphorus, oxygen, iron, hydrogen, and aluminum. The mineral was first found in 1978 from the West Dreifontein cave, near Carlstonville in Transvaal, South Africa.

It was named for the South African Speleological Association (SASA), whose members collected the first specimens.

Properties of Sasaite

The following are the key properties of Sasaite:

  • Cell Data
    • Space Group: n.d
    • a = 10.75
    • b = 15.02
    • c = 46.03
    • Z = 6

  • Crystal Data
    • Orthorhombic
    • Point Group: n.d
    • Crystals with rhombic outline, {110}, small {100}, {010}, to 20µm, stacked in twisted vermiform aggregates; in veinlets, nodules, and efflorescences
    • X-ray Powder Pattern: 11.52 (100), 2.901 (42), 6.99 (23), 7.51 (22), 6.30 (21), 4.214 (18), 3.262 (18)

  • Chemical Composition
    Elements Content 1 Content 2
    H2O 49.50 [32.98]
    P2O5 24.16 32.79
    Al2O3 21.65 29.81
    SO3 2.77 3.72
    Fe2O3 1.05 0.13
    CaO 0.12 0.08
    MgO 0.07 -
    F 0.03 -
    SrO 0.02 -
    MnO 0.01 -
    -O = F2 0.01 -
    CuO - 0.38
    K2O - 0.11
    insol. 0.07 -
    Total 99.44 [100.00]

  • Optical Properties
    • Optical Class: Biaxial (–)
    • Orientation: X˜ c; Y˜b; Z˜a
    • α = 1.465(1)
    • β = 1.473(1)
    • γ = 1.477(1)
    • 2V(meas.) = n.d

  • Estimated Properties
    Electron density Bulk density (electron density) = 1.83 g/cm3
    note: Specific gravity of Sasaite = 1.75 g/cm3
    Photoelectric PESasaite = 1.97 barns/electron
    U= PESasaite x ρElectron density = 3.60 barns/cm3
    Fermion index Fermion index = 0.001
    Boson index = 0.998
    Radioactivity
    Sasaite is not radioactive

How to Identify Sasaite

Sasaite is an earthy white mineral, having perfect cleavage and white streak. It can be formed as nodules, having irregular protuberances over the surface.

The density of sasaite is 1.75 g/cm3, and its hardness ranges from 2 to 3.

Global Distribution

Sasaite is distributed in the following places:

  • West Driefontein Cave, Carlstonville, west Transvaal, South Africa
  • Skipton lava tube caves, 40km southwest of Ballarat, and near Cheshunt, Victoria
  • Rapid Creek, Yukon Territory, Canada
  • Feengrotten (Cave), near Saalfeld, Thuringia, Germany,

Occurrence of Sasaite and Useful Mineral Association

Sasaite occurs in veinlets in slate, and it is rarely formed from acidic phosphate-sulfate-rich solutions derived from bat guano reacting with clay minerals in cave soil.

The minerals that are closely related to sasaite include apatite, leucophosphite, phosphosiderite, strengite, and variscite.

References

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Submit