Switzerite

switzerite

metaswitzerite

ludlamite

triphylite

Images

Formula: Mn2+3(PO4)2·7H2O
Hydrated normal phosphate, ludlamite group
Specific gravity: 2.535
Hardness: 2
Streak: White
Colour: Pale pink, pinkish brown
Environments

Pegmatites

Switzerite occurs in complex zoned granite pegmatites as a late stage hydrothermal alteration product of minerals such as triphylite and triplite (HOM, JRS 8(1).1-9). In air it dehydrates to metaswitzerite rapidly and irreversibly (Mindat).

Localities

At Reaphook Hill, South Australia, switzerite has been found in a gossan-like mass covering unmetamorphosed siltstone and associated with hillite, scholzite, tarbuttite, parahopeite, collinsite, rockbridgeite and phosphophyllite (Minrec 35.4.352, HOM).

At Burdell Gill, Coombe Height, Caldbeck, Allerdale, Cumbria, England, UK, remarkably stable switzerite has been found. Generally switzerite rapidly dehydrates to metaswitzerite on exposure to the air, but at Burdell Gill the mineral is a genuinely supergene phase occurring as small divergent sprays or as a thin film of fibrous material on hairline fracture surfaces in gossanous quartz associated with barium pharmacosiderite. A specimen was studied which had been collected almost ten years before, but was stable switzerite rather than metaswitzerite. It is thought that the presence of iron causes the rapid dehydration of switzerite to metaswitzerite, but the Burdell Gill switzerite is essentially iron-free; it is also unusually rich in arsenate, and it is possible that this also contributes towards the stability of switzerite from this site (JRS 8(1).1-9).

At the 7U7 Ranch, Arizona, USA, switzerite is associated with triplite, bermanite, leucophosphite, strengite, phosphosiderite and paulkerrite (HOM).

At the Emmons pegmatite, Greenwood, Oxford county, Maine, USA, switzerite and metaswitzerite occur rarely as patches of crystals to 2 mm in rhodochrosite and altered lithiophilite. The Emmons pegmatite is situated in a belt of metasedimentary rocks which originated as marine sediments which were subsequently deformed and metamorphosed. The Emmons pegmatite is an example of a highly evolved boron-lithium-cesium-tantalum enriched pegmatite (R&M 94.6.516).

At the type locality, the Foote Lithium Company Mine, Kings Mountain Mining District, Cleveland county, North Carolina, USA, switzerite occurs with vivianite in seams in spodumene-rich pegmatite (AM52.1595-1602), associated with metaswitzerite and vivianite (HOM).

At the TipTop mine, South Dakota, USA, switzerite is associated with hureaulite (HOM).

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