Nazarovite, Ni12P5, a new terrestrial and meteoritic mineral structurally related to nickelphosphide, Ni3P

Sergey N. Britvin, Mikhail N. Murashko, Maria G. Krzhizhanovskaya, Oleg S. Vereshchagin, Yevgeny Vapnik, Vladimir V. Shilovskikh, Maksim S. Lozhkin, Edita V. Obolonskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nazarovite, Ni12P5, is a new natural phosphide discovered on Earth and in meteorites. Terrestrial nazarovite originates from phosphide assemblages confined to pyrometamorphic suite of the Hatrurim Formation (the Mottled Zone), the Dead Sea basin, Negev desert, Israel. Meteoritic nazarovite was identified among Ni-rich phosphide precipitates extracted from the Marjalahti meteorite (main group pallasite). Terrestrial mineral occurs as micrometer-sized lamella intergrown with transjordanite (Ni2P). Meteoritic nazarovite forms chisel-like crystals up to 8 μm long. The mineral is tetragonal, space group I4/m. The unit-cell parameters of terrestrial and meteoritic material, respectively: a 8.640(1) and 8.6543(3), c 5.071(3), and 5.0665(2) Å, V 378.5(2), and 379.47(3) Å3, Z = 2. The crystal structure of terrestrial nazarovite was solved and refined on the basis of Xray single-crystal data (R1 = 0.0516), whereas the structure of meteoritic mineral was refined by the Rietveld method using an Xray powder diffraction profile (RB = 0.22%). The mineral is structurally similar to phosphides of schreibersite-nickelphosphide join, Fe3P-Ni3P. Chemical composition of nazarovite (terrestrial/meteoritic, electron microprobe, wt%): Ni 81.87/78.59, Fe <0.2/4.10; Co <0.2/0.07, P 18.16/17.91, total 100.03/100.67, leading to the empirical formula Ni11.97P5.03 and (Ni11.43Fe0.63Co0.01)12.07P4.94, based on 17 atoms per formula unit. Nazarovite formation in nature, both on Earth and in meteorites, is related to the processes of Fe/Ni fractionation in solid state, at temperatures below 1100 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1946-1951
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Mineralogist
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • crystal structure
  • Fe-Ni-P system
  • meteorite
  • nanoprecipitates
  • NiP
  • nickelphosphide
  • planetary interiors
  • pyrometamorphism

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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