Nickolayite, FeMoP, a new natural molybdenum phosphide

Mikhail N. Murashko, Sergey N. Britvin, Yevgeny Vapnik, Yury S. Polekhovsky, Vladimir V. Shilovskikh, Anatoly N. Zaitsev, Oleg S. Vereshchagin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nickolayite, FeMoP, is a new terrestrial phosphide structurally related to allabogdanite (high-pressure modification of (Fe,Ni)2P), and the meteoritic phosphides florenskyite, FeTiP and andreyivanovite, FeCrP. From the point of view of chemical composition, nickolayite is an Fe-analogue of monipite, MoNiP. The mineral was discovered in the Daba-Siwaqa complex, Central Jordan, a part of the pyrometamorphic Hatrurim Formation (the Mottled Zone), whose outcrops encompass a 150 × 200 km area around the Dead Sea in the Middle East. Nickolayite appears as an accessory phase in the fused clinopyroxene-plagioclase rocks texturally resembling gabbro-dolerite. The irregularly shaped grains of the mineral, up to 80 m in size are associated with baryte, tridymite, chromite, hematite, pyrrhotite, fluorapatite, titanite and powellite. Macroscopically, nickolayite grains possess light-grey to greyish-white colour and metallic lustre. The mineral is ductile. The mean VHN hardness (50 g load) is 538 kg mm-2. The calculated density based on the empirical formula and the unit-cell parameters is 7.819 g cm-1. In reflected light, nickolayite has a white colour, with no bireflectance or pleochroism. The COM approved reflectance values [Rmax/Rmin (%), λ(nm)] are: 48.5/46.5 (470), 50.5/48.5 (546), 51.8/49.9 (589) and 53.9/52.0 (650). The chemical composition of the holotype crystal is (electron microprobe, average of 4 analyses, wt.%): Fe 32.21, Mo 47.06, Ni 3.69, Co 0.13, P 17.45, total 100.54, that corresponds to the empirical formula Fe1.00(Mo0.87Ni0.11Fe0.02)Σ1.00P1.00 and an ideal formula of FeMoP. Nickolayite is orthorhombic, space group Pnma, unit-cell parameters of holotype material are: a = 5.9519(5), b = 3.7070(3), c = 6.8465(6) Å, V = 151.06(2) Å3 and Z = 4. The crystal structure of holotype material was solved and refined to R1 = 0.0174 based on 251 unique observed reflections. The origin of the mineral is probably connected to the processes of co-reduction of molybdenum- and phosphorus-bearing minerals during high-temperature pyrometamorphic processes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)749-757
Number of pages9
JournalMineralogical Magazine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 30 Oct 2022


  • Dead Sea
  • Hatrurim Formation
  • Middle East
  • crystal structure
  • gabbro-dolerite
  • molybdenum
  • phosphide
  • pyrometamorphism

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nickolayite, FeMoP, a new natural molybdenum phosphide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this