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  1. Abstract In this study, we investigated an unusual natural Mn oxide hollandite-group mineral from the Kohare Mine, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, that has predominantly water molecules in the tunnels, with K, Na, Ca, and Ba. The specimens are labeled as type manjiroite, but our analyses show that Na is not the dominant tunnel species, nor is it even the primary tunnel cation, suggesting either an error in the original analyses or significant compositional variation within samples from the type locality. Chemical analyses, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and thermal gravimetric analysis measurements combined with Rietveld refinement results using synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction data suggest the chemical formula: (K0.19Na0.17Ca0.03Ba0.01H2O1.60)(Mn5.024+Mn2.823+Al0.14Fe0.02)O13.47(OH)2.53. Our analyses indicate that water is the primary tunnel species, and although water has been reported as a component in natural hollandites, this is the first detailed study of the crystal structure and dehydration behavior of a natural hydrous hollandite with water as the predominant tunnel species. This work underscores the rarity of natural Na-rich hollandite phases and focuses new attention on the role of hydrous components of hollandite-like phases in determining their capacities to exchange or accommodate various cations, such as Li+, Na+, Ba2+, Pb2+, and K+ in natural systems. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Raman spectra were collected for an extensive set of well-characterized layer-structure Mn oxide mineral species (phyllomanganates) employing a range of data collection conditions. We show that the application of various laser wavelengths, such as 785, 633, and 532 nm, at low power levels (30–500 μW) in conjunction with the comprehensive database of standard spectra presented here, makes it possible to distinguish and identify the various phyllomanganate minerals. The Raman mode relative intensities can vary significantly as a function of crystal orientation relative to the incident laser light polarization direction as well as incident laser light wavelength. Consequently, phase identification success is enhanced when using a standards database that includes multiple spectra collected for different crystal orientations and with different laser light wavelengths. The position of the highest frequency Raman mode near 630–665 cm–1 shows a strong linear correlation with the fraction of Mn3+ in the octahedral Mn sites. With the comprehensive Raman database of well-characterized Mn oxide standards provided here (and available online as Online Material1), and use of appropriate data collection conditions, micro-Raman is a powerful tool for identification and characterization of biotic and abiotic Mn oxide phases from diverse natural settings, including on other planets, as well as for laboratory and industrial materials. 
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  3. Abstract Water can be stored in nominally anhydrous minerals as substitutional hydroxyl, generating vast but commonly unrecognized H2O reservoirs in ostensibly dry regimes. Researchers have long known that hematite (α-Fe2O3) can accommodate small concentrations of hydroxyl through the substitution of Fe3+ by 3H+. Our study of natural hematite has demonstrated the occurrence of “hydrohematite” phases that are 10–20 mol% deficient in Fe and accordingly contain 3.6–7.8 mol% structural water. Intergrown with natural hydrohematite samples were superhydrous goethite-like phases exhibiting an Fe deficiency of 10–20 mol% relative to end-member goethite (α-FeOOH). We synthesized hydrohematite in alkaline solutions (pH 9–12) at low temperatures (T < 200 °C) using fresh ferrihydrite as the transient precursor, and we observed a nonclassical crystallization pathway involving vacancy inoculation by Fe as nanocrystals evolved. The high level of incorporation of H2O in iron (hydr)oxides dramatically alters their behaviors as catalysts and pigments, and the presence of hydrohematite in rocks may rule out high-T diagenesis. We propose that hydrohematite is common in low-T occurrences of Fe oxide on Earth, and by extension it may inventory large quantities of water in apparently arid planetary environments, such as the surface of Mars. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Birnessite-like minerals are among the most common Mn oxides in surficial soils and sediments, and they mediate important environmental processes (e.g., biogeochemical cycles, heavy metal confinement) and have novel technological applications (e.g., water oxidation catalysis). Ca is the dominant interlayer cation in both biotic and abiotic birnessites, especially when they form in association with carbonates. The current study investigated the structures of a series of synthetic Ca-birnessite analogs prepared by cation-exchange with synthetic Na-birnessite at pH values from 2 to 7.5. The resulting Ca-exchanged birnessite phases were characterized using powder X-ray diffraction and Rietveld refinement, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. All samples synthesized at pH values greater than 3 exhibited a similar triclinic structure with nearly identical unit-cell parameters. The samples exchanged at pH 2 and 3 yielded hexagonal structures, or mixtures of hexagonal and triclinic phases. Rietveld structure refinement and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that exchange of Na by Ca triggered reduction of some Mn3+, generating interlayer Mn2+ and vacancies in the octahedral layers. The triclinic and hexagonal Ca-birnessite structures described in this study were distinct from Na- and H-birnessite, respectively. Therefore, modeling X-ray absorption spectra of natural Ca-rich birnessites through mixing of Na- and H-birnessite end-members will not yield an accurate representation of the true structure. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Raman spectra were collected for an extensive set of well-characterized tunnel-structure Mn oxide mineral species employing a range of data collection conditions. Using various laser wavelengths, such as 785, 633, and 532 nm at low power levels (30–500 µW), as well as the comprehensive database of standard spectra presented here, it is generally possible to distinguish and identify the various tunnel structure Mn oxide minerals. The Raman mode relative intensities can vary significantly as a function of crystal orientation relative to the incident laser light polarization direction as well as laser light wavelength. Consequently, phase identification success is enhanced when using a standards database that includes multiple spectra collected for different crystal orientations and with different laser light wavelengths. For the hollandite-group minerals, the frequency of the Raman mode near 630 cm–1 shows a strong linear correlation with the fraction of Mn3+ in the octahedral Mn sites. With the comprehensive Raman database of well-characterized Mn oxide standards provided here (and available online as Supplemental Materials1), and use of appropriate data collection conditions, micro-Raman is a powerful tool for identification and characterization of biotic and abiotic Mn oxide phases from diverse natural settings, including on other planets. 
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  6. Abstract Unlike most native metals, the unit cells of metal oxides tend to expand when crystallite sizes approach the nanoscale. Here we review different models that account for this behavior, and we present structural analyses for goethite (α-FeOOH) crystallites from ~10 to ~30 nm. The goethite was investigated during continuous particle growth via the hydrothermal transformation of 2-line ferrihydrite at pH 13.6 at 80, 90, and 100 °C using time-resolved, angle-dispersive synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Ferrihydrite gels were injected into polyimide capillaries with low background scattering, increasing the sensitivity for detecting diffraction from goethite nanocrystals that nucleated upon heating. Rietveld analysis enabled high-resolution extraction of crystallographic and kinetic data. Crystallite sizes for goethite increased with time at similar rates for all temperatures. With increasing crystallite size, goethite unit-cell volumes decreased, primarily as a result of contraction along the c-axis, the direction of closest-packing (space group Pnma). We introduce the coefficient of nanoscale contraction (CNC) as an analog to the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) to compare the dependence of lattice strain on crystallite size for goethite and other metal oxides, and we argue that nanoscale-induced crystallographic expansion is quantitatively similar to that produced when goethite is heated. In addition, our first-order kinetic model based on the Johnson-Mehl-Avrami-Kolmogorov (JMAK) equation yielded an activation energy for the transformation of ferrihydrite to goethite of 72.74 ± 0.2 kJ/mol, below reported values for hematite nucleation and growth. 
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  7. Pyrite is a ubiquitous iron sulfide mineral that is oxidized by trace oxygen. The mineral has been largely absent from global sediments since the rise in oxygen concentration in Earth’s early atmosphere. We analyzed weathering in shale, the most common rock exposed at Earth’s surface, with chemical and microscopic analysis. By looking across scales from 10−9to 102meters, we determined the factors that control pyrite oxidation. Under the atmosphere today, pyrite oxidation is rate-limited by diffusion of oxygen to the grain surface and regulated by large-scale erosion and clast-scale fracturing. We determined that neither iron- nor sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms control global pyrite weathering fluxes despite their ability to catalyze the reaction. This multiscale picture emphasizes that fracturing and erosion are as important as atmospheric oxygen in limiting pyrite reactivity over Earth’s history.

     
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