FOS researcher involved in the discovery of tsikourasite, a new and rare phosphide material


A researcher from FOS’ Physical and Geological Sciences Programme co-authored a publication revealing the discovery of tsikourasite, a new and rare phosphide mineral. The name of the mineral was officially approved by the International Mineralogical Association CNMNC (No. 2018-156) in honour of Assoc. Professor Dr. Basilios Tsikouras, from FOS’ Physical and Geological Sciences Programme for his contributions to the ore mineralogy and mineral deposits related to ophiolites.



This represents the first time that UBD is affiliated with the discovery of a new mineral. A group of rare phosphides were initially detected at the Scanning Electron Microscope Facility at the Physical and Geological Sciences at FOS. These phases were first observed, by Ms. Elena Ifandi, a visiting researcher in UBD, while investigating rock specimens collected in Greece. Dr. Zaccarini from University of Leoben, Austria subsequently led the identification of this new mineral and the determination of its chemical and physical properties, while co-authors of this discovery include Prof. Luca Bindi (University of Florence, Italy), Dr. Tassos Grammatikopoulos (Lakefield, Canada), Prof. Giorgio Garuti (University of Leoben, Austria), Dr. Chris Stanley (Natural History Museum, London) and Dr. Daniela Mauro (University of Pisa, Italy) all high-caliber, world-class experts in this field.



This is a great honour for the Faculty of Science and UBD, and was achieved after collaboration with Dr. Zaccarini and Prof. Garuti during their visit to UBD as keynote speakers in the 1st International Congress on Earth Sciences in SE Asia, organised by the Geological Sciences Programme at FOS, UBD in November 2017. The sample of the new mineral has been added to the mineralogical collection of the Museo di Storia Naturale, Università di Firenze, Via La Pira 4, I-50121, Firenze, Italy, catalogue number 3296/I.



Back-scattered electron images (A and C) and reflected plane polarised light images (B and D) of tsikourasite (Tsk) from the chromitite mine of Agios Stefanos. The image to the right shows the crystal structure of tsikourasite.



Full paper:

Zaccarini, F.; Bindi, L.; Ifandi, E.; Grammatikopoulos, T.; Stanley, C.; Garuti, G.; Mauro, D. Tsikourasite, Mo3Ni2P1+x (x < 0.25), a New Phosphide from the Chromitite of the Othrys Ophiolite, Greece. Minerals 2019, 9, 248. https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040248 qrv1a3dec2019
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