Compressibility of synthetic Mg-Al tourmalines to 60 GPa

Eleanor J. Berryman, Dongzhou Zhang, Bernd Wunder, Thomas S. Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


High-pressure single-crystal X-ray diffraction patterns on five synthetic Mg-Al tourmalines with near end-member compositions [dravite NaMg3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH, K-dravite KMg3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH, magnesio-foitite ?(Mg2Al)Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3OH, oxy-uvite CaMg3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3(OH)3O, and olenite NaAl3Al6Si6O18(BO3)3O3OH, where o represents an X-site vacancy] were collected to 60 GPa at 300 K using a diamond-anvil cell and synchrotron radiation. No phase transitions were observed for any of the investigated compositions. The refined unit-cell parameters were used to constrain third-order Birch-Murnaghan pressure-volume equation of states with the following isothermal bulk moduli (K0 in GPa) and corresponding pressure derivatives (K0 = ∂ K0/∂ P)T: dravite K0 = 97(6), K0 = 5.0(5); K-dravite K0 = 109(4), K0 = 4.3(2); oxy-uvite K0 = 110(2), K0 = 4.1(1); magnesio-foitite K0 = 116(2), K0 = 3.5(1); olenite K0 = 116(6), K0 = 4.7(4). Each tourmaline exhibits highly anisotropic behavior under compression, with the c axis 2.8-3.6 times more compressible than the a axis at ambient conditions. This anisotropy decreases strongly with increasing pressure and the c axis is only ~14% more compressible than the a axis near 60 GPa. The octahedral Y- and Z-sites' composition exerts a primary control on tourmaline's compressibility, whereby Al content is correlated with a decrease in the c-axis compressibility and a corresponding increase in K0 and K. Contrary to expectations, the identity of the X-site-occupying ion (Na, 0 K, or Ca) does not have a demonstrable effect on tourmaline's compression curve. The presence of a fully vacant X site in magnesio-foitite results in a decrease of K0 relative to the alkali and Ca tourmalines. The decrease in K0 for magnesio-foitite is accounted for by an increase in compressibility along the a axis at high pressure, reflecting increased compression of tourmaline's ring structure in the presence of a vacant X site. This study highlights the utility of synthetic crystals in untangling the effect of composition on tourmaline's compression behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1015
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Mineralogist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • Tourmaline
  • diamond-anvil cell
  • equation of state
  • single-crystal X-ray diffraction
  • synthetic


Dive into the research topics of 'Compressibility of synthetic Mg-Al tourmalines to 60 GPa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this