Vibrational, X-ray absorption, and Mössbauer spectra of sulfate minerals from the weathered massive sulfide deposit at Iron Mountain, California

Juraj Majzlan, Charles N. Alpers, Christian Bender Koch, R. Blaine McCleskey, Satish Chandra Babu Myneni, John M. Neil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The Iron Mountain Mine Superfund site in California is a prime example of an acid mine drainage (AMD) system with well developed assemblages of sulfate minerals typical for such settings. Here we present and discuss the vibrational (infrared), X-ray absorption, and Mössbauer spectra of a number of these phases, augmented by spectra of a few synthetic sulfates related to the AMD phases. The minerals and related phases studied in this work are (in order of increasing Fe2O3/FeO): szomolnokite, rozenite, siderotil, halotrichite, römerite, voltaite, copiapite, monoclinic Fe2(SO4)3, Fe2(SO4)3·5H2O, kornelite, coquimbite, Fe(SO4)(OH), jarosite and rhomboclase. Fourier transform infrared spectra in the region 750-4000cm-1 are presented for all studied phases. Position of the FTIR bands is discussed in terms of the vibrations of sulfate ions, hydroxyl groups, and water molecules. Sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectra were collected for selected samples. The feature of greatest interest is a series of weak pre-edge peaks whose position is determined by the number of bridging oxygen atoms between Fe3+ octahedra and sulfate tetrahedra. Mössbauer spectra of selected samples were obtained at room temperature and 80K for ferric minerals jarosite and rhomboclase and mixed ferric-ferrous minerals römerite, voltaite, and copiapite. Values of Fe2+/[Fe2++Fe3+] determined by Mössbauer spectroscopy agree well with those determined by wet chemical analysis. The data presented here can be used as standards in spectroscopic work where spectra of well-characterized compounds are required to identify complex mixtures of minerals and related phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-305
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 24 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • Infrared spectra
  • Iron Mountain
  • Mössbauer spectra
  • Oxygen bridging
  • Sulfate minerals
  • X-ray absorption spectra


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