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X-Ray and Mössbauer Study of Magnetic Black Sand from Mayotte Island

Saverio Braccini, Karl Krämer, Stephane Chapenoire

Abstract: Natural magnetic black sands are known from several sites often located in areas of volcanic origin. Their elemental and mineral composition provides information on the geology of their territory and depends on several factors occurred during their formation. A sample of black sand was collected on the seashore of the island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean and its magnetic part was investigated by means of energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), and MÖssbauer spectroscopy at room temperature. The mineral composition is dominantly magnetite, in good agreement with samples collected in other sites of volcanic origin. Contrary to pure magnetite, a relevant fraction of Ti was detected by EDS. The 16% Ti and 1% Mn content increase the magnetite lattice parameter to 8.4312 (25) Å. The broadening of XRD lines pointed towards a significant degree of disorder. This was confirmed by MÖssbauer spectroscopy and is attributed to the presence of Ti replacing Fe in the magnetite lattice. The presence of Ti modifies the local magnetic field on the Fe sites, leading to a broader and more complex MÖssbauer transmission spectrum with respect to the one of pure magnetite. To study the effect of temperature, samples were heated for 12 hours to 600°C and 800°C in argon and to 1000°C in air. Annealing in argon did not improve the crystallinity while annealing in air caused a complete decomposition of magnetite into hematite and pseudobrookite.
Keywords: Mssbauer / magnetite / samples / local magnetic / Study / sites / black sand

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