Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona

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5 April 2023

Abellaite is the first new mineral species discovered in Catalonia. The first specimens were found in 2010 at the Eureka mine (Castell-Estaó, La Torre de Cabdella, Lleida) and abellaite was approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) in 2015.

It was named in honour of its discoverer, the mineralogist and gemmologist Joan Abella i Creus (Sabadell, 1968). The mineral was characterized by an interdisciplinary team of Catalan researchers led by Dr. Jordi Ibáñez Insa from the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera (ICTJA-CSIC).

Abellaite is a basic sodium and lead carbonate, NaPb2(CO3)2(OH), forming microscopic lamellar and colourless hexagonal crystals (<0.03 mm) with an intense pearly lustre. It precipitates from meteoric waters in the walls of the Eureka mine gallery and is formed in an extremely short interval on the geological time scale (under 40 years).

The type specimen is part of the mineralogy collection of the Natural History Museum of Barcelona, under the registration number MGB-26350. you can visit it in the premanent exhibition at the Natural Sciences Museum at Forum Park.

Cristalls hexagonals d’abellaïta. Imatge de microscopi electrònic de rastreig. © Jordi Ibáñez

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