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American Mineralogist

Journal of Earth and Planetary Materials

Ed. by Baker, Don / Xu, Hongwu

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 2.631

CiteScore 2018: 2.55

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.355
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.103

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Volume 100, Issue 10


Polycrystallinity of green rust minerals and their synthetic analogs: Implications for particle formation and reactivity in complex systems

Carol A. Johnson
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, U.S.A.
  • Present address: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0287, U.S.A.
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  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Mitsuhiro Murayama
  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, U.S.A.
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Kirsten Küsel
  • Institute of Ecology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, D-07743 Jena, Germany
  • German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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/ Michael F. Hochella Jr.
Published Online: 2015-09-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-5287


We demonstrate in this study that natural green rust nanoparticles and their synthetic analogs can be complex polycrystalline phases composed of crystallites only a few nanometers in size, and they often include nanometer-sized regions of amorphous material. The natural green rusts are Zn-bearing pseudo-hexagonal platelets previously identified by us in the contaminated mine drainage of the former Ronneburg uranium mine in Germany (Johnson et al. 2014). We also identified Ni- and Cubearing green rust platelets in the sediment underlying the drainage outflow 20 m downstream, and, using dark-field transmission electron microscopy (DF-TEM), found that these natural green rusts are not usually structurally coherent single crystals. Synthetic sulfate green rusts are also polycrystalline and composed of crystallites of only a few nanometers in size, though different synthesis conditions produced different patterns of polycrystallinity. While pseudo-hexagonal platelets are the typical morphology of green rust, we also synthesized green rust nanorods, which have not previously been reported. In addition to the known characteristics of green rusts (including a very large aspect ratio and surface area to volume ratio, and the redox properties allowed by the structural mixture of Fe2+ and Fe3+), these polycrystalline platelets exhibit a high abundance of defect sites and likely a rough surface topography. The combination of these characteristics has important implications for the reactivity of green rust with biogeochemical interfaces in natural and anthropogenic systems.

Keywords: Nanorod; nanoparticle; layered-double-hydroxide; iron oxide; transmission electron microscopy; texture; oriented aggregation; mine drainage

About the article

Published Online: 2015-09-30

Published in Print: 2015-10-01

Citation Information: American Mineralogist, Volume 100, Issue 10, Pages 2091–2105, ISSN (Online) 1945-3027, ISSN (Print) 0003-004X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-5287.

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© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.

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