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Category Phosphate mineral
Bjarebyite group
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 8.BH.20
Crystal system Triclinic
Unknown space group
References [1]

Penikisite was discovered by Alan Kulan and Gunar Penikis near Rapid Creek, Yukon Territory. The mineral is a member of the bjarebyite group along with kulanite, ideally BaFe2+2Al2(PO4)3(OH)3, and bjarebyite, ideally BaMn2+2Al2(PO4)3(OH)3.[2] It is among several new minerals that have been discovered in the Rapid Creek and Big Fish areas of Yukon Territory. Kulanite is similar in many ways to penikisite in appearance and properties. The chemical formula for penikisite is Ba(Mg,Fe,Ca)Al2(PO4)2(OH)3.[3] It has a hardness of about 4 and a density of 3.79 g/cm3.[3] Penikisite is triclinic and has a biaxial optical class.[4] It comes in shades of blue and green and, when rubbed on a streak plate, is pale green to white in color.[3] Although penikisite and kulanite both range from blue to green, penikisite zones are easily distinguishable from kulanite zones in kulanite-penikisite crystals because they are lighter than the darker kulanite in color.[3] Penikisite is a phosphate and is different from kulanite in that it is a magnesium-rich phosphate whereas kulanite is an iron-rich phosphate.[3]


Penikisite, ideally Ba(Mg,Fe,Ca)Al2(PO4)2(OH)3, is a second occurrence of kulanite.[3] Both kulanite and penikisite are members of the bjarebyite group.[2] Minerals in the bjarebyite group have the general formula XY2Z2(PO4)3(OH)3 where X=Ba, Y=Mg, Fe2+, Mn2+, and Z=Al, Fe3+.[5] Penikisite was found in a Yukon phosphate deposit near Rapid Creek. The mineral, along with kulanite, occurs in an iron-formation.[6] In these iron-formations, Mg-rich zones were discovered and named penikisite in honor of Gunar Penikis who discovered these phosphate occurrences with Alan Kulan.[3]


The chemical formula of Penikisite is Ba(Mg,Fe,Ca)Al2(PO4)2(OH)3.[3] Mandarino and Sturman analyzed two penikisite samples and eight kulanite samples using an AMX electron miscroprobe (1977). Their study showed weight percent oxides, including H2O, that help determine what the formula is for penikisite and kulanite. Members of the bjarebyite group have the general formula XY2Z2(PO4)3(OH)3 where X=Ba, Y=Mg, Fe2+, Mn2+, and Z=Al, Fe3+.[5] Accompanying penikisite in this group are as follows: bjarebyite, ideally BaMn2+2Al2(PO4)3(OH)3, perloffite, ideally BaMn2+2Fe3+2(PO4)3(OH)3, kulanite, BaFe2+2Al2(PO4)3(OH)3, and johntomaite, ideally BaFe2+2Fe3+2(PO4)3(OH)3.[2] These minerals are identified when Ba in the X position is one of the most abundant elements in their composition along with being phosphates.[5]

Physical properties[edit]

Penikisite ranges from blue to green with a vitreous luster and, when rubbed along a streak plate, can be pale green to white. Depending on the thickness of the sample, the mineral can be either transparent or translucent.[3] Both kulanite and penikisite are triclinic and have the space group P1*.[7] Penikisite can also have a space group of P1. The cell dimensions of this mineral were calculated by Mandarino and Sturman (1977) by least-squares refinement of the X-ray powder diffraction data to be: a 8.999, b 12.069, c 4.921Å. The mineral is non-fluorescent under short- and long-waves. It has a harness of about 4 and a density of 3.79(2) g/cm3. There are two fair to good cleavages on {010} and {100}. Penikisite is biaxial (+) with nα 1.684(2), nβ 1.688(2), nγ 1.705(2). The 2V(γ) calculation is 56° and the 2V measurement is 52.2° . The pleochroism for penikisite is X grass-green, Y blue-green, Z pale pink. The absorption is X~Y>Z.[3]

Geologic occurrence[edit]

In recent years, Rapid Creek, in the northeastern corner of Yukon Territory, has become more popular in the mineralogist community. This is because of the large deposit of phosphate minerals that have been discovered in the area.[6] Texturally, the rocks of Rapid Creek are similar to other Phanerozoic phosphate and iron deposits; they are composed of pellets and granules, detrital quarts grains, skeletal fragments, and siderite mud matrix.[6] Discovered in phosphate-ironstones that crop out near Rapid Creek, penikisite and kulanite occurs in fractures in a sideritic iron-formation.[5]


  1. ^ Mineralienatlas
  2. ^ a b c Elliott, P. & Willis A.C., ["The crystal structure of perloffite"], Mineralogical Magazine, 2011
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mandarino, J.A., Sturman, B.D. & Corlett, M.I., ["Penikisite, the magnesium analogue of kulanite, from the Yukon Territory"], Can. Mineral, 1977
  4. ^ Anthony, John W., Richard A., Kenneth W. and Nichols, Monte C. Eds., ["Penikisite"], Handbook of Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, VA, 2001-2005
  5. ^ a b c d Cooper M. & Hawthorne F.C., ["Refinement of the crystal structure of kulanite"], Can. Mineral, 1994
  6. ^ a b c Robertson, B.T. ["Occurrence of epigenetic phosphate minerals in a phosphatic iron-formation, Yukon Territory"], Mineral. Rec., 1982
  7. ^ Mandarino, J.A. & Sturman, B.D., "Kulanite, a new barium rich aluminum phosphate from the Yukon Territory, Canada", Can. Mineral., 1976