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Laguna Santa Maria, Los Andes department, Salta, Argentina

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 24° 6' 8'' South , 67° 21' 35'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -24.1022222222, -67.3597222222
Salt lake at 4,575 meter elevation, 5 km from border with Chile.

Catalonite (hydrated sodium phosphate):
The discovery was made by Teresita del Valle Ruiz, researcher at the Chair of Mineralogy of the Universidad nacional de Salta, Argentina.
New ore was discovered in the framework of a study to determine what minerals are in this lagoon, only deposit of Trona (sodium carbonate) which has a commercial record in ARGENTINA. This study also allowed discovering for the first time in the Argentina other mineral: the Gaylussite, a carbonate of sodium and hydrated calcium found previously in U.S.A. and Africa. The new mineral name was in honor of Dr. Luciano Catalano, geologist and Argentine Economist which made geological investigations in the former territory Nacional de Los Andes which comprised the current departments Susques (Jujuy), Los Andes (Salta) and Antofagasta de la Sierra (Catamarca) during the first decades of 1900. 1993 Reviewed the minerals of the lagoon since so far it only knew that when water evaporates during the months of dry season (fall, winter and part of spring), can be extracted mainly the Trona. Rose samples of the white and porous layer remaining after the evaporation of the lagoon and were analyzed at the National University of Salta. Under the binocular Loupe is noted next to 99.9% of Trona, Gaylussite and an unknown mineral particles. With the help of magnifying glass and a needle had to separate one one the rare crystals that had been found. They measure on average 200 µm and were mixed in a sea of particles of Trona (over 99%) and a small proportion of Gaylussite. Then began the first optical study, then the diffraction of x-rays and infrared and other physical and chemical analysis. Samples were sent to Barcelona (Spain) to determine the structure of the mineral, make the final diffraction of X rays and be certain that it was the discovery of a new mineral. With all the data, the new mineral was presented to the Commission on new minerals from the IMA.

Mineral List

3 entries listed. 3 valid minerals. 1 (TL) - type locality of valid minerals.

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Teresita del Valle Ruiz (1993). Hallazgo de Catalanoíta en la Laguna Santa María, Departamento Los Andes, Salta. Cátedra de Mineralogía de la Universidad Nacional de Salta, Argentina.

Ricardo Sureda (1993). Cátedra de Mineralogía de la Universidad Nacional de Salta, Argentina.

矿物 and/or 产地  
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