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Transmission Electron Microscopy Study of Smectite Illitization During Hydrothermal Alteration of a Rhyolitic Hyaloclastite from Ponza, Italy

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Dioctahedral phyllosilicates from an altered rhyolitic hyaloclastite located at Ponza Island, Italy, were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The samples are from a sequence previously characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods, indicating that a complete range of illitization accompanies alteration. Backscattered electron (BSE) images, obtained from ion-milled samples, show that samples partly retain the original textures since clay minerals pseudomorph lapilli fragments and preserve vesicular texture. The lowest-grade sample studied contains obsidian clasts partially replaced by smectite. As the alteration grade increases, illitization proceeds with formation of interstratified illite-smectite (I-S), zeolites, illitic phases, feldspars and quartz. The most altered sample contains illite, mica and quartz. Lattice-fringe images show that following the formation of smectite, illitization takes place through the formation of (R=1) I-S, highly illitic I-S and illite with mica; (R=1) I-S is the only ordered interstratified I-S. The BSE and TEM images of Ponza samples show irregular cavities filled with euhedral dioctahedral clay minerals and the zeolite mordenite, providing direct evidence for neocrystallization from a fluid. Chemical compositions by analytical electron microscopy (AEM) support the sequence described. Selected area electron diffraction (SAED) patterns indicate the predominance of 1 M d polytypism both in I-S and illitic phases, and the coexistence in the more altered samples of 1 M d illite and a 2-layer mica polytype (probably 2 M 1), without the intermediate 1 M polytype generally assumed to exist in prograde sequences. Previous XRD studies indicated progressive change from cis-vacant, turbostratically stacked smectite, to interstratified cis- and trans-vacant, 1 M d I-S, to trans-vacant, 1 M illite, and then to 2 M 1 illite in Ponza Island samples. We observed a clear correlation between the chemical compositions as determined by AEM and the proportion of cis-vacant determined by XRD, suggesting that the octahedral cation distributions change in the studied samples with increasing degree of illitization.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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  • The JOURNAL publishes articles of interest to the international community of clay scientists, including but not limited to areas in mineralogy, crystallography, geology, geochemistry, sedimentology, soil science, agronomy, physical chemistry, colloid chemistry, ceramics, petroleum engineering, foundry engineering, and soil mechanics. Clays and Clay Minerals exists to disseminate to its worldwide readership the most recent developments in all of these aspects of clay materials. Manuscripts are welcome from all countries.

    Clays and Clay Minerals is the official publication of The Clay Minerals Society.

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