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“ SWELLING CHLORITE ”

I. STEPHEN, BSc., and D. M. C. MA&WAN, M.A., Ph.D., BSc.

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On examination,two samples of clay from Aprbs examen de deux 6&autillons d’argile des
Keuper marls have been found to contain a chloritic marues Keuper on a trouvb qu’ils contiennent un
mineral showing a limited c-axis expansion on minCral chloritique qui montre une dilatation
glycerol treatment. One of these samples gives the limit& de I’axe c apres traitement par le glycerol.
same (001) spacing as montmorillonoids when Un de ces Chantillons donne le m&me espacement
treated with glycerol, and a heating test is necemary (001) que les montmorillonoides aprbs traitement
to make the distinction. par le glycPro1, et un essai par le chauffage e#
n5xssaire pour faire la distinction.

A characteristic of the montmorillonite group of minerals (I‘ montmorillonoids “) 1 that


has commonly been used for their identification is their property of expanding by the adsorp-
tion of water and other liquids between the structural layers, giving a shifting “ (601) ” low-
angle reflexion on an X-ray powder or aggregate photograph. When glycerol is imbibed in
this manner, a relatively stable complex is formed with a (601) spacing of about 17.7 kgstriim
units, and the occurrence of such a spacing after glycerol treatment has heen suggested as a
test for these minerals (MacEwan, 1844).
The purpose of this Article is to direct attention to the existence of chloritic materials
that show swelling properties similar to those of the montmorillonoids s and may, therefore,
be confused with them. The Authors were first led to consider the possible existence of such
minerals when investigating the clay fraction of a Keuper marl from the vicinity of Birming-
ham, sent to them by Mr D. B. Honeybome, of the Building Research Station. An X-ray
photograph of a glycerol-saturated oriented aggregate shows a broad band, with indefinite
extension towards smaller angles, and a sharp cut-off at an equivalent spacing of about
14 krgstriim units. After being heated at 500” C. for several hours, it gives a sharp reflexion
at 138 ILngstriim units. A similar phenomenon is shown by hydrated micas which contain
a random interpolation of swelling (montmorillonite-like) layers, the cut-off and the reflexion
after heating being at 10 Angstrom units ;. the reflexion at approximately 14 kgstrom units
after heating is, however, characteristic of the chlorites. On the basis of these facts, the
Authors assumed that the material was a hydrated chlorite-that is, a chlorite with inter-
polated layers of water molecules.
An analogous material was found in another Keuper-marl clay, from the Blithe valley
near Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, which was sent for analysis by Messrs Soil Mechanics, Ltd.
An X-ray diagram of an oriented aggregate of this clay, without treatment, shows a normal
series of chlorite basal reflexions, the first five orders having the strengths ms, ms, w/mw,m,
wlmw respectively, and spacing of approximately 14 kgstrom units and sub-multiples. On
saturation with glycerol, this series of reflexions disappears, being replaced by a series of
reflexions at 17.8 kgstriim units and sub-multiples. On heating to 560” C., the higher-order
chlorite lines disappear, but the first-order basal reflexion remains, with a slight shift of position
(13.6 Angstrom units) and probably with increased intensity. The behaviour on heating
resembles that of certain chlorites, and justifies the view that this material is chloritic, but
the sequence of reflexions after treatment with glycerol resembles that of the montmorillonoids.

1 MacEwan, D. M. C. The Montmorillonite Minerals (Montmorillonoids). Monograph on I‘ The


Identification and Structural Relationships of the Clay Minerals,” Chapter IV. To be published by the
Mineralogical Society (Clay Minerals Group).
* Stephen, I., and MacEwan, D. M.. C. Chloritic clay minerals in the Keuper Marl. Read before the
Mineralogical Society (Clay Minerals Group), Leeds, 9 April, 1949. Not published.
82
“ SWELLING CHLORITE ” a3

The observed spacing of 17.8 Angstriim units is probably due to one layer of glycerol molecules
between the chlorite layers of about 14 &@riim units thickness, whereas the similar spacing
in glycerol-montmorillonoid is due to two layers of molecules between pyrophyllite-like layers
of about 9.4 Angstrom units thickness. The Blithe valley material thus appears to be a
new mineral, with properties different from those of either normal chlorites or montmorillo-
noids. In order to differentiate it from these two mineral types, it is necessary to take X-ray
photographs both after glycerol treatment and after heating to 500” C., and it is desirable also
to take a photograph of a dry aggregate without treatment. Table 1 indicates the basal
reflexions given by the three mineral types discussed above, and indicates how they may be
distinguished.

Table I.-Eesal reflexiona given by orient& aggregates

Chlorite Montmorillonoid “ Swelling chlorite ”

Without treatment ..
Glycerol-saturated .. 1: 1:
Heated to 599” C. .. .. ..

l The symbol /ta indicates a sequence of sharp higher orders. The heated chlorite muy show such a
sequence. The spacings are approximate, no account being taken of possible small shifts.

This mineral and the related mineral mentioned first were found in Keuper-marl deposits
(where they occurred in admixture with mica), and a number of similar chloritic clay minerals
have since been found in other deposits of the same age, both by the Authors and by Dr Aruja
and Mr Honeyborne 1 of the Building Research Station. Such minerals appear, therefore,
to be characteristic of these deposits, although presumably not uniquely so. It is of note
that, starting from montmorillonite, an artificial chlorite-like material that shows certain
similarities to those described above has been produced in the laboratory (Caill6re and Henin,
1949).

REFERENCES

CAILL~&S, S., and H~NIN, S., 1949. Experimental formation of chlorites from montmorillonite.
Mineralogical Magazine. 28 : 612-620.
MACEWAN, D. M. C., 1944. Identification of the montmorillonite group of minerals by X-rays. Notwe.
154 : 577-578.

i Honeyborne, D. B. The clay minerals in the Keuper Marl. Read before the Mineralogical Society (Clay
Minerals Group), London, 11 November, 1949. Nol published.