Interlayering of Expansible Layer Silicates in Soils by Chemical Weathering

M. L. Jackson
Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Abstract: Interlayering of 2: 1 layer silicates varies as a function of chemical weathering from the simple, homogeneous K or Na interlayers of micas to the heterogeneous systems of mica intercalated with expanded 2:1 layer silicates. “Frayed edge” type of weathering at dislocation planes of mica is collated with K release and preferential cation-exchange uptake of K relative to Ca by such expansible layer silicate systems; mica islands maintain alignment of the silica sheet cavities, which facilitates recapture of lattice K. Intercalation of the expanded 2: 1 layer silicates with alumina interlayers appears to be a characteristic function of chemical weathering in soils, with the formation of 2: 1–2: 2 intergrades not only of 14 Å spacing but also of swelling 18 Å types that give small 12, 14, 18 Å and higher spacing peaks (along with the 10 Å peak) at 550°C. Interlayer precipitates appear to be characteristic of soil clays, contrasting with “pure” minerals of deposits developed in less “open” environments than those of soils. The “2: 2 lattice building” phenomenon in expansible 2: 1 layer silicates relates to layer charge density and crystal size, and frequently tends to inhibit the formation of free gibbsite in soil chemical weathering so long as there are expansible layer silicates present to become intercalated with aluminum hydroxide—a weathering phenomenon that may be called an “antigibbsite effect”. Accumulation of alumina (possibly with some iron, magnesium, and allophane) as interlayers in 2: 1 minerals of soils is seen as a genetic stage in the 2: 2 → 1 : 1 weathering sequence through which kaolinite and halloysite develop in soils.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1962 v. 11; no. 1; p. 29-46; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1962.0110104
© 1962, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)