Ion Selectivity by Weathered Micas as Determined by Electron Microprobe Analysis*

J. Le Roux, C. I. Rich and P. H. Ribbe
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va. 24061, U.S.A.
* Support from NSF Grant GA-1373 and the Molecular Structures Laboratory at VPI is gratefully acknowledged.
Present address: Department of Soil Science, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Research Associate in Agronomy, Professor of Agronomy, and Associate Professor of Mineralogy, respectively.

Abstract: Electron probe micro-analysis studies on individual particles (40–60 mesh) of weathered micas treated with solutions containing equivalent amounts of Rb and Sr showed partial segregation of these elements. Rb was concentrated at particle and step edges, at cracks, and, in the case of partially K-depleted biotite, at boundaries of vermiculite and mica zones (“wedge zones”). The scarcity of wedge zones in mica from which nearly all of the K had been removed reduced the overall selectivity for Rb. The restricted exchange of interlayer Mg ions from vermiculite-like zones by a mixed Rb-Sr solution was observed in earlier studies with these micas. The proposed explanation for these results was a closing down of the interlayer space at the edge of the particle due to Rb concentration in these positions. This explanation is confirmed by the present study.

Clays and Clay Minerals; December 1970 v. 18; no. 6; p. 333-338; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1970.0180605
© 1970, The Clay Minerals Society
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