Abstract: Exchange reactions of Na-montmorillonite with zirconyl chloride solutions give products with basal spacings near 18 Å which are stable to 500°C and have surface areas of the order of 300–400 m2/g. The Na ions are exchanged with tetrameric hydroxy cations [Zr4(OH)14·nH2O]2+. The high surface area is attributed to the porosity formed by stable zirconium oxide “pillars” formed by dehydroxylation of the complex cation. The nitrogen adsorption isotherms are of Langmuir type and are consistent with adsorption in interlayer micropores. Reduced-charge montmorillonites, formed by application of the Hofmann-Klemen procedure, give either similar or slightly smaller surface areas.