Clay Minerals of Lake Abert, an Alkaline, Saline Lake

Blair F. Jones and Alan H. Weir
U.S. Geological Survey, National Center, Reston, Virginia 22092
Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Hertforshire AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom

Abstract: Mineralogical and chemical analyses of fine clay fractions from in and around Lake Abert, Lake County, Oregon, show that the pyroclastic rocks supplying detritus to the lake weather to a suite of layer silicate clay minerals varying from high-charge dioctahedral montmorillonite to montmorillonite/intergrade smectite-chlorite interstratifications. In the lake these clays extract K, Mg, and Si to form authigenic interstratified illite and a trioctahedral, Mg-rich mineral resembling stevensite in composition. Both the neoformed interstratifications contribute little unambiguously to X-ray powder diffraction patterns, which are dominated by the reflections of detrital clays. From limited data it appears that the illite occurs below 0.8 m depth in sediments of a possibly somewhat fresher (brackish) lake and the trioctahedral interstratification between 0.4 and 0.2 m depth in sediments of a lake of about the same size and salinity (about 30–90 g/kg) as that of the present take.

Key Words: Chemical analysis • Chlorite • Illite • Interstratification • Montmorillonite • Saline lake • Stevensite • X-ray powder diffraction

Clays and Clay Minerals; June 1983 v. 31; no. 3; p. 161-172; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1983.0310301
© 1983, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)