Abstract: Smectite close to the pure Fe end member of the nontronite-beidellite series was found in the fine clay separated from a 354-cm deep sediment core in the southwestern Pacific Basin. The mineral has a b-axis of 9.09 Å and an unusually low dehydroxylation temperature of 454°C and is composed of sheaves of fibers less than 50 Å wide. Its charge density is 5.09 × 10−4 esu/cm2. The charge originates mainly from the presence of 18% of the total Fe in tetrahedral positions, as determined by Mössbauer analysis. Slight deviations of the infrared spectra from those reported for nontronites are probably due to the presence of more octahedral Mg. The presence of authigenic quartz in the same sample permits some speculation on the concentration of dissolved silicon during nontronite genesis. A δ18O value of 26 ± 0.3‰ indicates a temperature of formation of about 22°C. The Sr isotope ratio suggests that the nontronite formed at least 12 million years ago.