Abstract: Six standard polytypes of micas exist that have c-periodicities between 1 and 6 layers; these can be subdivided into groups A and B according to whether the octahedral cations are in the same set of positions in every layer or alternate regularly between I and II possible sets of positions (alternate slant directions), respectively. Correspondingly, 12 standard polytypes exist for 1:1 layers of the serpentine-type structures, which are divisible into four groups A–D. Groups A and B differ as in the micas, as do groups C and D. Groups A and B have ±a/3 interlayer shifts, whereas groups C and D have zero or ±b/3 interlayer shifts. Six structural types of semi-randomly or regularly stacked 1-layer chlorites exist that differ in the slant of the interlayer sheet (I or II) and its position (a or b) relative to 6-member rings in adjacent 2:1 layers.
Criteria have been established that permit the X-ray diffraction identification of the above-mentioned groups as well as the individual polytypes within each group. These criteria involve inspection of the strong X-ray diffraction reflections of index k = 3n for identification of the groups and of the generally weaker k ≠ 3n reflections for identification of the polytypes (assuming indexing on orthohexagonal axes throughout for convenience). In all hydrous phyllosilicates the octahedral cations and anions repeat at intervals of b/3 and thus contribute strongly to X-ray diffraction reflections of index k = 3n. The intensities of these reflections identify the two mica groups, the four serpentine-type groups, and the six chlorite groups. The periodicities of these reflections along Z* is that between identical octahedral sheets. The basal oxygen atoms do not repeat at intervals of b/3 and are a primary contributor to the intensities of k ≠ 3n reflections. The period along Z* for these reflections is that between identical basal oxygen planes, and the periodicity plus the symmetry identify the individual trioctahedral polytypes. For dioctahedral polytypes of the kaolin-group minerals and chlorites, the position of the vacant octahedral site must be considered also.
These general principles can be illustrated especially well by single-crystal precession photographs and extrapolated to powder photographs.