Abstract: A comparison of the structural characteristics of the kaolin-group minerals, mainly kaolinite and dickite, shows that they differ in both the two-dimensional periodicity in the 1:1 layers and the rotation angles of the polyhedra. Distortions in a real 1:1 layer, compared with an idealized layer, do not allow such stacking faults as ± 120° layer rotations and vacancy displacements, because the second layer is incommensurable with the first. The 1:1 layer structure and the fact that the unit cell is symmetrical with respect to the plane passing through the long diagonal of the unit cell suggest the possibility of defects resulting from the two stacking sequences for the same layers. For a regular alternation of translations, a halloysite-like structure should be the end-member of such a series of defect kaolinite types.
The formation of layers having vacant octahedral C-sites is another possible type of fault. Because of the minor difference between γ and 90°, dickite-like layers should exist. A regular alternation of B and C layers yields dickite as the end-member structure. In materials containing few defects, stacking faults of both types lead to similar X-ray powder diffraction patterns. Thus, the nature of the stacking faults is difficult to determine experimentally. In materials containing many defects, however, the two models lead to different calculated diffraction patterns. Therefore, only a study of defect-rich types of kaolinite can determine which types of defects exist in natural kaolinite samples.