Diagenesis of Oligocene-Miocene Vitric Tuffs to Montmorillonite and K-Feldspar Deposits, Durango, Mexico

Liberto de Pablo-Galan
Instituto de Geologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Abstract: Montmorillonite and K-feldspar deposits of potential economic interest occur in the Late Oligocene-Miocene tuffs of the Vizcarra Formation in the state of Durango, Mexico. The two minerals were formed separately from rhyodacitic to rhyolitic pyroclastic deposits in a closed hydrologic system and diagenetically altered following two different patterns. In material deposited on dry land the glass was completely replaced by K-feldspar, and the interstices between the replaced glass bubbles and shards were filled with chalcedony, quartz, and albite. Pyroclastic material deposited in an alkaline lacustrine environment were diagenetically altered to montmorillonite, which formed the bentonitic tuffs widely exposed beneath the K-feldspar-rich tuff. These bentonitic tuffs contain as much as 85% montmorillonite plus authigenic chalcedony and quartz. Pyrogenic sanidine, quartz, and oxybiotite, coarse glass shards, and clastic grains make up about 8% of the clay-rich tuffs. The composition of the montmorillonite corresponds to the formula (Si3.88Al0.12)(Al1.41Mg0.59)O10(OH)2(Ca0.07Mg0.11Na0.28K0.06). The montmorillonite is dioctahedral, the surface acidity is of the Lewis type, and the clay swells to one- and two-layer complexes. The cation-exchange capacity is 64 meq/100 g; base exchange is Ca2+ 15; Mg2+, 20; Na+, 4.1; and K+, 1.0 meq/100 g. Its interlamellar charge is 18.6 microcoulombs/cm2. Dacitic pyroclastics were deposited later at higher elevations along the margins of the basin. Percolating solutions apparently removed a siliceous leachate from the dacitic glass and partially altered it to clinoptilolite.

Key Words: Clinoptilolite • Diagenesis • Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy • K-feldspar • Montmorillonite • Pyroclastic • Scanning electron microscopy • Tuff

Clays and Clay Minerals; August 1990 v. 38; no. 4; p. 426-436; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1990.0380412
© 1990, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)