Practical Notes Concerning the Indexing of X-ray Powder Diffraction Patterns of Clay Minerals

S. W. Bailey
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Abstract: Hydrous phyllosilicate minerals exhibit many variations in unit-cell shape and symmetry, distortion due to cation ordering, polytypic repeats along Z, and lateral modulations that can affect the ease of indexing of X-ray powder diffraction patterns. In indexing the patterns of monoclinic and triclinic hydrous phyllosilicates it is important that the indices of all overlapping but nonequivalent lines be listed and used in the indexing program, with weights assigned according to their multiplicities. Deviations from orthogonal unit-cell geometry show up by a broadening or a spliltting of nearly superimposed lines, as occurs also if the observed β angle differs from that produced by a layer shift of ideal magnitude (e.g., a/3). Observed powder intensities should be correlated with those expected from the structure, and an index should not be assigned solely on the basis of the calculated d-value that is closest to that observed. Assigned indices should not violate space group extinctions. Multilayer structures show up in reflections of type k ≠ 3n for C-centered unit cells, not in 00l reflections.

Key Words: Chlorite • Crystal structure • Indexing • Kaolinite • Mica • Modulated structures • Ordering • X-ray powder diffraction

Clays and Clay Minerals; April 1991 v. 39; no. 2; p. 184-190; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1991.0390210
© 1991, The Clay Minerals Society
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