The Chemical Composition of Serpentine/Chlorite in the Tuscaloosa Formation, United States Gulf Coast: EDX vs. XRD Determinations, Implications for Mineralogic Reactions and the Origin of Anatase

P. C. Ryan and R. C. Reynolds Jr.
Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
Current address: Environmental Science Program, Salish-Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana 59855.

Abstract: The chemical composition of mixed-layer serpentine/chlorite (Sp/Ch) in Tuscaloosa Formation sandstone was analyzed by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) in the scanning electron miscroscope (SEM) and by X-ray diffraction (XRD). EDX results indicate little depth-controlled variation in composition, whereas XRD results suggest distinct decreases in octahedral Fe and tetrahedral Al. XRD-determined compositions appear to be erroneous and actually reflect progressive changes in Sp/Ch unit-cell dimensions caused by polytype transformations of Ibb layers to Iaa layers in a mixed-layer Ibb/Iaa polytype. The relative lack of variation in Sp/Ch composition, especially when compared to other studies of chlorite minerals over similar temperature ranges, is attributed to a reaction mechanism whereby mineralogic transformations (serpentine layers to chlorite layers and Ibb layers to Iaa layers) occur on a layer-by-layer basis within coherent crystallites, rather than by dissolution-precipitation crystal growth.

The lack of titanium in chlorite minerals is attributed to high levels of octahedral Al3+ that prohibit inclusion of the highly charged Ti4+ in the octahedral sheet. Anatase (TiO2) in the Tuscaloosa Formation apparently formed when Ti was liberated during crystallization of Sp/Ch following the breakdown of a Ti-bearing precursor (detrital ultramafic clasts and/or odinite). Odinite, an Fe-rich 7-Å phyllosilicate that forms in some shallow marine sands, apparently existed as a short-lived, poorly crystallized intermediary between dissolution of the ultramafic clasts and formation of Sp/Ch.

Key Words: Anatase • Chemical Composition • Diagenesis • Sandstone • Serpentine/Chlorite • Tuscaloosa Formation

Clays and Clay Minerals; June 1997 v. 45; no. 3; p. 339-352; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1997.0450305
© 1997, The Clay Minerals Society
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