Mineralogical Analysis of Soil Clays Involving Vermiculite-Chlorite-Kaolinite Differentiation

J. B. Dixon and M. L. Jackson
Department of Soils, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Abstract: The content of kaolinite plus halloysite is differentiated quantitatively from chlorite by differential dissolution, even in those samples wherein each mineral has 500°C heat instability of the 7 Å peak. This differentiation is possible because the structures of kaolinite and halloysite are destroyed on loss of the 7 Å peak, producing amorphous material which is rapidly soluble in 0.5 N NaOH, whereas the chlorite structure remains largely intact with only partial dehydration of the octahedral layer. The amorphous residue of kaolinite-halloysite is dissolved from the other mineral components of the heated sample with sodium hydroxide and the dissolved silica and alumina are allocated to kaolinite. The percentages of kaolinite thus obtained for Elliott, B3-C horizon, 2–0.2 µ fraction, are 3.8 and 3.7 based on silica and alumina, respectively. Similarly, the percentages of kaolinite obtained for Buchanan, B1 horizon, 2–0.2 µ fraction, are 14.9 and 13.8 based on silica and alumina, respectively. Collapse of the vermiculite basal spacing to 10 Å on K saturation and heating to 300°C, together with the clear differentiation of kaolinite by differential dissolution analysis (D.D.A.) above, removed the possibility of misinterpretation of the chlorite-like diffractometer tracing by kaolinite and vermiculite occurring together. Other clays, from Davidson and Susquehanna soils, had 44 and 42 to 43 percent kaolinite, based on silica and alumina, respectively. The vermiculite and montmorillonite contents of soil clay samples are quantitatively determined by specific surface. The mica percentages are based on the K2O after exclusion of potassium in feldspars. Water loss in the 400°C-to-ignition range gives an important quantitative basis for chlorite.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1959 v. 8; no. 1; p. 274-286; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1959.0080124
© 1959, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)