Halloysite and Gibbsite Formation in Hawaii1

Thomas F. Bates
Department of Mineralogy, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
1 Contribution no. 60-51, Mineral Industries Experiment Station, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

Abstract: Desilication and removal of bases from the basalitic rocks of the Hawaiian Islands produces large amounts of halloysite and gibbsite, together with variable quantities of allophane and nontronite, iron and titanium oxides, and amorphous mineral and gel material.

The nature and relative abundance of intermediate and end products of weathering depend primarily upon the amount of rainfall, angle of slope, and texture of the rock. The formation of clay minerals is the common step in the transformation of primary silicates to oxides and hydroxides, but the amount and relative importance of the clay “stage” depend on the intensity of the weathering process.

Halloysite forms from plagioclase usually by alteration of first the core and subsequently the rim of the feldspar laths. No kaolinite was observed, its absence being attributed to the absence of fine-grained mica as an intermediate weathering product.

Gibbsite is produced by (1) removal of silica from halloysite, (2) dehydration of Al-gel, and (3) precipitation from solution. Although it is possible that the mineral may form directly from feldspar, halloysite is the common crystalline intermediate on both the megascopie and microscopic scales.

An amorphous transition state, probably ranging in composition from allophane to Al-gel, exists as part of the change from halloysite to gibbsite as evidenced by electron microscope and diffraction work on pseudomorphs after halloysite tubes found in certain samples studied in more detail than others.

Volcanic glass is the apparent source of most Al-Fe-Si gel material which upon dehydration becomes allophane, cliachite, or gibbsite depending on the kind and relative proportion of the cations present.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1960 v. 9; no. 1; p. 315-328; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1960.0090119
© 1960, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)