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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Scanning Electron Microscopy of Hydrous Metal Oxide Crusts Intercalated in Naturally Weathered Micaceous Vermiculite1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 1, p. 127-131
    Received: May 3, 1972
    Accepted: Sept 29, 1972

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  1. M. L. Jackson,
  2. S. Y. Lee,
  3. J. L. Brown,
  4. I. B. Sachs and
  5. J. K. Syers2



Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the weathering products of trioctahedral mica, chemically weathered in nature to micaceous vermiculite (14 and 10Å spacings by X-ray diffraction), revealed occasional deposition of hydrous metal oxide crusts on intermittent cleavages interspersed at intervals among chemically clean (001) surfaces. Examination by SEM of layers through pores or holes, and along (hkO) fractures through the (001) planes, revealed that the intercalated crusts were 1–15µm thick with sequences of hundreds of clean 14Å crystallographic layers between each crust layer. The pores may represent weathering out of 238U fission tracks resulting from impurities in the original micas.

Treatment of a micaceous vermiculite flake with citratebicarbonate-dithionite (CBD) produced a large number of smooth, thin phyllosilicate flakes which had planar areas at least one-half that of the original untreated flake; hundreds of smaller flakes were released by this treatment. Natural weathering apparently formed cracks in the large flakes both in the (001) and (hkO) crystallographic directions. The metal oxides removed by CBD cemented the mica pseudomorphs in the untreated sample. The holes and fractures along (hkO) planes apparently permitted a diffusion of Fe3+ and Al3+ from the octahedral positions into the crusts during the geochemical conversions of biotite to micaceous vermiculite and may relate to the associated lowering of layer charge.

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