Three petrographically distinct styles of altered glasses in two hyaloclastites and one hyalotuff were studied. The texture and chemistry of these samples were investigated using electron probe microanalysis, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy in order to understand better the mechanism by which alteration of sideromelane and formation of palagonite occurred in these samples. The results show that clay minerals (primarily smectites) are present in three different microenvironments: (1) coating the surfaces of glass and crystals or vesicle walls; (2) as a relatively heterogeneous, but well crystallized, replacement product (i.e. reddened smectite grain replacement or RSGR) of glass or; (3) as a relatively homogeneous, amorphous to poorly crystalline replacement product (i.e. palagonite). Both the grain size and composition of these smectite-like materials vary considerably.
Crystalline smectites occur in both hyaloclastites and have an intermediate composition between the two end-members nontronite and saponite. This composition could correspond to a mechanical intergrowth and/or an interstratification of two different smectites: one dioctahedral (i.e. nontronite) and one trioctahedral (i.e. saponite or stevensite) or simply to a true ditrioctahedral smectite. The coating smectite appears to have precipitated by a paragenetically-early, dissolution-precipitation mechanism prior to the formation of the RSGR. The high Ti content found in RSGR is attributable to an amorphous Ti-rich material which is intergrown with smectite and which behaves as a sink for immobile elements and those not included in smectite.
Palagonite from both hyaloclastites and hyalotuff is poorly to non-crystalline and more aluminous than the coating smectites. Palagonite from the hyalotuff has an Fe-rich montmorillonite-like composition. The TEM images show a 30–50 nm thick leached layer formed by selective (non-stoichiometric) dissolution that takes place in the fracture domain. The hydration and replacement of glass during the palgonitization process is accompanied by the loss of Fe, Mg and Ca with a concomitant gain of Al. Both palagonites (from hyaloclastites and hyalotuff) show smilar textural and chemical characteristics.