Abstract

Silicic vitric tuffs of the Alaçati (Çeşme) area, west of Izmir (Turkey), are partly altered to authigenic zeolites and clay minerals. Mordenite and clinoptilolite-heulandite accompanied by smectite are the main alteration products of the tuffs. Scanning electron microscope examination indicates that mordenite forms mainly from a gel-like precursor and to a lesser degree from volcanic glass. Mordenite and clinoptilolite-heulandite have formed by the hydrolysis and dissolution of silicic vitric tuffs by thermal waters which circulated through the fracture zone into porous vitric tuffs. These thermal waters, which resulted from mixing of thermal (Na-Cl type) and groundwaters, provided the extra Na and Ca that are necessary for the formation of mordenite. Various percentages of calcite are present in the altered tuffs. The enrichment of calcite in the altered tuffs indicates that thermal waters supply Ca, sourced from dissolution of Triassic carbonate rocks.

The alteration minerals in the Alaçati (Çeşme) area do not seem to be laterally zoned. The occurrence of the zeolites seems to be related to inferred fracture zones trending NE–SW. These fracture zones are important because they provide porosity and permeability in the tuffs for zeolite formation. The large glass content and permeability of tuffs accompanied by the favorable hydrochemical condition resulted in zeolitization of the Alaçati (Çeşme) area.

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