Abstract

The early stages of amphibole weathering result in the crystallization of several clay mineral species: tri- and dioctahedral smectites, interstratified dioctahedral kaolinite-smectite (K-S), and halloysite. Each clay mineral crystallizes into specific microsites which develop from etch pits along specific crystallographic directions in the host amphibole. Two types of microsites are recognized according to their location in the amphibole crystal and their clay mineral crystallizations. The first type is a plane surface related to the (110) amphibole cleavages where saponite particles crystallize in a characteristic honeycomb texture. The second type is a ‘sawtooth’ (001) fracture surface generated by etch-pit coalescence where (1) platy K-S particles crystallize directly in contact with the amphibole at the top of ‘teeth’, (2) halloysite particles with tubular habits crystallize directly in contact with the amphibole on the side of the ‘teeth’, and/or on the K-S particles, and (3) montmorillonite crystallizes in the central part of the (001) fracture as a layer with honeycomb texture in contact with the K-S platelets located at the top of ‘teeth’. The microtextural relationships between the clay minerals and their host mineral suggest the following crystallization sequence: (1) saponite and montmorillonite crystallize first on the (110) and (001) surfaces, respectively; (2) as amphibole dissolution proceeds perpendicular to the (001) fracture planes, montmorillonites continue to form in the middle part of the widening fracture whereas K-S crystallizes on the ‘sawtooth’ termination; (3) in the last stage of weathering, tubular halloysite crystallizes on the side of the ‘teeth’, and/or on the K-S.

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