Interest in hydrotalcite-like compounds has grown due to their role in controlling the mobility of aqueous metals in the environment as well as their use as catalysts, catalyst precursors and specialty chemicals. Although these materials have been studied in a number of contexts, little is known of their thermodynamic properties. High-temperature oxide melt solution calorimetry was used to measure the standard enthalpy of formation for compounds M(II)1−xAlx(OH)2(CO3)x/2·mH2O (0.2 < x < 0.4, M(II) = Mg, Co, Ni and Zn). The enthalpy of formation of these compounds from the relevant single cation phases was also determined. The formation of HTLCs results in a 5–20 kJ/mol enthalpy stabilization from the single cation hydroxides and carbonates and water. The data are correlated to two variables: the ratio of divalent to trivalent cation in the solid (M(II)/Al) and the identity of the divalent cation. It was observed that the M(II)/Al ratio exerts a minor influence on the enthalpy of formation from single-cation phases, while greater differences in stabilization resulted from changes in the chemical nature of the divalent cation. However, the data do not support any statistically significant correlation between the composition of HTLCs and their heats of formation. Equilibrium geochemical calculations based upon the thermodynamic data illustrate the effect of HTLCs on the speciation of metals in natural waters. These calculations show that, in many cases, HTLCs form even in waters that are undersaturated with respect to the individual divalent metal hydroxides and carbonates. Phase diagrams and stability diagrams involving Ni-bearing HTLCs and the single-cation components are presented. The Ni(II) concentration as a function of pH as well as the stability diagram for the equilibrium among minerals in the CaO-NiO-Al2O3-SiO2-CO2-H2O system at 298 K are plotted.