C. R. M. Butt comments: In their recent paper, Lacinska & Styles (2013) described in detail the geological setting, mineralogy and petrology of ‘silicified serpentinite’ in the Hajar Mountains, United Arab Emirates (UAE). They note that their ‘silicified serpentinite’ is essentially the same unit as ‘birbirite’ and other informally named quartz-rich outcrops that overlie ultramafic rocks in this and other regions. Some authors have suggested such silicification to be hydrothermal in origin, but it is now generally accepted to be due to weathering. Lacinska & Styles (2013) concluded that ‘silicified serpentinite’ is a silcrete; this is correct, but it is a purely descriptive term and, without qualification, has no specific genetic implications other than being silica-cemented regolith (Butt & Zeegers, 1992; Eggleton, 2001). The materials illustrated are more correctly termed a silicified saprolite as they preserve the fabric of the protolith.

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