Stacking structure in disordered talc, Mg3Si4O10(OH)2, has been investigated by using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and by comparison between experimental and simulated powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns. The talc specimen investigated was massive aggregates of fine platy crystals from the Shirakashi mine, Nagasaki-Prefecture, Japan, formed from regional metamorphism. HRTEM observations revealed that the orientation of the 2:1 layer, which is described by the direction of the lateral shift of a/3 from the lower tetrahedral sheet to the upper tetrahedral sheet within the 2:1 layer (intralayer shift), is almost completely disordered. In contrast, lateral displacement between the adjacent tetrahedral sheets across the interlayer region (interlayer displacement) is relatively ordered. The interlayer displacement parallel to the intralayer shift in lower or upper 2:1 layers tends to be avoided.

A Gandolfi camera was used to record XRD patterns from a small fragment of the aggregates, to avoid preferred orientation and artifacts in stacking sequence by grinding. XRD patterns were simulated using the DIFFaX program and compared with experimental patterns. The experimental pattern from hk = 02, 11, and 11̅ reciprocal lattice rows is explained by a mixture of the stacking sequence with almost random directions of intralayer shift and a small amount of 1A dominant stacking sequence. The peak profiles for the reflections indexed with 20l, 13l, or 13̅l are reproduced by considering their variance, and a slightly different interlayer displacement from that reported in talc-1A.

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