Near hydrothermal alteration of obsidian glass: Implications for long term performance assessments

Rani, Nishi; Shrivastava, J.; Bajpai, R.
April 2012
Journal of the Geological Society of India;Apr2012, Vol. 79 Issue 4, p376
Academic Journal
Obsidian glass alteration experiments under near hydrothermal conditions were performed to study mechanism and conditions of formation of altered minerals. X-ray diffraction patterns and cell dimensions of the specimens treated at 150, 200 and 300°C (pH = 8.03) revealed appearance of three main minerals - illite (9.5-10 Å), chlorite (7.04 Å) and halloysite (10.25Å). Further increase in the pH favours matrix dissolution with the formation of secondary altered layers. SEM-EDS study show that the alteration causes smoothing of the grain surfaces. These surfaces exhibits etch pits and series of depressions, formed by the process of dissolution. SEM - Back Scattered Electron images of obsidian specimens show thin laminae of smectite, with foliated bulky rims and cellular honeycomb texture, formed by precipitation from the solution as well as by direct transformation of glass during alteration. This mechanism is resulting from the alteration of alkalis by ionic inter-diffusion with HO and H and inward diffusion of HO, leading to free diffusion of silica into solution and then to a local rearrangement of the glass framework. Thus, a direct transformation of glass into clay minerals is the major reaction mechanism as evidenced by the mechanism of glass dissolution and subsequent mineral precipitation.


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