Experimental and Theoretical Studies of the Mica Polymorphs

J. V. Smith and H. S. Yoder Jr.
Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Summary: An experimental and theoretical study has been made in order to determine the number and the structure of the possible polymorphs and to determine the structural relations between them. The simplest structures are 1M, 2M1, 2M2, 3T, 20, and 6H polymorphs, and more complicated types can be developed. Some of the previously described polymorphs were not contained in the theoretical list and were re-examined. The 6M structure was found to be a 2M2 polymorph, the 6-layer triclinic type was found to be a 2M1 polymorph, and the 3M structure was shown to be a 3T type. The 24-layer triclinic structure could be described on a simpler 8-layer cell. This type together with a new 12-layer monoclinic structure, as well as other structures of higher periodicity, presumably consists of complex stacking and results from spiral-growth mechanism. Two extreme types of layer-disordered crystals may be built and a disorder of individual ions may also occur. Single stacking faults result in twinned crystals. A new twin relation (180° rotation about the [100] axis) has been recognized. Twenty specimens from extreme geological environments have been examined in order to evaluate the control of environment on the stacking. The type of stacking could not be attributed solely to the influence of pressure and temperature. Composition appears to play a dominant role in the type of stacking, and semi-quantitative structural arguments appear to support this contention. The influence of growth mechanism is discussed. A scheme for the identification of the mica polymorphs by X-ray powder and single-crystal methods is given.

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1956 v. 31; no. 234; p. 209-235; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1956.031.234.03
© 1956, The Mineralogical Society
Mineralogical Society (www.minersoc.org)