Summary: Forsterite formed from serpentine powders at various temperatures up to 800° C has been measured quantitatively by X-ray diffraction. The results are considered in relation to a reaction mechanism proposed by Ball and Taylor and are shown to be inconsistent with the details of this mechanism. An alternative mechanism is proposed by which all or nearly all the Mg ions together with some of the Si ions liberated in the reaction zones where water is formed migrate into regions where forsterite is formed. This mechanism is in closer accord with the experimental results. The retarded development of enstatite until temperatures above 1000° C are used is attributed to the nature of the reaction by which it is formed, namely a reaction between forsterite and silica.