Summary: Sixteen samples of crocidolite asbestos from weathered zones in mines in Cape Province, Transvaal, Western Australia, and Bolivia have been studied by thermal analysis methods and their characteristics are compared with those of fresh crocidolite from Koegas-Westerberg given by Hodgson, Freeman, and Taylor (1965). New chemical analyses of these samples are reported.
The effect of natural weathering on crocidolite tends to a removal of 12 of the OH groups and an adjustment of the Fe2+/Fe3+ ratio to unity, but there are only minor changes in the physical characteristics of the fibre. The d.t.a. pattern of decomposition is not affected by weathering, but the endothermic peak corresponding to final decomposition is moved to higher temperatures as the Mg content of crocidolite increases. Mg-blocking of this decomposition is considered to be more important than Mg-blocking of the oxidation reaction at 400–450° C, suggested by Addison et al. (1962).
D.t.a. and other evidence shows that the Transvaal crocidolite contains intergrown amosite fibres, and suggests that the Bolivian crocidolite is admixed with anthophyllite.