Olivine crystals in basaltic andesites which crop out in the Abert Rim, south-central Oregon have been studied by high-resolution and analytical transmission electron microscopy. The observations reveal three distinct assemblages of alteration products that seem to correspond to three episodes of olivine oxidation. The olivine crystals contain rare, dense arrays of coherently intergrown Ti-free magnetite and inclusions of a phase inferred to be amorphous silica. We interpret this first assemblage to be the product of an early subsolidus oxidation event in the lava. The second olivine alteration assemblage contains complex ordered intergrowths on (001) of forsterite-rich olivine and laihunite (distorted olivine structure with Fe3+ charge balanced by vacancies). Based on experimental results for laihunite synthesis (Kondoh et al. 1985), these intergrowths probably formed by olivine oxidation between 400 and 800??C. The third episode of alteration involves the destruction of olivine by low-temperature hydrothermal alteration and weathering. Elongate etch-pits and channels in the margins of fresh olivine crystals contain semi-oriented bands of smectite. Olivine weathers to smectite and hematite, and subsequently to arrays of oriented hematite crystals. The textures resemble those reported by Eggleton (1984) and Smith et al. (1987). We find no evidence for a metastable phase intermediate between olivine and smectite ("M" - Eggleton 1984). The presence of laihunite exerts a strong control on the geometry of olivine weathering. Single laihunite layers and laihunite-forsteritic olivine intergrowths increase the resistance of crystals to weathering. Preferential development of channels between laihunite layers occurs where growth of laihunite produced compositional variations in olivine, rather than where coherency-strain is associated with laihunite-olivine interfaces. ?? 1990 Springer-Verlag.
Additional publication details
Transmission electron microscopy of subsolidus oxidation and weathering of olivine