Abert Lake in south-central Oregon provides a site suitable for the study of sequential weathering and diagenetic events. In this first of two papers, transmission electron microscopy was used to characterize the igneous mineralogy, subsolidus alteration assemblage, and the structural and chemical aspects of silicate weathering reactions that occur in the volcanic rocks (basalts, basaltic andesites, and dacitic/ rhyolitic extrusive and pyroclastics) that outcrop around the lake. Olivine and pyroxene replacement occurred topotactically, whereas feldspar and glass alteration produced randomly oriented smectite in channels and cavities. The tetrahedral, octahedral, and interlayer compositions of the weathering products, largely dioctahedral smectites, varied with primary mineral composition, rock type, and as the result of addition of elements released from adjacent reaction sites. Weathering of the highly evolved, Fe-rich Jug Mountain complex at the north end of the lake produced a homogeneous smectite assemblage that contrasts with the heterogeneous smectite assemblage replacing the volcanics along the eastern margin of the lake. The variability within and between the smectite assemblages highlights the microenvironmental diversity, fluctuating redox conditions, and variable solution chemistry associated with mineral weathering reactions in the surficial environment. Late-stage exhalative and aqueous alteration of the volcanics redistributed many components and formed a variety of alkali and alkali-earth carbonate, chloride, sulfate, and fluoride minerals in vugs and cracks. Overall, substantial Mg, Si, Na, Ca, and K are released by weathering reactions that include the almost complete destruction of the Mg-smectite that initially replaced olivine. The leaching of these elements from the volcanics provides an important source of these constituents in the lake water. The nature of subsequent diagenetic reactions resulting from the interaction between the materials transported to the lake and the solution will be described in part II (Banfield et al., 1991). ?? 1991.
Additional publication details
An aem-tem study of weathering and diagenesis, Abert Lake, Oregon: I. Weathering reactions in the volcanics