Clay samples from 105 cavities within miarolitic granitic pegmatites throughout the Pikes Peak batholith, in Colorado, were analyzed by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). Smectite (beidellite), illite, and kaolinite were found within the cavities. Calculation of crystallite-thickness distribution (CTD), mean thickness of the crystallites, and variance in crystallite thickness, as deduced from XRD patterns, allowed a determination of provenance and mode of formation for illite and smectite. Authigenic miarolitic-cavity illite and smectite show lognormal CTDs and larger mean thicknesses of crystallites than do their soil-derived counterparts; non-lognormal illite in a cavity results from mixing of cavity and soil illite. Analysis of mean thickness and thickness variance shows that crystal growth of illite is initiated by a nucleation event of short duration, followed by surface-controlled kinetics. Crystallization of the miarolitic cavity clays is presumed to occur by neoformation from hydrothermal fluids. The assessment of provenance allows a determination of regional and local distributions of clay minerals in miarolitic cavities within the Pikes Peak batholith.
Additional publication details
Mineralogy and provenance of clays in miarolitic cavities of the Pikes Peak Batholith, Colorado