Distribution of trace elements between clays and zeolites formed by hydrothermal alteration of synthetic basalts
Is an attempt to determine the fractionation of various trace elements by the structure of the crystals forming, gels and glasses of gross basaltic composition containing 0·5 per cent by weight of boron, gallium, nickel, and strontium were treated hydrothermally in sealed systems at 350°C and 15,000 lb/in 2. The experiments were repeated introducing the trace elements into solution. The analcite and montmorillonite formed by this process were separated from each other and each analyzed for the above trace elements using emission spectrography. Boron was enriched in the clay phase relative to the zeolite, but most of the boron went into the solution phase. Gallium was equally distributed between the clay and the zeolite with little or none going into solution. In comparison to analcite, montmorillonite shows a marked preference for nickel to the extent that it acts as a collector for the element. In the sea water environment strontium prefers to form its own minerals rather than be taken up by the clay or zeolite. The main geologic significance of this study is that the distribution of the elements observed in the laboratory is similar to that observed in nature. This similarity indicates a potential usefulness for laboratory studies to investigate certain aspects of element distribution which might be obscured in nature by processes which may be controlled in the laboratory.