- Volume 17 Issue 2
A zeolitic bentonite, which exhibits whitish appearance and contains considerable amounts (nearly 〉 5%) of zeolites, frequently occurs as thin beds less than 1 m in Yeongil area. The bentonites are mostly found in closely association with zeolite beds in the Nuldaeri Tuff and Coal-bearing formations of the Janggi Croup. A discordant occurrence of the bentonite against the bedding plane is also locally found. Montmorillonite, the major mineral constituent of the bentonite, is mostly associated with clinoptilolite as a zeolite. However, instead of clinoptilolite, mordenite is sometimes included in the case of more silicic bentonite, and heulandite in the less silicic one. It is characteristic that the mordenite is accompanied by lots of opal-CT in the silicic bentonite. SEM observations characteristically indicate that these authigenic phases, especially the montmorillonite and zeolite, nearly coexist as mixtures not forming a fine-scale zoning. The zeolitic bentonite seems to be formed in the comparatively silicic pore fluid at the alkaline condition accompanying pH fluctuation Compared to the zeolite-free normal bentonite, the zeolitic types exhibit somewhat higher REE abundance. These chemical characteristics, together with modes of occurrences and authigenic mineral associations, may suggest that the zeolitic bentonite is not merely diagenetic products and a possible hydrothermal alteration could not be excluded in the bentonite genesis.
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