Pelayo Bayón, Marta and García Romero, Emilia and Labajo Rodillana, Miguel A. and Pérez del Villar Guillén, L. (2011) Occurrence of Fe–Mg-rich smectites and corrensite in the Morrón de Mateo bentonite deposit (Cabo de Gata region, Spain): A natural analogue of the bentonite barrier in a radwaste repository. Applied geochemistry, 26 . pp. 1153-1168. ISSN 0883-2927
Official URL: http://www.elsevier.com/ locate/apgeochem
The Morrón de Mateo bentonite deposit is being studied as a natural analogue of the thermal and geochemical effects on a bentonite barrier in a deep geological repository of high level radioactive wastes. This bentonite deposit and its host rocks were intruded by a rhyodacitic volcanic dome that induced a hydrothermal metasomatic process affecting the biocalcarenite beds close to the dome. In this work, the mineralogical and chemical features of the clay minerals of the hydrothermally altered pyroclastic (white tuffs) and epiclastic rocks (mass flow), located in the NE sector of the Morrón de Mateo deposit are described. White tuffs have a high content of phyllosilicates, mainly composed of dioctahedral smectites, while mass flow have a higher proportion of inherited minerals, the neoformed phyllosilicates are dioctahedral smectites and an interlayer chlorite/smectite mineral of corrensite type. The chemical composition of smectites reflects the different nature of the parent rocks, in such a way that smectites from white tuffs have a quite homogeneous chemical composition and their structural formulae correspond to montmorillonite type, while smectites from mass flow show more chemical variability, higher Fe and Mg contents and a mean structural formulae corresponding to Fe–Mg-rich beidellite and/or to an intermediate smectite member between beidellite and saponite. In addition, chemical composition and textural features of corrensite-like clay minerals in relation to Fe–Mg-rich smectites in the samples have also been studied, suggesting that the former seems to be formed from Fe–Mg-rich smectites. The presence of corrensite in the epiclastic rocks suggests that in the Morrón de Mateo area a hydrothermal alteration process occurred after bentonite formation, which transformed Fe–Mg-rich smectites into corrensite. This transformation was probably favoured by the intrusion of the Morrón de Mateo volcanic dome, which produced a temperature increase in the geological media and a supply of Fe–Mg-rich solutions. These physicochemical conditions were also responsible for the metasomatic transformations observed in the biocalcarenite beds located on the top of the bentonite deposit. All these data suggest that the Morrón de Mateo natural system could be a good natural analogue of both thermal and chemical effects on a bentonite barrier related to the radioactive decay of fission products and the interaction between the corrosion products of steel over-packs and the bentonite. These circumstances would favour the transformation of the candidate Al-rich smectites into Fe–Mg-rich smectites and corrensite, as steps prior to formation of chlorite. In this case, all the physicochemical and mechanical properties of Al-rich smectites would disappear and the clayey barrier would fail.
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||Smectites; Bentonite deposits; Cabo de Gata (Spain)|
|Subjects:||Sciences > Geology > Mineralogy|
|Deposited On:||27 Oct 2011 11:38|
|Last Modified:||31 May 2012 22:06|
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