Vermiculite is a mineral with many potential uses in various industrial areas, such as in insulation, horticulture, and environmental applications. The regolith of the Sokli carbonatite intrusion in northern Finland consists of weathered micas which reportedly contain vermiculite. The aim of the present study was to characterize the weathered mica in order to determine if the weathered regolith contains vermiculite. If so, the value of the apatite-rich Sokli intrusion may increase, because the vermiculite could be classified as an ore in Sokli. For the characterization, mica fractions were investigated using electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The EPMA results show that the potassium (K2O) content of the mica investigated varies between 6.20 and 0.31 wt.%. The XRD results provided evidence that the interlayer distances in the mica vary between 10.1 and 14.7 Å. The TGA shows that the dehydration of the samples varies between 6 and 12 wt.% for temperatures up to 170°C. Dehydroxylation takes place in three steps, as is characteristic for vermiculite. The results from this study revealed that mica in the weathered parts of the Sokli carbonatite is mostly vermiculite, and that the vermiculite was formed by the weathering of phlogopite. These results can be used to determine whether vermiculite is a possible future commodity at the Sokli carbonatite complex.
|Journal||Clays and Clay Minerals|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|