Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences




The Karaçayır kaolinite deposit, situated in the Uşak-Güre basin of western Turkey, is hosted by rhyolite and andesite of the Miocene Dikendere volcanics, and by muscovite schist, glaucophane schist, talc schist and chlorite schist of the Palaeozoic Eşme Formation. The association of kaolinization with silicification and Fe-oxidation, and the presence of pyrite, chalcopyrite and gypsum, suggest that hydrothermal alteration processes in the volcanics and schists were controlled by faults. Thus, prevalent kaolinite is associated with quartz, smectite, illite and opal-CT in the centre of the deposit, with relative increases in smectite, illite, chlorite and Fe (oxyhydr)oxide phases outwards and upwards. Texturally, sanidine and plagioclase crystals are sericitized and kaolinized in rhyolite and andesite respectively, whereas muscovite, chlorite and feldspar in schists exhibit partial kaolinization and illitization. Micromorphologically, authigenic kaolinite, having hexagonal book-like and vermiform textures, occurs as rims on feldspar, muscovite and chlorite suggesting a dissolution-precipitation mechanism. Pyrite, locally transformed to hematite, is euhedral to subhedral, with grain sizes of ±400 µm. Iron occurs as Fe^{2+} and Fe^{3+} within the structures of the Karaçayır kaolinites and smectites, as determined by Mössbauer spectroscopy. Enrichment of Mg, Ca and Fe in the kaolinite deposit is related to the presence of smectite, calcite, dolomite, pyrite ± chalcopyrite, goethite and hematite. Kaolinized volcanic and schist samples from the Karaçayır area are characterized by 35.77-87.58% SiO_2, 3.27-22.83% Al_2O_3, 0.91-9.16% Fe_2O_3, 0.01-5.94% K_2O and 0.26-12.41% MgO, revealing moderate degrees of kaolinization ± illitization ± smectitization coexistent with high degrees of silicification and Fe (oxyhydr)oxidation. Increases of Fe_2O_3, MgO, CaO and Zr and decreases of Rb, Sr, and Ba (except for decreases in partially altered volcanics) in kaolinite samples adjacent to schists and volcanic rocks suggest that kaolinite developed by alteration of both schists and volcanics. The Karaçayır kaolinite and smectite have \delta^{18}O and deltaD values ranging from 11.6 to 20.4%o, and -79%o to -112%o, respectively. Using the isotopic fractionation factor (\alpha), the temperatures of formation for the Karaçayır kaolinite and smectite were determined to be 61.6-131.7 °C and 61.2-148.9 °C, respectively, and negative \delta^{34}S values for pyrite, chalcopyrite and gypsum reflect formation under the influence of hydrothermal activity; this assumption is supported by isotope equilibrium temperatures of 80-125 °C calculated from pyrite-chalcopyrite pairs. Thus, the Karaçayır kaolinite deposit formed by an increase in Al±Fe/Si under acidic environmental conditions, which facilitated epithermal alteration of feldspar and volcanic glass in volcanic rocks, and muscovite, chlorite and feldspar in schists, controlled by tectonic activity during Miocene volcanism.

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