Hydration of Silica and Its Role in the Formation of Quartz Veins – Part 1

  • John Elliston Elliston Research Associates Pty Ltd, 10B The Bulwark, CASTLECRAG 2068, New South Wales, Australia
Keywords: Sediments, accretion, concretion, charged particle, surface energy, porphyroid, granite

Abstract

The crystalline forms of quartz and that it is insoluble are well known. The hydrolysis of silica and formation of polymeric silicic acids in slightly alkaline (pH 8.1 - 8.3) sea water is less well known and not recognised by many geologists. Silica is one of the most abundant components of ordinary sediments and the amorphous forms, the silica gels, have been closely studied. Their properties and behaviour are perhaps better known than those of many other colloids. Quartz veins are abundant in all types of sediments and in rocks and mineral deposits derived from them. Clearly if we study how silica is mobilised into these veins and lodes, how it silicifies wall rocks, forms opal, replaces shells and tree trunks, etc. then we may have a better basis for understanding how sulphide particles might similarly be mobilised into veins and lodes, permeate shales, form framboids, replace fossils and plant fragments or fine shale bands, etc. This article briefly summarises recent developments in the aqueous chemistry of silica. It emphasises the particulate nature of the amorphous silica species in order to update rather simplistic views that quartz veins and many other natural forms of quartz “crystallise directly from solution”. A number of features of quartz veins which are due to the particulate nature of natural polymeric silica are illustrated.

Author Biography

John Elliston, Elliston Research Associates Pty Ltd, 10B The Bulwark, CASTLECRAG 2068, New South Wales, Australia

After early experience as a chemist and consulting geologist, John Elliston joined the small Peko mining company in 1956 where studies led to understanding the nature and origin of the local intrusive ironstone deposits.  Application of the new concepts by his exploration team led to discovery in Australia of 9 new mines containing 33 orebodies in a 15 year period and to dramatic growth of his company.  He was appointed to the board of the parent company in 1969 and, as an Executive Director, he was responsible for technical subsidiaries including Geopeko Limited. Fourteen published and 65 unpublished scientific papers and reports record his recent research and his treatise the international edition of The Origin of Rocks and Mineral Deposits - using current physical chemistry of small particle systems is now published.

Published
2018-09-24
How to Cite
Elliston, J. (2018). Hydration of Silica and Its Role in the Formation of Quartz Veins – Part 1. Substantia, 2(2), 43-71. https://doi.org/10.13128/Substantia-60
Section
Research Articles