A proposed mechanism for the growth of chalcedony

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The structural disparities that distinguish chalcedony from macrocrystalline quartz suggest that different crystallization mechanisms are operative during the growth of these two forms of silica. Although the paragenesis of chalcedony has provoked marked disagreement among researchers, a review of previous studies supports the idea that chalcedony can precipitate from slightly saturated aqueous solutions at relatively low temperatures (<100° C). These conditions for deposition suggest a model for chalcedony crystallization that involves the assembly of short-chain linear polymers via bridging silica monomers. This assembly occurs through a spiral growth mechanism activated by a screw dislocation with b=n/2 [110], where n is an integer. The proposed model can account for a number of peculiarities that have been observed in chalcedony at the microstructural scale, such as: (1) the direction of fiber elongation along [110] rather than [001]; (2) the periodic twisting of chalcedony fibers about [110]; (3) the high density of Brazil twin composition planes; (4) the common intergrowth of moganite within chalcedony.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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