Summary of OH-related near-infrared spectral features.

Summary of OH-related near-infrared spectral features of unexpanded and expanded vermiculite ores.

Detailed Description

Table 6.  Summary of OH-related near-infrared spectral features of unexpanded and expanded vermiculite ores.

Notes: Vibrational positions from spectra of handpicked, ground mica flakes from the unexpanded GDS469 ore sample from Libby, MT; and the expanded vermiculite ores as noted.  Vibrational assignments from this study.  oa = OH overtone; ca = out-of-plane cation-OH-bendplus-stretch combination absorption and ca’ = in-plane cation-OH-bend-plus-stretch combination absorption.  va = OH stretch, δa = out-of-plane cation-OH bend, and δa’ = in-plane cation-OH bend fundamental absorptions (positions listed in Table 5).  δa” and δ’” = possible framework modes.  [  ] = vacant octahedral cation site.   ---- = absorption not observed.

a Wavelength positions of absorptions based on Gaussian-Lorentizian area (fixed shape, variable width) deconvolution using Peakfit® v4.12.  Gaussian-Lorentizian curves used for modeling OH and interlayer water absorptions in the 1.4-µm region required use of variable shapes and widths to achieve reasonable fits.

b Repulsed = repulsion of hydroxyl hydrogen by positive charge of an adjacent interlayer cation.

c Non-repulsed = no repulsion of hydroxyl hydrogen due to lack of an adjacent interlayer cation.

d Assignment based on presence of these absorptions in the spectra of the expanded ALB22SC00 ore sample from Enoree, South Carolina (Figs. 19 and 20).


Image Dimensions: 1082 x 1499

Date Taken:

Location Taken: US


Characterizing the source of potentially asbestos-bearing commercial vermiculite insulation using in situ IR spectroscopy
Swayze, G.A., Lowers, H.A., Benzel, W.M., Clark, R.N., Driscoll, R.L., Perlman, Z.S., Hoefen, T.M., and Dyar, M.D., 2018, American Mineralogist, v. 103, p. 517-549.
Abstract: Commercially produced vermiculite insulation from Libby, Montana, contains trace levels of asbestiform amphibole, which is known to cause asbestos-related diseases. When vermiculite insulation is found in a building, evaluation for its potential asbestos content traditionally involves collecting a sample from an attic or wall and submitting it for potentially time-consuming analyses at an off-site laboratory. The goal of this study was to determine if in situ near-infrared reflectance measurements could be used to reliably identify the source of vermiculite ore and therefore its potential to contain asbestos. Spectra of 52 expanded ore samples, including attic insulation, commercial packing materials, and horticultural products from Libby, Montana; Louisa, Virginia; Enoree, South Carolina; Palabora, South Africa; and Jiangsu, China, were measured with a portable spectrometer. The mine sources for these vermiculite ores were identified based on collection location, when known, and on differences in elemental composition as measured by electron probe microanalysis. Reflectance spectra of the insulation samples show vibrational overtone and combination absorptions that vary in wavelength position and relative intensity depending on elemental composition and proportions of their constituent micas (i.e., vermiculite ore usually consists of a mixture of hydrobiotite and vermiculite mineral flakes). Band depth ratios of the 1.38/2.32-, 1.40/1.42-, and 2.24/2.38-µm absorptions allow determination of a vermiculite insulation’s source and detection of its potential to contain amphibole, talc, and/or serpentine impurities. Spectroscopy cannot distinguish asbestiform vs non-asbestiform amphiboles. However, if the spectrally determined mica composition and mineralogy of an insulation sample is consistent with ore from Libby, then it is likely that some portion of the sodic-calcic amphibole it contains is asbestiform, given that all of the nearly two dozen Libby vermiculite insulation samples examined with scanning electron microscopy in this study contain amphiboles. One sample of expanded vermiculite ore from multiple sources was recognized as a limitation of the spectral method, therefore an additional test (i.e., 2.24-µm absorption position vs 2.24/2.38-µm band depth) was incorporated into the spectral method to eliminate misclassification caused by such mixtures. With portable field spectrometers, the methodology developed can be used to determine vermiculite insulation’s source and estimate its potential amphibole content, thereby providing low-cost analysis with onsite reporting to property owners.