Dissolution of Pyroxenes and Amphiboles During Weathering

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Science  14 Mar 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4436, pp. 1205-1206
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4436.1205


Augite, hypersthene, diopside, and hornblende all undergo dissolution during weathering by means of the formation, growth, and coalescence of distinctive, parallel, lens-shaped etch pits. Similar etch features can be produced if these minerals are treated in the laboratory with concentrated hydrofluoric acid plus hydrochloric acid. These pits most likely form at dislocation outcrops, and their shape and orientation are controlled primarily by the crystallography of the underlying mineral. The results are similar to those found for soil feldspars and suggest that silicate weathering, in general, takes place by selective etching and not by general attack of the surface with consequent rounding as necessiated by bulk diffusion-type weathering theories.