US Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Environ. Sci. Technol. 2004, 38, 1017-1023


Individual 1-3 mm biotite and muscovite clasts from Hanford sediment were contacted with 0.08 M CsNO3. They were examined using electron or X-ray microprobe methods, as intact specimens or sectioned perpendicular to their basal planes. Cs+ was observed to preferentially sorb to mica edges, steps on mica surfaces, or fractured regions. The localization of Cs conformed to hypothesized strong binding to frayed edge sites in preference to sites on basal planes. In section, Cs+ was found to penetrate the mica interior, forming discrete zones of concentration, particularly in muscovite. In biotite, Cs was more abundant, permeating the clasts, but also forming discrete zones of higher concentration. Concentrated Cs on both clast edges and within clast interiors corresponded to microscopic but relatively extensive zones where K was depleted. The localization of sorbed Cs in areas where K was depleted suggested that weathering reactions had caused the formation of frayed edge sites within the micas. Cs+ accessed crystal interiors by diffusion along channels following crystal defects, cracks, or partings where pore fluids had previously migrated to form the interior alteration zones. On the nanometer scale, areas with localized Cs were disrupted, confirming that frayed edge sites were developed in clast interiors.