Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 113–122 | Cite as

Nanostructure of palygorskite/sepiolite in Texas caliche: Possible bacterial origin

  • Robert L. FolkEmail author
  • E. Troy Rasbury


In a caliche from west Texas, watermelon-shaped calcite crystals are coated with fibers of palygorskite/sepiolite clay, which also extend out into pore spaces as spiky filaments. Some filaments are smooth and capped by ovoid 30–100nm beads. Other filaments are made of rosary-like chains of beads. These objects are seen both in gold-coated and carbon-coated samples, thus are not artifacts. We suggest that these minute features were cells of nannobacteria (dwarf forms) that precipitated the clay filaments, in a similar manner as larger bacteria that accumulate clay minerals on their negatively-charged cell walls.


Clay Mineral Folk Sepiolite Ooids Attapulgite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jackson School of Geologic SciencesUniversity of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Space SciencesState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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