“Garnierite” in weathering crust of ultramafic blocks from Cao Bang area, north Viet Nam


  • Pham Thanh Dang 1. Institute of Geological Sciences, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Hanoi, Vietnam 2. Graduate University of Science and Technology, VAST, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Pham Tich Xuan Institute of Geological Sciences, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Nguyen Van Pho Institute of Geological Sciences, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Hanoi, Vietnam




Garnierite, nickel laterite, hydrous magnesium silicate deposits, weathering of ultramafic rocks, Cao Bang area, north Vietnam


"Garnierite" is an important group of ore minerals in the supergene nickel deposits. Garnierite group minerals are Ni-bearing hydrous magnesium silicate formed due to the lateritic weathering of ultramafic rocks under humid tropical conditions. In the weathering crust on ultra-mafic blocks Ha Tri and Phan Thanh (Cao Bang province), garnierite group minerals have been found in the saprolite zone or as a coating on the surface of the fissures. Analytical results show that garnierite consists of a mixture of three solid solutions: (i) serpentine-like - 7Ao (lizardite-nepouite), (ii) talc-like - 10 Ao (pimelite-willemseite) and (iii) chlorite-like - 14 Ao (clinochlore-minite). EPMA analysis shows that garnierite in Cao Bang area is characterized by high Ni content (25.50-40.06%), low Fe content (0.09-0.9%) and almost no Al (<0.02%), similar to garnierite in the famous nickel mines in New Caledonia, Dominican Republic, etc... Notable, Ni and Mg contents in garnierite show a clear negative correlation, indicating the replacement for each other in the phases. Under the scanning electron microscope (SEM), garnierite has a raspberry shape forming continuous zones covering the unfinished weathered rock surface. These zones represent different stages of garnierite formation. The results of the study allow proposing a model of garnierite formation in the lateritic weathering zone in ultramafic blocks in the Cao Bang area.


Download data is not yet available.


Brand N.W., Butt C.R.M., Elias M., 1998. Nickel laterites: classification and features. AGSO Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics, 17, 81–88.

Brindley G.W., 1978. The structure and chemistry of hydrous nickel containing silicate and aluminate minerals. Bull. BRGM sec., II(3), 233–245.

Brindley G.W., Hang P.T., 1973. The nature of garnierite: I. Structure, chemical compositions and color characteristics. Clay Clay Miner, 21, 27–40.

Butt C.R.M., Cluzel D., 2013. Nickel lateritic ore deposits: weathered serpentinites. Elements, 9, 123–128.

Elias M., 2002. Nickel Laterite Deposits-Geological Overview, Resources and Exploitation Centre for Ore Deposit Research, University of Tasmania, Special Publication, 4, 205–220.

Faust G.T., 1966. The hydrous nickel-magnesium silicates-the garnierite group. Am. Mineral, 51, 33–36.

Freyssinet Ph., Butt C.R.M., Morris R.C., 2005. Ore-forming processes related to lateritic weathering. Econ. Geol. 100th Anniversary Volume, 681–722.

Golightly J.P., 1981. Nickeliferous Laterite Deposits. Economic Geology, 75th Anniversary Volume, 710–735.

Golightly J.P., 2010. Progress in understanding the evolution of nickel laterites. Econ. Geol. Spec. Publ., 15, 451–485.

Golightly J.P.,1979. Geology of Soroako nickeliferous lateritic deposits. In: Evans, D.J.I., Shoemaker, R.S., Veltman, H. (Eds.), International Lateritic Symposium: New York. Articial Intelligence in Medicine, 38–56.

Halpin J.A., Tran H.T., Lai C.-K., Meffre S., Crawford A.J., Zaw K., 2016. U-Pb zircon geochronology and geochemistry from NE Vietnam: a ‘tectonically disputed’ territory between the Indochina and South China blocks. Gondwana Res., 34, 254–273.

Ilyasa A., Kashiwaya K., Koike K., 2016. Ni grade distribution in lateritic characterized from geostatistics, topography and the paleo-groundwater system in Sorowako, Indonesia. J. Geochem. Explor., 165, 174–188.

Kuck P.H., 2013. Nickel. USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries, 108–109.

Manceau A., Calas G., 1985. Heterogeneous distribution of nickel in hydrous silicates from New Caledonia ore deposits. Am. Mineral., 70, 549–558.

Michel Cathelineau, Benoît Quesnel, Pierre Gautier, Philippe Boulvais, Clément Couteau, Maxime Drouillet, 2016. Nickel dispersion and enrichment at the bottom of the regolith: formation of pimelite target-like ores in rock block joints (Koniambo Ni deposit, New Caledonia). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 51, 271–282.

Nguyen Khac Giang, Pham Van An, 1998. Summary of Garnierite mineral group in weathering crust on ultramafic rock, north Viet Nam. Geological economics and mineral raw materials, 6(14), 8–16.

Nguyen Van Pho, Pham Tich Xuan, Pham Thanh Dang, 2018. Occurrence of supergene nickel ores in the Ha Tri Massive, Hoa An District, Cao Bang Province. Vietnam Journal of Earth Sciences, 40(2), 153–164

Soler J.M., Cama J., Galí S., Meléndez W., Ramírez A., Estanga J., 2008. Composition and dissolution kinetics of garnierite from the Loma de Hierro Ni-laterite deposit, Venezuela. Chem. Geol., 249, 191–202.

Springer G., 1974. Compositional and structural variations in garnierites. Can. Mineral., 12, 381–388.

Sufriadin S., Idrus A., Pramumijoyo S., Warmada I.W., Imai A., 2015. Study on mineralogy and chemistry of the saprolitic nickel ores from Soroako, Sulawesi, Indonesia: implication for the lateritic ore processing. Genes Genet. Syst., 82(6), 455–464.

Talovina I.V., Lazarenkov G.V., Ryzhkova S.O., Ugol'kov V.L., Vorontsova N.I., 2008. Garnierite in nickel deposits of the Urals. Lithol. Miner. Resour., 43, 588–595.

Tatyana V. Svetlitskaya, Peter A. Nevolko, Thi Phuong Ngo, Trong Hoa Tran, Andrey E. Izokh, Roman A. Shelepaev, An Nien Bui, Hoang Ly Vu, 2017. Small-intrusion-hosted Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide deposits in northeastern Vietnam: Perspectives for regional mineral potential. Ore Geology Reviews, 86, 615–623.

Tauler E., Proenza J.A., Gali S., Lewis J.F., Labrador M., Garcia-Romero E., Suarez M., Longo F., Bloise G., 2009. Ni-sepiolite-falcondoite in garnierite mineralization from the Falcondo Ni-lateritic deposit, Dominican Republic. Clay Miner., 44, 435–454.

Tran T.H., Izokh A.E., Polyakov G.V., Borisenko A.S., Tran T.A., Balykin P.A., Ngo T.P., Rudnev S.N., Van V.V., Nien B.A., 2008. Permo-Triassic magmatism and metallogeny of Northern Vietnam in relation to the Emeishan plume. Russ. Geol. Geophys., 49, 480–491.

Trescases J.J., 1975. L’e´volution ge´ochimique superge`ne desroches ultrabasiques en zone tropicale: Formations desgisements nickeliferes de Nouvelle Cale ´donie. Editions ORSTOM, Paris, 259p.

Villanova-de-Benavent C., Proenza J.A., Galí S., Garcia-Casco A., Tauler E., Lewis J.F., Longo F., 2014. Garnierites and garnierites: textures, mineralogy and geochemistry of garnierites in the Falcondo Ni-lateritic deposit, Dominican Republic. Ore Geol. Rev., 58, 91–109.

Wei Fua, Yinmeng Zhang, Chongjin Pang, Xiangwei Zeng, Xiaorong Huang, Mengli Yang, Ya Shao, Henry Lin, 2018. Garnierite mineralization from a serpentinite-derived lateritic regolith, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia: Mineralogy, geochemistry and link to hydrologic flow regime. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 188, 240–256.

Wells M.A., Ramanaidou E.R., Verrall M., Tessarolo C., 2009. Mineralogy and crystal chemistry of “garnierites” in the Goro lateritic nickel deposit, New Caledonia. Eur. J. Mineral., 21, 467–483.

Wells M.A., Ramanaidou E.R., Verrall M., Tessarolo C., 2009. Mineralogy and crystal chemistry of garnierites in the Goro lateritic nickel deposit, New Caledonia. Eur. J. Mineral., 21, 467–483.




How to Cite

Dang, P. T., Xuan, P. T., & Pho, N. V. (2020). “Garnierite” in weathering crust of ultramafic blocks from Cao Bang area, north Viet Nam. Science of the Earth, 42(2), 130–140. https://doi.org/10.15625/0866-7187/42/2/14953




Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>