My watch list  


      Halloysite is a 1:1 aluminosilicate clay mineral with the empirical formula Al2Si2O5(OH)4. Its main constituents are aluminium (20.90%), silicon (21.76%), and hydrogen (1.56%). Halloysite typically forms by hydrothermal alteration of alumino-silicate minerals. [1] It can occur intermixed with dickite, kaolin, montmorillonite and other clay minerals. X-ray diffraction studies are required for positive identification. It was first described in 1826 and named for the Belgian geologist Omalius d'Halloy.



Two common forms are found, when hydrated the clay exhibits a 1 nm spacing of the layers and when dehydrated (meta-halloysite) the spacing is 0.7 nm. Halloysite naturally occurs as small cylinders which average 30 nm in diameter with lengths between 0.5 and 10 micrometres. [2]

Geological Occurrence

The formation of halloysite is due to hydrothermal alteration, and it is often found near carbonate rocks. For example, halloysite samples found in Wagon Wheel Gap, Colorado, are suspected to be the weathering product of rhyolite by downward moving waters.[3] In general the formation of clay minerals is highly favored in tropical and sub-tropical climates due to the immense amounts of water flow. Halloysite has also been found overlaying basaltic rock, showing no gradual changes from rock to mineral formation.[4] Halloysite occurs primarily in youthful volcanic-derived soils, but it also forms from primary minerals in tropical soils or pre-glacially weathered materials.[5] Igneous rocks, especially glassy basaltic rocks are more susceptible to weathering and alteration forming halloysite.

Often as is the case with halloysite found in Juab County, Utah, the clay is found in close association with goethite and limonite and often interspersed with alunite. Feldspars are also subject to decomposition by water saturated with carbon dioxide. When feldspar occurs near the surface of lava flows, the CO2 concentration is high, and reaction rates are rapid. With increasing depth, the leaching solutions become saturated with silica, aluminium, sodium, and calcium. Once the solutions are depleted of CO2 they precipitate as secondary minerals. The decomposition is dependent on the flow of water. In the case that halloysite is formed from plagioclase it will not pass through intermediate stages.[6]


A very pure halloysite is mined from an highly altered rhyolite occurrence in New Zealand uses include porcelain and bone china. [7] Various patents exist for the use of hallosyite as nanofillers [8] and in controlled release technology for a range of active agents.[9][10] It is also used for other high-tech ceramic applications.

Halloysite also has been used as a petroleum cracking catalyst in the past, [11]. Exxon has also developed a cracking catalyst based on synthetic halloysite[12].

Due to its structure, it can be used as filler in either natural or modified forms in nanocomposites.


  1. ^ Paul F. Kerr, FORMATION AND OCCURRENCE OF CLAY MINERALS, Clays and Clay Minerals, Volume 1, page 19-32, 1952
  2. ^ George W. Brindley, STRUCTURAL MINERALOGY OF CLAYS, Clays and Clay Minerals, Volume 1, page 33-43, 1952
  3. ^ Kerr P. F. (1952) Formation and Occurrence of Clay Minerals Clays and Clay Minerals 1, 19-23
  4. ^ Papke K.G. (1970) Halloysite Deposits in the tarraced Hills Washoe County, Nevada Clays and Clay Minerals 19, 2, 71-74
  5. ^ Wilson M. J. (1999) The Origin and Formation of Clay Minerals in Soils: Past Present and Future Perspectives Clay Minerals 34, 7-25
  6. ^ Kerr P. F. (1952) Formation and Occurrence of Clay Minerals, Clays and Clay Minerals 1, 19-23
  7. ^
  8. ^ US patent #3467618,
  9. ^
  10. ^ US patent #5651976,
  11. ^ US Patent #3515682,
  12. ^ US Patent #4150099,


  • Webmineral
  • Mindat w/ location data
  • Univ. Wisconsin
  • New Zealand halloysite
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Halloysite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE