Mineral hydration
Mineral hydration is an inorganic chemical reaction where water is added to the crystal structure
Crystal structure
In mineralogy and crystallography, crystal structure is a unique arrangement of atoms or molecules in a crystalline liquid or solid. A crystal structure is composed of a pattern, a set of atoms arranged in a particular way, and a lattice exhibiting long-range order and symmetry...

 of a mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

, usually creating a new mineral, usually called a hydrate
Hydrate is a term used in inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry to indicate that a substance contains water. The chemical state of the water varies widely between hydrates, some of which were so labeled before their chemical structure was understood....


In geological
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 terms, the process of mineral hydration is known as retrograde alteration and is a process occurring in retrograde metamorphism. It commonly accompanies metasomatism
Metasomatism is the chemical alteration of a rock by hydrothermal and other fluids.Metasomatism can occur via the action of hydrothermal fluids from an igneous or metamorphic source. In the igneous environment, metasomatism creates skarns, greisen, and may affect hornfels in the contact...

 and is often a feature of wall rock alteration around ore bodies. Hydration of minerals occurs generally in concert with hydrothermal circulation
Hydrothermal circulation
Hydrothermal circulation in its most general sense is the circulation of hot water; 'hydros' in the Greek meaning water and 'thermos' meaning heat. Hydrothermal circulation occurs most often in the vicinity of sources of heat within the Earth's crust...

 which may be driven by tectonic or igneous activity.

Mineral hydration is also a process in the regolith
Regolith is a layer of loose, heterogeneous material covering solid rock. It includes dust, soil, broken rock, and other related materials and is present on Earth, the Moon, some asteroids, and other terrestrial planets and moons.-Etymology:...

 that results in conversion of silicate minerals into clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...


There are two main ways in which minerals hydrate. One is conversion of an oxide
An oxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen atom in its chemical formula. Metal oxides typically contain an anion of oxygen in the oxidation state of −2....

 to a double hydroxide
Hydroxide is a diatomic anion with chemical formula OH−. It consists of an oxygen and a hydrogen atom held together by a covalent bond, and carrying a negative electric charge. It is an important but usually minor constituent of water. It functions as a base, as a ligand, a nucleophile, and a...

, as with the hydration of calcium oxide
Calcium oxide
Calcium oxide , commonly known as quicklime or burnt lime, is a widely used chemical compound. It is a white, caustic, alkaline crystalline solid at room temperature....

 - CaO - to calcium hydroxide
Calcium hydroxide
Calcium hydroxide, traditionally called slaked lime, is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca2. It is a colourless crystal or white powder and is obtained when calcium oxide is mixed, or "slaked" with water. It has many names including hydrated lime, builders lime, slack lime, cal, or...

 - Ca(OH)2, the other is with the incorporation of water molecules directly into the crystalline structure of a new mineral, as in the hydration of feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

s to clay minerals, garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

 to chlorite
Chlorite group
The chlorites are a group of phyllosilicate minerals. Chlorites can be described by the following four endmembers based on their chemistry via substitution of the following four elements in the silicate lattice; Mg, Fe, Ni, and Mn....

 or kyanite
Kyanite, whose name derives from the Greek word kuanos sometimes referred to as "kyanos", meaning deep blue, is a typically blue silicate mineral, commonly found in aluminium-rich metamorphic pegmatites and/or sedimentary rock. Kyanite in metamorphic rocks generally indicates pressures higher than...

 to muscovite
Muscovite is a phyllosilicate mineral of aluminium and potassium with formula KAl22, or 236. It has a highly-perfect basal cleavage yielding remarkably-thin laminæ which are often highly elastic...


Some mineral structures, for example, montmorillonite
Montmorillonite is a very soft phyllosilicate group of minerals that typically form in microscopic crystals, forming a clay. It is named after Montmorillon in France. Montmorillonite, a member of the smectite family, is a 2:1 clay, meaning that it has 2 tetrahedral sheets sandwiching a central...

, are capable of including a variable amount of water without significant change to the mineral structure.

Hydration is the mechanism by which Portland cement
Portland cement
Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general use around the world because it is a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar, stucco and most non-specialty grout...

develops strength.
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