Mineral composition can be determined using different methods such as reflectance spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD). However, in some cases, the composition of mineral maps obtained from reflectance spectroscopy with XRD shows inconsistencies in the mineral composition interpretation and the estimation of (semi-)quantitative mineral abundances. We show why these discrepancies exist and how should they be interpreted. Part of the explanation is related to the sample choice and preparation; another part is related to the fact that clay minerals are active in the short-wave infrared, whereas other elements in the composition are not. Together, this might lead to distinctly different interpretations for the same material, depending on the methods used. The main conclusion is that both methods can be useful, but care should be given to the limitations of the interpretation process. For infrared reflectance spectroscopy, the lack of an actual threshold value for the H–OH absorption feature at 1900 nm and the poorly defined Al–OH absorption feature at 2443 nm, as well as for XRD, detection limit, powder homogenizing, and the small amount of montmorillonite below 1 wt.%, was the source of discrepancies.
- Clay mineral interpretation
- Hydrothermal alteration minerals
- Shortwave infrared
- X‐ray powder diffraction