Talc [ideal formula: Mg3Si4O10(OH)2] is one of the classical 2:1 trioctahedral phyllosilicates that has been analysed intensively with respect to its formation, thermal stability, chemical properties and structure (e.g. Wilkins & Ito, 1967; Rayner &Brown, 1973; Ward, 1975; Martin et al., 1996). Single crystal structure refinement by X-ray diffraction (XRD) showed clearly that talc is triclinic and crystallizes in the space group CI (e.g. Rayner & Brown, 1973; Perdikatsis & Burzlaff, 1981). Based on this structural model, two coordination arrangements of OH groups to Mg in the octahedral sheets can be deduced. Since XRD data give only an insight into the average structure, local information on the ligand field of the cations is limited. Currently, no analytical tool is known to determine directly the ligand field of Mg in the octahedral sites.