Document and Entity Information
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2013
Oct. 09, 2013
Document And Entity Information [Abstract] [Abstract]    
Document Type 10-Q  
Amendment Flag false  
Document Period End Date Sep. 30, 2013  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2013  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q3  
Trading Symbol ALB  
Entity Registrant Name ALBEMARLE CORP  
Entity Central Index Key 0000915913  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31  
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   81,399,291