Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geosciences

First Advisor

Dr. W. Crawford Elliott

Second Advisor

Dr. Jessica E. Kogel

Third Advisor

Dr. Daniel M. Deocampo

Abstract

Deposits of smectite clay, of unknown origin, have been found in association with kaolin in the Marion Member of the Huber Formation and Buffalo Creek Formation in both Wilkinson and Washington County, Georgia. The presence of smectite within kaolin deposits in both the KT Tucker and Crutchfield mines is atypical for Coastal Plain kaolins. X-ray diffraction analysis of samples from these locations shows predominantly large, high Hinckley Index kaolinite crystals, consistent with Buffalo Creek Formation or Marion Member kaolin deposits. The most probable origin of the smectite inclusions is that the smectitic clays, or their source material, were deposited in mixed beds with the pre-existing Cretaceous age kaolin during sea level regressions or other erosional events. The irregular locations of the smectite deposits can be attributed to the mechanism of deposition as well as the numerous erosional events the occurred in the region since that deposition.

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