Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. W. Crawford Elliott

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Deocampo

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian Meyer


The mining industry located along the fall line region of central Georgia has been and remains as one of the largest global exporters of the clay mineral kaolinite. Among the kaolin deposits in that region, the Cretaceous Buffalo Creek formation and the Eocene Jeffersonville member contain the most commercially viable kaolin to extract and process for resale. The minerals of the sand and silt fractions of these kaolin units were separated via dense liquid separation and analyzed for comparison by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and elemental analysis. The dense fractions are enriched in select heavy minerals (zircon and rutile) and trace elements (rare earth). These elemental enrichments and the differences in the mineral maturity of these gangue (grit) fractions suggest differences in the provenance of the gangue minerals between these two different kaolins.