Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Crawford Elliott - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Seth Rose

Third Advisor

Dr. J. Marion Wampler

Fourth Advisor

Dr. R. Dougles Elmore


The clay mineralogy data and K-Ar ages of I/S measured in this study agree with previous work conducted within the Disturbed Belt (Hoffman, 1976) and show that diagenetic I/S formed quickly at several different places in response to thrust sheet burial during the Laramide orogeny. The averages of concordant age values for clay sub-fractions separated from three bentonites of Cretaceous and Jurassic depositional age increase from southeast (53.6 Ma) to northwest (56.7 Ma) along the trend of the Disturbed Belt. This northwestward increase of mean ages of I/S is consistent with a thrust sheet emplacement model for the Disturbed Belt (Mudge and Earhart, 1980). The rate of the eastward advancement of the Lewis Thrust Sheet derived from the concordant K-Ar dates of I/S was about 1 cm/year in the Marias River area. The absence of the 2M1 illite polytype in most bentonitic shales does not permit the derivation of the age of diagenetic I/S by Illite Age Analysis and yet constrains the estimate of maximum burial temperature to 250°C.