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Transmission and analytical electron microscopy have revealed diagenetic relationships between kaolinite and other clay minerals in core samples from Tertiary Gulf Coast sediments. In all samples studied (depths of 1750, 2450, and 5500 m), kaolinite occurs as thin packets of layers contained exclusively within a matrix of smectite or illite and is typically interstratified with illite. Interstratified kaolinite and illite exhibit apparently coherent (001) grain boundaries. The thickness of the kaolinite packets appears to increase with depth. These data suggest that kaolinite was derived from smectite concomitant with the smectite-to-illite reaction in a locally K-deficient environment. The interlayer cation K in smectite may be important in determining the final proportions of kaolinite and illite.

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