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Depending on the context and discipline, the terms ‘clays’ or ‘clay’ may be used in three different ways: as a particle-size term, as a mineral term, and as a rock term (Moore, 1996). The field of oil-sands research makes no exception and various uses can be encountered in the literature, including terms such as ‘clay-sized minerals,’ ‘fine clays,’ ‘ultrafine clays’ (or ‘ultrafines’), ‘estuarine clay,’ ‘marine clay,’ etc.

In this chapter, an overview is given of: (1) the nomenclature associated with clays and clay minerals; (2) the structure and crystal chemistry of phyllosilicates; and (3) the geology and clay mineralogy of oil sands.

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