The Weches Formation of the Claiborne Group (Eocene) in northeast Texas consists of clayey sandstones and mudrocks, both with variable proportions of dark green to brown clay peloids deposited in a marginal to open marine setting on the Gulf Coast margin. The composition of the dark green peloids, from two localities, has been investigated using X-ray diffraction, back-scattered electron microscopy with X-ray analysis, electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), Mössbauer spectroscopy, chemical analysis and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. These peloids were previously described on the basis of their color as glauconite (Yancey and Davidoff, 1994); our results, however, show that the dark green indurated pellets are predominantly composed of mixed-layer clays with a high proportion of Fe-rich 7 Å serpentine layers coexisting with a mixed-layer phase containing glauconite, nontronite and vermiculite layers, in addition to discrete illite and kaolinte. Analyses by EELS of single particles with a chemical composition consistent with them being the Fe-rich clay indicate that the Fe is >95% ferric, while Mössbauer analyses of the bulk magnetically separated fraction for the same samples indicates a ferric iron content of ~60–70%, despite the variable relative proportions of expandable and 7 Å layers. Taking into account that there is a significant amount of 2:1 layers containing ferric Fe, we interpret these data as indicating that the Fe in the 7 Å layers has a significant amount of Fe2+ even taking into account the high ferric Fe ratio from the EELS analysis when the coexisting 2:1 layers are considered. Thus, these 1:1 layers are closer to berthierine in composition than to odinite. The vermiculite layers in the Texas clay may indicate partial ‘verdinization’ of expandable 2:1 clay. A possible reaction is smectite → vermiculite → berthierine-like phase. We estimate a temperature of 20°C for the seawater in which the Texas clay formed, the lower end of the range for modern occurrences of odinite.

You do not currently have access to this article.