Abstract

In order to determine the relative influence of palaeoenvironmental and diagenetic processes in clay assemblages, as well as their significance, both fine-and coarse-grained sediments from the Campo de Gibraltar flysch have been studied by means of X-ray diffraction, optical and electron microscopy, and chemical analysis. Diagenetic modifications appear to be lithologically controlled and mainly affect coarse-grained sediments, where Fe-chlorites, illite and kaolinite are the more characteristic authigenic clay minerals. The evolution of detrital assemblages, determined in fine-grained beds, indicates that, from Cretaceous to Eocene times, clay mineralogy, characterized by the opposite kaolinite+smectite and illite+I-S mixed-layer assemblages, was mainly controlled by sources, climate and transport processes. On the other hand, from the Oligocene, clay mineral assemblages, characterized either by the abundance of kaolinite, or by the illite+chlorite association, mainly reflect the petrology of source rocks, as a consequence of climatic cooling and the increasing tectonic activity, which impede the development of soils.

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