Clay minerals in early Jurassic sequences of shales, siltstones and sandstones deposited in non-marine, transitional and shallow marine environments have been examined by X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy and chemical analysis to study the relationship between clay minerals, their environment of deposition and subsequent diagenetic modifications.
The inherited clay mineral composition of the fine-grained sediments reflects the influence of climate, relief, source rocks and depositional processes. Inhomogeneous clay mineral assemblages, comprising abundant kaolinite and varying proportions of illite, I-S, chlorite and vermiculite, characterize fine-grained sediments from the non-marine and transitional environments. In shallow marine depositional environments clay mineral assemblages are more uniform, dominated by illite+I-S with minor kaolinite and chlorite.
The principal diagenetic process affecting fine-grained sedimentary rocks is the smectite–illite transformation. In sandstones, the authigenic formation of kaolinite, chlorite and illite appears to have been primarily determined by the environment of deposition.