The regional distribution, mineralogy, petrology and chemistry of the detrital and authigenic clay minerals associated with the Permo-Triassic strata (excluding the Rotliegend: see Ziegler, 2006; this volume), of the onshore and offshore regions of the British Isles are reviewed within their stratigraphical framework. The origin of these clay minerals is discussed in relation to current hypotheses on the developments of the Mg-rich clay mineral assemblages associated with the evaporitic red-bed Germanic facies of Europe and North Africa.
Composite clay mineral successions are described for seven regions of the British Isles – the Western Approaches Trough; SW England; South Midlands; Central Midlands; the Cheshire Basin; NE Yorkshire; and the Central North Sea. The detrital clay mineral assemblages of the Early Permian strata are variable, consisting of mica, smectite, smectite-mica, kaolin and chlorite, whereas those of the Late Permian and the Trias are dominated by mica, usually in association with minor Fe-rich chlorite. The detrital mica consists of a mixture of penecontemporaneous ferric mica, probably of pedogenic origin, and recycled Pre-Permian mica. In the youngest Triassic strata (Rhaetian), the detrital clay assemblages may contain appreciable amounts of poorly defined collapsible minerals (irregular mixed-layer smectite-mica-vermiculite) and kaolin, giving them a Jurassic aspect. There are two types of authigenic clay mineral assemblages. Kaolin may occur as a late-stage diagenetic mineral where the original Permo-Triassic porewaters of the sediment have been replaced by meteoritic waters. A suite of early-stage diagenetic clay minerals, many of them Mg-rich, are linked to the evaporitic red-bed facies – these include sepiolite, palygorskite, smectite, irregular mixed-layer smectite-mica and smectite-chlorite, corrensite, chlorite and glauconite (sensu lato). The sandstones and mudstones of the onshore regions of the British Isles display little or no difference in their detrital and authigenic clay mineral assemblages. In contrast, the sandstones of the offshore regions (North Sea) show major differences with the presence of extensive chloritic cements containing Mg-rich and Al-rich chlorite, irregular mixed-layer serpentine-chlorite, and mica.