Microscale Distribution of Kaolinite in Breathitt Formation Sandstones (Middle Pennsylvanian): Implications for Mass Balance

  1. Richard H. Worden2 and
  2. Sadoon Morad3
  1. Kitty L. Milliken

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch15

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

How to Cite

Milliken, K. L. (1999) Microscale Distribution of Kaolinite in Breathitt Formation Sandstones (Middle Pennsylvanian): Implications for Mass Balance, in Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones (eds R. H. Worden and S. Morad), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch15

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK

  2. 3

    Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villa vägen 16, S-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Author Information

  1. Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 OCT 1999

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405105873

Online ISBN: 9781444304336



  • microscale distribution of kaolinite, Breathitt Formation;
  • al-mobility issue in sandstone diagenesis;
  • kaolinite in Breathitt Formation sandstones - timing of chemical reactions;
  • detrital mineralogy and general diagenetic history;
  • kaolinite distribution in thin-section;
  • regional data for kaolinite distribution;
  • petrographic associations


Highly discontinuous, patchy distribution at the thin-section scale is an unexplained, but widely observed, characteristic of authigenic kaolinite in sandstones. Detailed petrographic observations of kaolinite (including possible dickite) in Breathitt Formation sandstones (middle Pennsylvanian) reveal information on the timing of chemical reactions and constitute important constraints for calculation of Al mass balance. Kaolinite occurs in both primary and secondary pores. Kaolinite precipitation largely post dates quartz cementation and precedes most grain dissolution. Based on this timing sequence, Al import (into a volume at least as large as a thin-section) was required at one period in the diagenetic history, whereas Al export from the sandstone occurred at another, later period. Distribution of kaolinite into available pore space appears to be random, as the ratio of kaolinite in primary versus secondary pores approximates the ratio of these pore types existing at the time of kaolinite precipitation. The observed Al imbalances together with the lack of a halo distribution around existing and former feldspars supports Al transport that was dominated by advection as opposed to diffusion. Controls on the patchy localization of kaolinite remain unidentified, but possible biogenic controls warrant investigation.