Experimental Studies of Clay Mineral Occurrence

  1. Richard H. Worden2 and
  2. Sadoon Morad3
  1. D. A. C. Manning

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch9

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

How to Cite

Manning, D. A. C. (1999) Experimental Studies of Clay Mineral Occurrence, in Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones (eds R. H. Worden and S. Morad), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch9

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. School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405105873

Online ISBN: 9781444304336



  • experimental studies of clay mineral occurrence;
  • kinetic factors controlling natural occurrence of clay minerals and results of synthesis experiments;
  • clastic petroleum reservoirs - clay-mineral assemblage in controlling key petrophysical and geochemical parameters;
  • framework for discussing clay stabilities and phase diagram for system;
  • technical constraints underpinning practical design of experiment;
  • kaolinite stability;
  • examples of clay reactions;
  • kaolinite dissolution–precipitation kinetics


Fundamental controls on the occurrence and distribution of clay minerals in sedimentary rocks are determined by the application of experimental data relating to their thermodynamic stabilities and the kinetics of clay reactions. The thermodynamic properties of individual representatives of the major clay-mineral groups (kaolin, illite, smectite, chlorite) and polymorphs (kaolinite, dickite, nacrite, halloysite) have been determined mainly from synthesis experiments but also from solubility determinations and calorimetric investigations of natural and synthetic clays. In all cases, mineral starting materials need to be fully characterized to quantify impurities and heterogeneities at a molecular scale. In synthesis and solubility experiments, analysis of the fluid composition is integrated ideally with detailed high-resolution mineralogical analysis of solid experimental products. It is clear from many studies that kinetic factors control both the natural occurrence of clay minerals and the results of synthesis experiments, and this can lead to controversy in the interpretation of experimental data. Recent experimental work on clay-mineral reactions has been undertaken under conditions of pressure and temperature that either match the saturated vapour pressure curve for aqueous solutions, under autoclave conditions, or are at elevated pressure controlled independently of temperature. This review explains the principles involved in experimental design and their limitations, and provides signposts to key studies of clay stability.