Use of Clay Fabric to Distinguish Turbiditic and Hemipelagic Siltstones and Silts

  1. Dorrik A. V. Stow
  1. Neal R. O'Brien1,
  2. Keiji Nakazawa1 and
  3. Shuichi Tokuhashi2

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304473.ch18

Deep-Water Turbidite Systems

Deep-Water Turbidite Systems

How to Cite

O'Brien, N. R., Nakazawa, K. and Tokuhashi, S. (1991) Use of Clay Fabric to Distinguish Turbiditic and Hemipelagic Siltstones and Silts, in Deep-Water Turbidite Systems (ed D. A. V. Stow), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304473.ch18

Editor Information

  1. Department of Geology, University of Southampton, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geological Sciences, State University of New York, Potsdam, New York, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Geology and Mineralogy, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 11 NOV 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632032624

Online ISBN: 9781444304473



  • turbiditic (Bouma E-Division) and hemipelagic siltstones;
  • carbon-organic nitrogen ratio;
  • non-clay mineral content;
  • clay flake orientation;
  • mud-turbidite sedimentation


Pliocene and Holocene siltstones and silts in outcrops from the Boso Peninsula, Japan and in cores from the East China were studied to determine distinctive characteristics of the turbiditic (Bouma E-Division) and hemipelagic siltstones and silts. Weathering characteristics, colour, grain size, and organic carbon–organic nitrogen ratio, plus clay fabric proved valuable in characterizing each unit. Clay and non-clay mineral content was uniform throughout. Clay fabric differences are pronounced. Random clay flake orientation prevails in the turbiditic interval while the hemipelagic unit has more preferred orientation. The fabric reflects different conditions of sedimentation. The turbiditic clay was deposited more rapidly in the flocculated state while the interturbidite hemipelagic clay may have formed from more slowly sedimented dominantly dispersed clay. Results suggest that clay fabric may be useful in combination with other sedimentary features in the study of mud-turbidite sedimentation.