The fissility of some Carboniferous shales



Laminations control the fissility of a sequence of shales and mudstones from the Upper Carboniferous Coal Measures in Britain. This was established by measuring the thickness of pairs of laminations in unweathered borehole material and comparing with the thickness of shale fragments at the outcrop of the same sequence. The parallel orientation of the clay minerals is not responsible for the fissility and it could be that its importance has been overestimated. The processes responsible for the formation and preservation of the laminations will also produce a well orientated clay fabric and hence fissility and clay orientation may be indirectly related.