Paleo-environmental Conditions, Paleoclimatic Significance and Effects of Weathering on Clay Deposits in the Lower Benue Trough, Nigeria. Mineralogical Approach

A. T. Bolarinwa (Department of Geology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria)
S. O. Idakwo (Depatment of Earth Sciences, Kogi State University, P.M.B. 1008, Anyigba, Kogi State, Nigeria)
D. L. Bish (Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A.)

Article ID: 904


Combined methods for mineralogical identifications were used to characterise the clay deposits within the Lower Benue Trough of Nigeria to interpret paleo-environmental conditions, the paleoclimatic significance of the trough, and effects of weathering on the minerals as factors that favour its deposition/accumulation within the trough which host other important industrial minerals like coal, barite, limestone etc. Bulk-sample random-powder XRD data and data for clay fractions deposited onto zero-background quartz plates were measured. The samples contained kaolinite, vermiculite, and traces of smectite, and the non-clay phases included quartz, microcline, and muscovite. All samples were unaffected after glycolation, confirming the absence of significant smectite. Muscovite was characterized by the nature of its 10 Å basal peak with a width of <0.10° 2θ, which was very sharp. DTA/TGA results support the presence of kaolinite, and the characteristic kaolinite O-H, Al-OH, Si-OH and SiO-Al FTIR bands also confirmed its presence. Vermicular and book-like morphologies were observed under the SEM, typical of kaolinitic clay from in situ alteration. High kaolinite abundance in these sediments is consistent with intense weathering of parent rocks rich in Al under wet/ tropical paleo-climatic conditions with fresh and/or brackish water conditions in a continental setting. The variety of observed morphologies suggests that the deposits suffered more of chemical weathering. The clay deposits in Lower Benue Trough are quartz-rich, kaolinitic and derived from the chemical weathering of Al-rich source rocks.


Paleo-environmental conditions; Al-rich source rocks; Clay mineralogy; Chemical weathering; Lower Benue Trough

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