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Kaolinite, illite, and mixed-layer montmorillonite-illite are present in interlaminated sandstones and shales from the Eocene Wilcox Formation of the Texas Gulf Coast at depths of 2,000 to 4,000 m. Ratios of kaolinite to discrete illite are higher in the sandstones than in the interlaminated shales. Mixed-layer clays in the sandstones are 5 to 20% more expansible and less ordered than those in interlaminated shales. These mineralogic differences are interpreted to reflect a significant difference in the solution chemistry of pore waters in the sandstones from that of pore waters in the interlaminated shales. At the relatively shallow depth of 2,000 m, mixed-layer montmorillonite-illite from the shales is roughly 30% expansible; this figure is significantly less than the 7 % expansibility reported by J. Hower et al for Miocene age mixed-layer clays at similar depths. Assuming similar source and geothermal gradient for the two sets of samples, two explanations may account for these differences. The most plausible explanation is that the expansibility of the mixed-layer clay is controlled by the montmorillonite-to-illite transformation rate. Because the Eocene sediments have had an additional 25 m.y. to react, the montmorillonite-to-illite transformation is more complete in these samples. An alternative explanation is that the chemistry of pore waters in the Wilcox Formation is significantly different from that of pore waters in sediments studied by Hower.
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