Abstract: Recent sediments of the Niger delta contain the detrital clay minerals kaolinite, montmorillonite and a small amount of illite. The montmorillonite content increases with water depth and distance from the shore, and the results of laboratory experiments on natural Niger delta clay support the assumption that this is due to differential flocculation and sedimentation.
The easterly Guinea Current, transporting montmorillonite-rich floccules in suspension, may cause an increase in the montmorillonite content of the clays in the eastern part of the delta.
Mineralized faecal pellets are present in most marine sediment samples. Chamosite occurs authigenically in coastal water shallower than 35 fathoms, as brown and dark-green pellets. Green pellets, composed of highly expandable, montmorillonite-type glauconite, are particularly common around the 100 fathom isobath. Both chamosite and glauconite have a high magnesium content, which seems to be usual during their early stages of formation.
The formation of chamosite and glauconite is governed by redox potential and the availability of iron. If no reduction takes place, the pellets remain grey and their composition is similar to that of the clay matrix. Grey pellets are less restricted to a particular depth than are the chamosite and glauconite pellets, but distinct maxima occur around the 250 fathom isobath.