The Variations of Wyoming Bentonite Beds as a Function of the Overburden

F. J. Williams, B. C. Elsley and D. J. Weintritt
Baroid Sales Division, National Lead Company, Houston, Texas

Abstract: The colloidal properties and base-exchange characteristics of five deposits in four different areas were determined. The variations of the clay were, in general, a function of the amount of overburden and have been related to that dimension.

From the standpoint of appearance, two types of clay were found in these areas. The highest grade clay has a yellow color whereas the other type, a blue clay, is customarily found to be of lower grade.

Differential thermal studies of the yellow and blue clay, when correlated with variations in colloidal properties, strongly suggest that the change from blue to yellow is due to oxidation of iron.

The primary cause for variation in properties is due to the Na/Ca ratio in the exchange positions regardless of whether the iron in the clay is in the ferrous or ferric state. Examination of purified clays indicates that the exchangeable base ratio of the field bentonites lies in a zone of instability. This zone occurs when the divalent ions amount to 40 to 60 percent of the base-exchange capacity.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1953 v. 2; no. 1; p. 141-151; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1953.0020112
© 1953, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)