Quantitative Clay Petrology: The Trees But not the Forest?

Kenneth M. Towe
Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. 20560, U. S. A.

Abstract: Gravitational settling and centrifuge techniques have been criticized in the preparation of X-ray specimen mounts for quantitative clay petrology because of the marked mineral segregations that can occur. Although the same factors can operate to produce error in the separation of the traditional less-than-2-µm fraction, this potentially more important source of bias is seldom taken into consideration. A fair representation of the bulk sample deserves at least as much attention as a representative X-ray mount. The most accurate and precise X-ray analyses may be geologically misleading or meaningless otherwise and translate as exercises in precision for its own sake.

Clays and Clay Minerals; December 1974 v. 22; no. 5–6; p. 375-378; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1974.0220502
© 1974, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)