Abstract: Studies of Recent marine sediments from the North Atlantic Ocean were made in order to understand better the effects of diagenesis on the clay minerals. Samples from the continental shelf, the continental slope and the floor of the northwestern basin, north of Bermuda, were made available through the courtesy of the Lamont Geological Observatory of Columbia University.
Most of the argillaceous material in these sediments is a poorly crystalline, complex mixture of chlorite and illite. The samples contain a small amount of kaolinite and montmorillonite. Some of the problems involved in the identification of these complex mixtures are discussed. Studies of the clay minerals reveal that a slight diagenetic change takes place, as indicated by the increasing crystallinity of chlorite and illite, with increasing depth below the clay-water interface and with increasing water depth. Some of the cores contain zones of red clay and the clay minerals contained therein are relatively well crystallized materials in contrast to the clay minerals in the greenish-gray clays. An hypothesis based on the oxidation state of the iron is advanced to explain the differences between the crystallinity of the three layer clay minerals in the red and greenish-gray clays.