Abstract: Regularly interstratified chlorite/smectite (corrensite) occurs as grain coatings in marine and eolian sandstones of the Permian Cutler Formation in Lisbon Valley, Utah. Corrensite dominates the <2-µm clay size fraction along with lesser amounts of regularly interstratified illite/smectite in bleached, permeable sandstones that are interbedded with smectite-dominated arkosic, red, laterally discontinuous fluvial sandstones. Chemical and X-ray powder diffraction analyses of the corrensites show them to be di/dioctahedral with 060 spacings of 1.501 to 1.508 Å and to contain significantly higher Al:Mg ratios than more common trioctahedral types. Calculated structural formulae are: corrensite, M0.6(Fe3+0.2Mg1.6Al4.6)(Al0.2Si7.8)O20(OH)10; illite/smectite, M1.5(Fe3+0.1Mg1.7Al2.8)(Al1.6Si6.4)O20(OH)4; and smectite, M0.9(Fe3+0.3Mg1.2Al2.8)(Al0.6Si7.4)O20(OH)4.
Chemical similarity between the smectite and the corrensite and pervasive distribution of smectite in low-permeability shales and siltstones suggest that the smectite was a precursor of the corrensite. Three stages of mineral precipitation in the Cutler Formation have been recognized. Quartz precipitated early as grain overgrowths, followed by the formation of authigenic clay minerals, and later calcite cementation which destroyed much of the original rock fabric. Calculations show that aluminous corrensite was favored by elevated temperature (∼ 100°C), low pH, and low dissolved silica. Local hydrothermal fluids rising along the Lisbon fault apparently permeated the Cutler red bed section and precipitated the clay minerals. The assemblage corrensite + illite/smectite in the sandstones probably formed by interaction of formation fluids with smectite and an Al-bearing phase, such as K-feldspar or kaolinite.