Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program



Geology and Geophysics

Major Professor

Totten, Matthew

Second Advisor

Serpa, Laura

Third Advisor

Hanan, Mark


Clays and clay mineral distribution studies are important for understanding the geological history of the Gulf of Mexico Basin, but few studies document any subsurface clay mineral distribution in the Gulf of Mexico. Shale samples from nine wells (30 samples) in the South Timbalier protraction were selected near known paleontological markers identifying the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene boundaries. Bulk mineralogy of each sample, determined by XRD, is primarily mixed-layer smectite and illite with a minor amount of kaolinite. The mixed-layer mineralogies are end-member smectite, mixed-layer smectite, mixed-layer illite, and end-member illite. These clay mineral fractions do not correlate with age. The illite mixed layer percentage correlates with depth, but the correlation decreases when depth is converted to temperature. However, the illite mixed layer fraction does not exhibit a strong correlation in this multiwell study when compared to a single well study in Ship Shoal using identical methods (Totten et al., 2002).


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