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Additional info for Bentonites: Geology, Mineralogy, Properties and Uses
Most of the bentonites in the Prairie Provinces carry calcium as the major exchangeable cation, but sodium bentonites are known also. Cristobalite is a common minor component of the bentonites. There appears to be no correlation between the physical appearance of the bentonites or the character of the associated beds and the presence of calcium versus sodium as the dominant exchangeable cation. Scott and Booker (1968) state that there is a marked increase in the sodium content of the bentonites toward the base of the Bearpaw formation, suggesting that environment of accumulation may have influenced the type of bentonite.
Electron-optical observations indicate similar morphological features for the smectite particles in all three samples. The common aggregates consist of fiber-like units that are formed by extensive curling of thin layers. Such an aggregate is shown in Fig. 7 obtained from sample 10. The aggregate resembles a piece of a moss, and i t is soft and flexible. The term “mossy aggregates” is, therefore, adopted to designate this type of smectite aggregate. Another less common form of smectite particles consists of compact lamellar aggregates.
Very recently, discoveries of possible economic significance have been made at numerous places in Parani where De Paiva Netto and Nascimento (1956) reported a bentonitic clay in a Tertiary bituminous shale in the Paraiba Valley. Mineralogical studies. 2) from Ponta Alta indicate the presence of a smectite carrying calcium and magnesium as the main exchangeable cations. Quartz, feldspars, and micas are the common impurities in the sample. Smectite particles occur predominantly in the form of laths, S-type lamellae, and Wyoming-type foliated aggregates.