Date of Award

Spring 1976

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Peter Fleischer

Committee Member

Chester E. Grosch

Committee Member

Keith Frye

Committee Member

Loyal Bouchard

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35F48


A study was performed on the clay minerals of the James River estuary, Virginia, to determine the predominant factors that influence clay mineral distribution in the estuary. The factors of differential settling, flocculation, and diagenesis show minor or no effects on distribution, while estuarine circulation exerts the strongest influence upon the clay mineral distribution.

There are two clay suites in the James River estuary. The upper James River clay suite is a kaolinite, dioctahedral vermiculite, and mixed-layer suite, with kaolinite being the major mineral. The lower Chesapeake Bay clay suite is an illite, chlorite, and montmorillonite suite, with illite being the major clay mineral. Mixing between the two clay suites occurs as a result of the estuarine circulation pattern. The upstream limit of mixing terminates at the point where the surface of no motion intersects the river bottom at Hog Island. Dilution by estuarine mixing of these two suites is thus the predominant factor governing the clay mineral distribution.


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