- Volume 28 Issue 4
Illite/smectite (I/S) in the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin, Arctic Canada has been scrutinized on the basis of mineralogical analysis of 215 core and drill-cutting samples from 22 exploratory wells onshore and offshore. I/S in the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin includes the following four types: random, a mixture of random and ordered, R1-ordered, and R>1-ordered I/S. A mixture of random and ordered I/S occurs in the transitional interval between random and R>1-ordered I/S, and may represent a metastable state in the ordering reaction. A widespread occurrence of the mixture in natural environments suggests that the ordering reaction may be a slow process that results in co-existence of reactants and products. K-saturation experiments show that layer charges of expandable layers in I/S are variable. High-charge expandable layers transform into illite-like layers upon simple K-saturation. K-saturation alters the composition and/or the degree of ordering in I/S, suggesting that illitization in nature can be transformational.