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Clay

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)

Definition

The term “clay” is applied both to Earth materials with a particle size equal to or less than 0.005 mm and to those minerals that are microcrystalline, layered, hydrous aluminum phyllosilicates, occasionally with variable amounts of iron, magnesium, and alkali metals (Gillott 1968; West 2010). Therefore, cohesive soils may be composed of mixtures of clay minerals and clay-sized materials like quartz, feldspar, and carbonate. Both clay minerals and clay-sized particles are the product of weathering from pre-existing rocks and found on or near the earth surface.

Characteristics

Globally, clay-bearing sediments, also referred to as argillaceous sediments, make up about 60% of the Earth’s surface, with clay minerals comprising up to two-thirds of the components. The atomic structure of clay minerals involves two basic units, tetrahedral silicate sheets (Si+4 cation occurs in fourfold and tetrahedral coordination with oxygen) and octahedral hydroxide sheets (Al+3occurs in...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_53
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References

  • Casagrande A (1940) The structure of clay and its importance in foundation engineering, contributions to soil mechanics, 1925 to 1940. Boston Society of Civil Engineers, Boston, pp 72–125

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  • Gillott JE (1968) Clay in engineering geology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 296p

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  • Holtz RD, Kovacs WD, Sheahan TC (2011) Introduction to geotechnical engineering. Prentice Hall, 864p. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA

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  • Perlea VG, Koester JP, Prakash S (1999) How liquefiable are cohesive soils. In: Seco e Pinto P (ed) Proceedings of earthquake geotechnical engineering, vol 2. Balkema, Lisboa, pp 611–618

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  • West T (2010) Geology applied to engineering. Waveland Press, Long Grove, 560p

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Correspondence to Arpita Nandi .

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Nandi, A. (2018). Clay. In: Bobrowsky, P.T., Marker, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_53

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