Skip to main content Accessibility help

Clay mineral reaction progress – the maturity and burial history of the Lias Group of England and Wales

  • S. J. Kemp (a1), R. J. Merriman (a1) and J. E. Bouch (a1)


The clay mineral assemblages and microtextures of a suite of mudrocks from the Lias Group of England and Wales indicate important regional differences in burial history.

Samples from the northern Cleveland Basin are characterized by illite-smectite (I-S, 90% illite) and little carbonate whilst samples from the southern Worcester and Wessex basins contain less mature discrete smectite and are often calcite- and dolomite-rich. Lias Group rocks have been buried to 4 km in the Cleveland Basin but to <2 km in the Worcester and Wessex basins. Burial in the Cleveland Basin is deeper than previously estimated and does not need a local heating event. Illite- smectite (80% illite) detected in samples from the East Midlands Shelf suggests burial to 3 km, again deeper than previous estimates for this region.


Corresponding author



Hide All
Anderton, R., Bridges, P.H., Leeder, M. & Sellwood, B.W. (1979) A Dynamic Stratigraphy of the British Isles: A Study in Crustal Evolution. George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London.
Barnard, C.E. & Cooper, B.S. (1983) A review of geochemical data related to the northwest European Gas Province. Pp. 19–33 in: Petroleum Geochemistry and Exploration of Europe (J. Brooks, editor). Geological Society (London) and Blackwell Scientific Publishers, Oxford, UK.
Bloodworth, A.J., Kemp, S.J., Inglethorpe, S.D.J. & Morgan, DJ. (1987) Mineralogy and lithochemistry of strata beneath proposed low-level radioactive waste site at Fulbeck, Lincolnshire; Report to Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, Site Investigation Consultants. British Geological Survey Technical Report, 87/15/C.
Bouch, J.E. (2003) SEM petrography of samples of the Lias Group of England and Wales. British Geological Survey Technical Report, IR/03/008.
Brandon, A., Sumbler, M.G. & Ivemey-Cook, H.C. (1990) A revised lithostratigraphy for the Lower and Middle Lias (Lower Jurassic) east of Nottingham, England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 48, 121141.
Carter, D.L., Heilmen, M.D. & González, F.L. (1965) Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether for determining surface area of silicate minerals. Soil Science, 100, 356360.
Chadwick, R.A. & Evans, C.J. (1995) The timing and direction of Permo-Triassic extension in southern Britain. Pp. 161-192 in: Permian and Triassic Rifting in Northwest Europe (Boldy, S.A.R., editor). Special Publication 91, Geological Society, London.
Colter, V.S. & Havard, DJ. (1981) The Wytch Farm oilfield, Dorset. Pp. 494-503 in: Petroleum Geology of the Continental Shelf of NW Europe (Illing, L.V. & Hobson, D.G., editors). Hayden & Sons, London.
Cosgrove, M.E. & Salter, D.L. (1966) The stratigraphical distribution of kaolinite in the post-Armorican formations of South-West England. Proceedings of the Ussher Society, 1, 249252.
Cox, B.M., Sumbler, M.G. & Ivimey-Cook, H.C. (1999) A formational framework for the Lower Jurassic of England and Wales (Onshore Area). British Geological Survey Research Report, RR/99/01.
Deconinck, J.F., Hesselbo, S.P., Debuisser, N., Averbuch, O., Baudin, F. & Bessa, J. (2003) Environmental controls on clay mineralogy of an Early Jurassic mudrock (Blue Lias Formation, southern England). International Journal of Earth Science, 92, 255-266.
Ebukanson, E.J. & Kinghorn, R.R.F. (1986) Maturity of organic matter in the Jurassic of southern England and its relation to the burial history of the sediments. Journal of Petroleum Geology, 9, 259280.
Green, P.F. (1989) Thermal and tectonic history of the East Midlands shelf (onshore UK) and surrounding regions assessed by apatite fission track analysis. Journal of the Geological Society (London), 146, 755-773.
Hallam, A. (1960) A sedimentary and faunal study of the Blue Lias of Dorset and Glamorgan. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B243, 698, 1-44.
Hemingway, J.E. & Riddler, G.P. (1982) Basin inversion in North Yorkshire. Transactions of the Institution of Mining & Metallurgy, B91, 175-186.
Hillier, S., Suzuki, K. & Cotter-Howells, J. (2001) Quantitative determination of cerussite (lead carbonate) by X-ray powder diffraction and inferences for lead speciation and transport in stream sediments from a former lead mining area of Scotland. Applied Geochemistry, 16, 597-608.
Hobbs, P.R.N. & Sumbler, M. (2001) Field sampling visits to Lias locations on the Yorkshire and Dorset coasts and elsewhere (October & November, 2000). British Geological Survey Internal Report, IR/01/71.
Holliday, D.W. (1999) Palaeotemperatures, thermal modelling and depth of burial studies in northern and eastern England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 52, 337352.
Hover, V.C., Peacor, D.R. & Walker, L.M. (1996) STEM/AEM evidence for preservation of burial diagenetic fabrics in Devonian shales: implications for fluid/ rock interactions in cratonic basins U.S.A. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 66, 519–530.
Hower, J., Eslinger, E.V., Hower, M.E. & Perry, E.A. (1976) Mechanism of burial metamorphism of argillaceous sediments: Mineralogical and chemical evidence. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 87, 725737.
Kemp, S.J. & Hards, V.L. (2000) The mineralogy of Lower Jurassic (Lias) mudstones from the M5, Gloucestershire. British Geological Survey Technical Report, WG/00/11.
Kemp, S.J. & McKervey, J.A. (2001) The mineralogy of mudrocks from the Lias Group of England. British Geological Survey Technical Report, IR/01/124.
Kim, J.-W., Peacor, D.R., Tessier, D. & Elsass, F. (1995) A technique for maintaining texture and permanent expansion of smectite interlayers for TEM observations. Clays and Clay Minerals, 43, 51-57.
Kirby, G.A., Smith, K., Smith, N.J.P. & Swallow, P.W. (1987) Oil and gas generation in eastern England. Pp. 171-180 in: Petroleum Geology of North West Europe Volume 1 (Brooks, J. & Glennie, K.W., editors). Graham & Trotman, London.
Li, G., Peacor, D.R., Buseck, P.R. & Árkai, P. (1998) Modification of illite-muscovite crystallite-size distributions by sample preparation for powder XRD analysis. The Canadian Mineralogist, 36, 14351451.
Merriman, R.J. & Frey, M. (1999) Patterns of very lowgrade metamorphism in metapelitic rocks. Pp. 61 – 107 in: Low-Grade Metamorphism (Frey, M. & Robinson, D., editors). Blackwell Sciences Ltd., Oxford, UK.
Merriman, R.J. & Kemp, S.J. (1996) Clay minerals and sedimentary basin maturity. Mineralogical Society Bulletin, 111, 7-8.
Merriman, R.J. & Peacor, D.R. (1999) Very low-grade metapelites; mineralogy, microfabrics and measuring reaction progress. Pp. 10-60 in: Low-Grade Metamorphism (Frey, M. & Robinson, D., editors). Blackwell Sciences Ltd., Oxford, UK.
Merriman, R.J., Roberts, B. & Peacor, D.R. (1990) A transmission electron microscope study of white mica crystallite size distribution in a mudstone to slate transitional sequence, North Wales, U.K. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 106, 27-40.
Mitchell, C.J. (1992) Clay mineralogy of the Lias, Copperhill Quarry, Grantham. British Geological Survey Technical Report, WG/92/9.
Moore, D.M. & Reynolds, R.C. (1997) X-ray Diffraction and the Identification and Analysis of Clay Minerals, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, New York.
Potter, P.E., Maynard, J.B. & Pryor, W.A. (1980) Sedimentology of Shale. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 270 pp.
Pye, K. & Krinsley, D.H. (1986) Microfabric, mineralogy and early diagenetic history of the Whitby Mudstone Formation (Toarcian), Cleveland Basin, UK. Geological Magazine, 123, 191-203.
Reynolds, R.C. & Reynolds, R.C. (1996) Description of Newmod-for- Windows. The Calculation of Onedimensional X-ray Diffraction Patterns of Mixedlayered Clay Minerals. Reynolds, R.C. Jr., 8 Brook Road, Hanover, NH, USA.
Snyder, R.L. & Bish, D.L. (1989) Quantitative analysis. Pp. 101-144 in: Modern Powder Diffraction (Bish, D.L. and Post, J.E., editors). Reviews in Mineralogy, 20. Mineralogical Society of America, Washington, D.C.
Van Buchem, F.S.P., Melnyk, D.H. & McCave, I.N. (1992) Chemical cyclicity and correlation of Lower Lias mudstones using gamma ray logs, Yorkshire, UK. Journal of the Geological Society, 149, 991-1002.
Warr, L.N. & Nieto, F. (1998) Crystallite thickness and defect density of phyllosilicates in low-temperature metamorphic pelites: A TEM and XRD study of clay-mineral crystallinity-index standards. The Canadian Mineralogist, 36, 1353–1474.
Woodland, A.W. (1971) The Llanbedr (Mochras Farm) borehole. Report of the Institute of Geological Sciences no. 71/18.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed