By A.C.McLean C.D.Gribble
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If the rock has been formed from organic debris, then the fragments may consist of particles of shell or wood, but the texture can be described in the same terms as are used for other fragmented rocks. The size of grains is an important textural feature of a terrigenous rock, as an indication of distance between its source and depositional areas, as well as an easily observed property which may be used to distinguish and classify the rock. The coarsest particles are deposited nearest to the source area, and most of the finest particles are carried in suspension to greater distances before they settle.
These layers can be further simplified to for a gibbsite layer or for a brucite one. Some clays have a structure that consists of layered units from different clays joined together, and these are called mixed-layer clays. Symbolic structures for the clay minerals can now be depicted. (a) Kaolin, Al2Si2O5(OH)4. Two units are held together by attraction (van der Waals’ forces). Note that the structure of kaolin is worth comparing with that of serpentine, in which a brucite layer replaces the gibbsite (G) layer of kaolin.
The ‘ancient volcanic hills’ of most areas are not volcanic cones, but the eroded lava-infilled pipes of the volcanoes. Depending on their composition, lavas may have a rough broken surface (scoriaceous Minerals and rocks 39 lava) or a smooth wrinkled surface (ropy lava) when extruded. Gas bubbles (vesicles) are concentrated by buoyancy at the upper surface of a lava flow while it is molten, and at the lower surface by its flow (Fig. 20). In older flows, such vesicles are usually filled with secondary minerals.
GEOLOGY FOR CIVIL ENGINEERS by A.C.McLean C.D.Gribble