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Three clay minerals from southern and central Tunisia were characterized. Both XRD quantitative analysis and a chemical method were used to determine the mineralogical and physico-chemical characteristics of the <2 m clay fractions. The XRD, CEC and specific surface measurement analyses showed that the dominant phase in all samples is illite-smectite with kaolinite and traces of quartz also present. From quantitative XRD, the abundances of the minerals identified are consistent with the measured CEC, specific surface area and TG/DTA properties. Analysis by XRD also showed that the illite-smectite phases are composed of thin stacks (two to a maximum of ten layers per stack) of random illite-smectite and ordered (R1) illite-smectite. There is also some discrete illite.