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Isotope geochemistry and origin of illite-smectite and kaolinite from the Seilitz and Kemmlitz kaolin deposits, Saxony, Germany

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Residual clays that developed on Permian and Carboniferous glass-rich silicic volcanic rocks (pitchstones, ignimbrites) at the Seilitz and Kemmlitz kaolin deposits, Saxony, Eastern Germany, contain locally abundant lath-shaped illite-rich illite-smectite mixed-layer minerals (I-S). Analyses by XRD and TEM-AES reveal a large illite percentage (>~90%) and R3 ordering in I-S from Seilitz (>~90%) and smaller illite percentage (~70%) and R1 ordering in I-S from Kemmlitz. The clays never suffered a deep burial and there is no geological, petrographic or fluid inclusion evidence for aeolian input or hydrothermal origin of I-S at either deposit. The I-S formed exclusively at the expense of volcanic glass and not from K-feldspar. Residual quartz phenocrysts in the clays still preserve primary glassy silicate melt inclusions and lack secondary aqueous fluid inclusion trails. The δD and δ18O values of kaolinite and I-S are suggestive of low formation temperatures (<40ÂșC). Rb-Sr and K-Ar dating of I-S-bearing clay separates yield Lower Cretaceous ages at Seilitz and indicates the presence of excess or inherited 40Ar in illite-rich I-S. In contrast, Triassic to Jurassic Rb-Sr ages are obtained for I-S from the Kemmlitz kaolin deposit.
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Keywords: DEPOSITS; HYDROGEN ISOTOPE; ILLITE-SMECTITE; K-AR; KAOLIN; KAOLINITE; KEMMLITZ; MESOZOIC; OXYGEN ISOTOPES; RB-SR; SAXONY; SEILITZ; TEM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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