Clay

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Clay

Clay is a fine-grained (small particle size) sedimentary rock . Clay is so fine-grained it is rarely possible to see the individual mineral particles with the naked eye. The definition of clays describes rocks with particle sizes of less than 4 μm in diameter. Most sedimentary rocks are described using both mineral content and particle size. While this is also true for clays, the particle size description is most reliable and most often used.

The majority of common types of minerals found in clays are kaolinite (a soapy-feeling and lightweight mineral), talc, pyrophyllite, all types of micas, minerals from the chlorite group, feldspars, and a lesser amount of tectosilicates (including quartz ).

The mineral content of clays is less variable than other types of sedimentary rock. This is a direct result of the way clays are formed. Water carries the bulk of sediments to their resting place where they are cemented together. The transport of sediments is directly related to the force or velocity of water carrying them. The stronger the velocity of water, the larger and heavier the particle it can move. Conversely, the weaker the flow, the smaller the particle that is carried by the water. As a result, water acts as a winnowing filter for certain types of minerals. The heavier minerals are not carried as far by water currents as are the lighter ones. When water finally comes to rest, it deposits its load of minerals. The last to be released are the lighter and smaller particles, the clay minerals.

Where rivers meet oceans , the clay minerals are so light they are usually carried far out to sea where they fall gently to the bottom forming a fine-grained sediment. These deposits cover organic materials and trap them at the edges of deltas and continental slopes. Over millions of years, the organic materials convert to petroleum and remain trapped by the clays. This relationship makes the study of clays extremely important for petroleum geologists. In addition to this important economic consideration, clays provide important economic resources for a wide variety of other industries.

See also Petroleum detection; Sedimentation

clay

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clay / klā/ • n. a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth, typically yellow, red, or bluish-gray in color and often forming an impermeable layer in the soil. It can be molded when wet, and is dried and baked to make bricks, pottery, and ceramics. ∎ technical sediment with particles smaller than silt, typically less than 0.00016 inch (0.004 mm). ∎  a hardened clay surface for a tennis court. ∎ poetic/lit. the substance of the human body: this lifeless clay. PHRASES: feet of claysee foot.DERIVATIVES: clay·ey / ˈklā-ē/ adj.clay·ish adj.clay·like / -ˌlīk/ adj.

clay

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clay
1. In the Udden–Wentworth scale, particles less than 4μm in size. See PARTICLE SIZE.

2. In pedology, a soil separate comprising mineral particles less than 2μm in diameter according to the Atterberg and USDA classifications.

3. Class of soil texture, irrespective of particle diameter but usually containing at least 20% by weight of clay particles. Compare CLAY MINERALS.

clay

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clay OE. clǣġ = (M)LG., (M)Du. klei :- WGmc. *klaijō-, f. *klai- *klei- *kli-, repr. also by OE. clām, mod. dial. cloam mud, clay, OE. clǣman (see CLAMMY); IE. *gloi- *glei- *gli- as in Gr. glía, glínē, L. glūs, glūten (see GLUE).

clay

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clay
1. A soil separate comprising mineral particles less than 2 μm in diameter.

2. In the Udden–Wentworth scale, particles less than 4 μm in diameter.

3. A class of soil texture, usually containing at least 20 per cent by weight of clay particles. Compare clay mineral.

clay

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clay An inorganic constituent of soils consisting chiefly of clay minerals (mainly hydrous silicates of aluminium) in the form of particles less than 0.002 mm in diameter. See also flocculation.

clay

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clay Group of hydrous silicates of aluminium and magnesium, including kaolinite and halloysite, usually mixed with some quartz, calcite or gypsum. It is formed by the weathering of surface granite or the chemical decomposition of feldspar. Soft when wet, it hardens on firing and is used to make ceramics. It is also used for bricks and cement, as well as the manufacture of electrical insulators, pipes and paper.

clay

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clay
1. A soil separate comprising mineral particles less than 2 μm in diameter.

2. A class of soil texture, usually containing at least 20 per cent by weight of clay particles. Compare CLAY MINERAL.

clay

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clay A dried mineral clay under the names of sikor, mithi, pakhuri, and khatta, is sometimes used in Asia as a treatment for indigestion and a nutritional supplement, but can be toxic since it contains varying amounts of arsenic and lead.