Geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of clay deposits at Ijesha–Ijebu and its environs, southwestern Nigeria
Two residual clay deposits and one transported clay deposit in Ijesha-Ijebu area were investigated for their mineralogical, chemical and industrial properties. The investigation was to evaluate their industrial applications and economic importance. The mineralogy of the clay samples was determined using X-ray Diffraction (XRD). The chemical composition of the clay samples was determined using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS). Physical tests which include; thermal properties, plasticity tests, density measurement, linear shrinkage and water absorption capacity were determined to determine their industrial potentials. The clay within the weathered profiles above banded gneiss and pegmatite at Ijesha-Ijebu is brownish with red spots, while the clays derived from sedimentary terrain is chocolate in colour. The X-ray diffraction results showed that kaolinite is the dominant mineral, while quartz, albite and muscovite are the major non clay minerals. Chemical data showed that the values of SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 are 66.11%, 20.53% and 3.07%, respectively in weathered banded gneiss, in sedimentary the values of SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 are 42.12%, 34.43% and 7.37%. In weathered pegmatite, the values of SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 are 53.17%, 32.7%, 1.44%, respectively. The average percentage of clay in the banded gneiss, pegmatite and sedimentary samples are 50%, 56% and 47% respectively. The clay mouldability ranged between moderate to high. Evaluation of the clay properties and characteristics shows the industrial application of the clay like production of ceramic, building bricks and other structural wares.
Keywords: Clay, Mineralogy, Chemistry, Ceramics, Building bricks.