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Some geologic factors relating to the laboratory examination of recent sediments Toombs, Ralph Belmore

Abstract

In selecting suitable procedures for the laboratory investigation of recent sediments, the first step suggested is that of examining conditions in the geologic environment that influence sediment properties. This step is illustrated by reference to the geologic history and physical features of a British Columbia fiord as a basis for assessing environmental conditions affecting the fiord sediments. Having inquired into the conditions surrounding the origin of sediments, the laboratory investigator is better prepared to emphasize those procedures which will provide the most significant types of data. In this project, a number of properties of recent sediments are investigated by physical, chemical and mechanical analyses, by the binocular, petrographic and electron microscopes, and by X-ray diffraction, spectroscopy, and differential thermal analysis; techniques are selected on the basis of a study of the fundamental geologic principles relating to each sediment property. A number of statistical devices are employed in the presentation of data. Illustration is given of the utility of geologic data, as obtained in the laboratory, to investigators in the fields of soil mechanics, pedology and ceramics. The sediments examined during this study were obtained as bottom and core samples from Bute Inlet. They are best described as "rock flour": the sand fraction does not exceed 5% and the minerals are relatively unaltered; the clay-size fraction averages 23% but there is no discernible clay mineral content. Mineralogically the sediments can be related, to a certain degree, to drainage basin geology. Information obtained to date on the Bute Inlet sedimentary environment suggests that sediments accumulating there are not characteristic of those which might be classified as source beds for petroleum.

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