Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure. Clay minerals are typically formed over long periods of time by the gradual chemical weathering of rocks, usually silicate-bearing, by low concentrations of carbonic acid and other diluted solvents. These solvents, usually acidic, migrate through the weathering rock after leaching through upper weathered layers. In addition to the weathering process, some clay minerals are formed by hydrothermal activity. Clay deposits may be formed in place as residual deposits in soil, but thick deposits usually are formed as the result of a secondary sedimentary deposition process after they have been eroded and transported from their original location of formation. Clay deposits are typically associated with very low energy depositional environments such as large lakes and marine basins. Primary clays, also known as kaolins, are located at the site of formation. Secondary clay deposits have been moved by erosion and water from
Contributions by Vsmith, 22.214.171.124, and AndyAndyAndy.