Detailed information about the course

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Advanced Techniques in Characterisation of Clays and Clay Minerals


June 8th to 11th 2021


Dr. Silvia Omodeo Salé; Post-doc; Department of Earth Sciences, UNIGE

Davide Carraro, PhD student, UNIGE


Prof. Branimir Segvic, Texas Tech University, USA

Giovanni Zanoni, Texas Tech University, USA


PURPOSE: Advanced course on characterization of clays and clay minerals which will combine a mix of lectures and practical sessions with an accent to the latter. The course follows up on the first CUSO clay course held in Geneva in January 2020 and participants are therefore expected to be informed about basic concepts related to clay mineral structures and chemistry. This short course will deepen participants' knowledge in: • Quantification of clay rich X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns (Rietveld analyses and RIR method); quantification of clay mineral mixed-layer species through XRD modelling – Examples from key sedimentary basins to enhance participants' understanding of the nature, properties, behavior and occurrence of clays in the context of different applications such as hydrocarbon exploration and production (1.5 DAYS) • Scanning electron microscopy and microanalyses (SEM-EDS) of clay minerals. EDS spectra quantification and modelling. Usage of EDS microanalyses in automated microscopy (e.g. QEMSCAN, ROCKSCAN) of clay rich rocks and sediments (1 DAY) • Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and bulk chemistry (X-ray fluorescence-XRF) of clays and clay minerals (1 DAY) • High-temperature dynamics of clay minerals – multimethodological approach (0.5 DAYS) TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

DAY 1 (a) Review of clay minerals' structures, mineralogy and chemistry & XRD analyses (b) Introduction to Rietveld analyses with focus on phyllosilicates (c) Use of internal standard in XRD mineral quantification – The Reference Intensity Ratio (RIR) (d) Review of mixed-layer clay minerals and importance of their quantification (e) Diffraction patterns of mixed-layer clay minerals and their modelling (f) Ordering concepts in mixed-layer clay minerals (Reichweit) and its applications (g) Practical sessions on examples provided by the teaching team

DAY 2 (a) Review on SEM-EDS analyses of clay rich rocks and sediments (b) Clay microtextures defined by SEM-EDS (c) EDS spectra quantification and modelling (based on known compositions) (d) Review on properties and behavior of mixed-layer clay minerals in sedimentary rocks influenced by their structural and compositional nature (e) Automated microscopy of clay rich sedimentary rocks – advantages and pitfalls (f) Practical sessions on examples provided by the teaching team

DAY 3 (a) Review on FTIR technology and its usage in clay mineral characterization (b) FTIR spectra quantification (c) Application of FTIR in the identification of organo-clays (d) Review on XRF method and its usage in clay science (e) Clay mineral composition as a control of whole-rock chemistry of clay rich rocks and sediments (soils) (f) Practical sessions on examples provided by the teaching team

DAY 4 (a) Chemistry and mineralogy of clay minerals upon firing (b) Application of high temperature clay mineral dynamics in other sciences (i.e. archaeology, metamorphic petrology) (c) Practical sessions on examples provided by the teaching team (Related to Day 1)


University of Geneva (partly online)




External participants from non-CUSO universities need to pay registration fees (1112 CHF).

Please contact the program coordinator for any information.



Deadline for registration 04.06.2021
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