Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Science


Geology and Geological Engineering

First Advisor

Jennifer Gifford

Second Advisor

Brian Platt

Third Advisor

Ionka Widanagamage

Relational Format



Two newly discovered bentonite deposits in northern and southern Pontotoc County, Mississippi occur in the Upper Cretaceous outcrop in a banded pattern on the northeastern margin of the Mississippi Embayment (MSE). The entire Ripley Formation (Fm) consists of ~73 m of fossiliferous clay, sand, and calcareous sand beds. The bentonites are located stratigraphically within the Chiwapa Sandstone Member (CSM) at the top of the Ripley Fm and stratigraphically lie above previously mined bentonites in central Pontotoc County. Since the northern and southern bentonites differ stratigraphically from the previously mined bentonites, it is possible that there are other unknown bentonite deposits throughout Pontotoc County. This study utilizes heavy mineral separation, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), detrital zircon U-Pb geochronologic dating, stratigraphic analysis, and X-ray diffraction to determine and refine the possible sources and depositional environments of the upper Ripley bentonites.

Included in

Geology Commons


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