Date of Award
M.S. in Engineering Science
William R. Reynolds
In the past 55 years, there has been considerable debate over the stratigraphic position, genesis, and economic value of North Mississippi bauxite. The aluminum rich deposits are unlike most deposits found around the world. The deposits are associated with 200-300 foot thick marine to nonmarine clays overlain by feldspar poor, fluvial-deltaic sediments. The possible source areas are composed of limestone, marls, sand, and muds ranging in age from Late Cretaceous to Late Paleocene. These factors prohibit the direct application of previous theories derived from studies outside Mississippi. The deposits, therefore, cannot be considered a textbook example of bauxite formation.
To explain the Mississippi deposits, the following 3 questions must be answered: 1) how is aluminum supplied to a sedimentary basin, 2) what type of sedimentary environment allows the accumulation of aluminum, and 3) is aluminum distribution related to the paleography. The objective of this study is to answer the questions by describing the mineralogy, mapping the surface distribution, and mapping the shallow subsurface distribution of the aluminum rich deposits. By combining the stratigraphic and petrographic observations with present geochemical theories on aluminum, it may be possible to establish the mode of origin for northeast Mississippi's bauxite.
Thompson, Charles Nelson, "Petrology of North Mississippi Bauxite : A Case for Depositional Bauxite and Kaolin" (1980). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1726.