Eberl, Dennis D. U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado.
- Origin and occurrence
- Properties and uses
- Additional Readings
A term used to refer to the finest-grain particles in a sediment, soil, or rock. According to the Wentworth scale (see table), clay is finer than silt, characterized by a grain size of less than approximately 4 micrometers. However, the term clay can also refer to a rock or a deposit containing a large component of clay-size material. Thus clay can be composed of any inorganic materials, such as clay minerals, allophane, quartz, feldspar, zeolites, and iron hydroxides, that possess a sufficiently fine grain size. Most clays, however, are composed primarily of clay minerals. See also: Clay minerals; Feldspar; Quartz; Zeolite
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