Geotechnical and Mineralogical Appraisal of Shale and Claystone Facies of the Maastrichtian Patti Formation, Bida Basin, Nigeria

Olusola J Ojo, Oladele A Omotoso, Adams Agbelekale, Suraju A Adepoju, Ayodeji Awe, Yemisi C Ajisafe


The need for construction materials in the rapidly developing areas around Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria cannot be overemphasized and this study was undertaken in line with this need. The study area, located about 60km from Abuja, is underlain predominantly by shales and claystones of the Patti Formation. These argillaceous rocks may offer locally sourced construction material if they meet certain specifications, however to date, there has not been a geotechnical study of these rocks. The geotechnical properties and the mineralogy of the shale and claystone were investigated to evaluate their suitability for civil engineering works. Particle size distribution, Atterberg  limits and X-ray diffraction analyses were performed on fifteen shale and claystone samples collected  from  three localities (along an approximately 25km transect) for determination of their geotechnical properties and mineralogical composition. Mineralogical data obtained show the samples are dominated by kaolinite with minor amount of montmorillonite. Quartz and minor amounts of microcline, rutile and anatase dominate the non-clay mineral fraction. Particle size data indicate high proportion of fines and they are well graded. The Atterberg limits indicate that the samples have average values of liquid limit of 51%, plastic limit of 23%, plasticity index of 29% and shrinkage limit of 13%. These indicate they are of medium compressibility, low to medium shrink/swell potential, marginal expansive rating and low permeability. High bulk specific gravity (average of 2.61) suggests the samples are inorganic and this is supported by the consistency limits values. Generally, the results indicate the shale and claystone can be useful as stabilizing materials in civil engineering works. In addition, the marginally expansive nature of the shale and claystone, low permeability and intermediate to high plasticity may make them suitable as road subgrade.

Keywords— activity, Bida Basin, Gerinya, Kaolinite, plasticity, Patti Formation

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