MECC20/22 – Session proposals

1. Clays and clay minerals in industry – Albert Gilg, Marek Osacký (conveners)

This session will bridge the geology of economic clays and clay minerals and their diverse usage in industry. The session will cover conventional industrial minerals, such as kaolin, bentonite, vermiculite, sepiolite, palygorskite, ceramic as well as heavy clays, but will also include new or poorly-known natural fine-grained resources, such as halloysite, hectorite or allophane. A focus will be given on the geological processes that lead to economic deposits or specific properties of such materials, new synthetic clays and also to new applications of well-known clays in industry.

2. Clay materials for advanced applications – Gražyna Simha Martynková (convener)

This section is focused on various applications of clay materials in material research. All contributions related to using of clay minerals are welcome. Various types of clays are used in different branches of chemical, food, automotive, energy and plastic industry or in medicine and agriculture. Wide range of application is focused to materials, composites or nanomaterials where clays are important as filler due to their unique properties. Modification and alteration of natural clay minerals is tailored for individual purpose of application.

3. Environmental applications of clays – Barbora Doušová (convener)

Clays belong to feasible and challenging materials due to favourable physico-chemical and surface properties, and environmental and economical reasons. They are intensively used in many industrial applications, mostly in the manufacturing of high-quality ceramics, paper production, etc. Thanks to suitable properties, clays become more and more popular in various environmental applications, such as barriers of radioactive wastes, inflammable protectants or fillers to protective nanocomposite materials. Moreover, they also offer perspective use in the environmental protection as selective adsorbents of toxic ions from contaminated water and water retention additives in soils.

4. Clays in geotechnics – Matthias Schellhorn, Ralf Diedel (conveners)

This session will cover all applications of clays and clay minerals in geotechnics like tunneling, soil improvement, cut off walls, geosynthetic clay liners, grouts and sealants for drilling industry as well as closure structures for underground deposits and related applications. Especially, important clay properties for geotechnical applications like rheological aspects, adsorption / desorption processes, swelling / shrinkage processes and interaction with polymers should be pointed out. Although the usage of bentonite or bentonite like clays is very well established in geotechnics there are many opportunities for application of different special clays as well. Latest developments in new technologies for environment protection are of highest interest.

5. Clays and clay minerals in petroleum systems – Peter Uhlík, Sylwia Kowalska, Katarzyna Górniak (conveners)

This session covers all topics related to the physical and chemical interactions of fluids with clay minerals in reservoirs, caprocks and source rocks of hydrocarbons or formations for underground gas storage (CO2, H2 and natural gas). Studies related to the interaction of fluid-organic matter-clay in wastes after the extraction, processing or use of hydrocarbons and their products are also more than appropriate. Experimental, theoretical, and analytical studies of processes including but not limited to clay hydration/dehydration, fluid-organic-clay interactions, sorptive gas uptake, and wettability of clay minerals in contact with gases or fluids at ambient and/or reservoir conditions are welcome. Submissions covering the role of clays in the petrophysical and geomechanical behavior of rocks are also strongly encouraged.

6. Clays as palaeoclimate and weathering proxies – Béla Raucsik (convener)

This session is dedicated to clay minerals considered as widely used tracers of geological processes in sedimentary basins, including recent and ancient occurrences as well. Expected contributions in this session imply case studies about the clay minerals in different processes such as:

  • chemical transfer between Earth interfaces: ocean-lithosphere, freshwater-lithosphere interactions;
  • authigenesis involving marine and continental basins;
  • clay minerals as tools to infer palaeoclimatic and palaeo-environmental changes, interpretation of the occurrence of clay minerals in the sedimentary sequences;
  • clay minerals in provenance studies;
  • methodologic and theoretic problems related to application of clay minerals in weathering and palaeoclimate reconstruction.

7. Burial diagenesis and very low grade metamorphism – Branimir Šegvić, Arkadiusz Derkowski (conveners)

 Sedimentary rocks host major economic resources (oil, gas, coal, hydrothermal ore deposits, geothermal energy) and are therefore subject of profound interest. Phyllosilicates, often a major component in these rocks, may be useful indicators of the broad range of geological processes, from the weathering, through the diagenesis and low-grade metamorphism to hydrothermal alterations. The session will focus on phase alterations, clay mineral transformations (e.g. illitization, chloritization), fluid-rock interaction, and assessment of the transfer of mass and energy, which are effectively utilized to understand the changes in physico-chemical conditions in various geological environments. Particular focus is put on sedimentary basins where the distribution and accessibility of economic resources may be controlled by those changes. All contributions using common techniques as well as introducing the modified or new methods to identify, characterize, and quantify the burial diagenesis and very low grade metamorphism are welcome.

8. Clays and clay-sized minerals in soils and palaeosols – Goran Durn (convener)

The importance of clay mineralogy (clays and clay-sized minerals) for environmental/paleoenvironmental interpretations of soils/palaeosols is well recognized.  Clay mineralogy of soils/palaeosols can provide important data about weathering and climate control. Both current climate changes (e.g. permafrost thawing) and past climate changes (e.g. greenhouse Earth and the icehouse Earth) has a significant impact on soil/palaeosol biogeochemical cycles and soil/palaeosol mineralogy.  Paleoclimate signals in palaeosols can also be complicated by diagenetic overprinting. We therefore welcome presentations about clays and clay-sized minerals in soils/palaeosols as indicators of changes in climate/palaeoclimate as well as multidisciplinary studies which investigate weathering processes/erosion and soil/palaeosol formation.

9. Precambrian clays – Jan Środoń (convener)

Surface environments of the Precambrian are considered different from the Phanerozoic for the lack of multicellular organisms and different composition of atmosphere, with the abundant CO2 and low oxygen. Are clay minerals registering this difference? The answer is complicated by the scarcity of available rock record: most Precambrian rocks have been strongly altered after deposition. Exceptions from this rule exist, and one of them is the East European Craton, where clastic sediments and volcanics of the Volyn Large Igneous Province are available in outcrops and boreholes at shallow depth. This session welcomes all kinds of contributions concerning the Precambrian clays.

10. Chemistry and structure of clays – Miroslav Pospíšil (convener)

Detail knowledge of clay structure is crucial for determination of its properties. The structural variability of clay minerals cause different behaviour and influence chemistry and interactions with other species. To precise solving of clay structures the combination of various experimental and theoretical methods are used like chemical analysis, X – ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetry, atomistic simulations, ab initio calculations etc. Results allow us to describe the complex clay structure and chemistry behaviour of investigated clays

11. Processes on clay mineral surfaces – Helge Stanjek (convener)

Due to their high surface to volume ratio the surfaces of clay minerals exert major control in many geological and industrial settings. This session deals with all kind of surface-related processes at solid/liquid or solid/gas interfaces, which may be used either for characterizing the surfaces themselve (e.g., sorption and mobility of surficial ions) or may be exploited in terms of characterizing porous media (e.g., by gas adsorption experiments). To bridge the field of clay surfaces towards the realm of geophysics, contributions about the impact of charged surfaces on fluid transport and electrokinetic phenomena in general are welcome, too.

12. Layered double hydroxides (anionic clays) and related materials – František Kovanda (convener) 

The session covers synthesis, structure characterization, properties, and application of layered double hydroxides and related compounds (e.g., layered single hydroxides and layered oxides). These 2-D materials with varied chemical composition and physical chemical properties can be used in many fields such as heterogeneous catalysis, environmental protection, medical applications, etc. Intercalation of various species into LDH host structures, as well as modelling of host-guest interactions are also included. In particular, contributions focused on obtaining and application of LDH-based organic-inorganic hybrids, nanocomposites, and functional materials are welcome.

13. Methods of characterizing and quantifying clay minerals – Georg Grathoff (convener) 

Our current knowledge of clay minerals and related processes are strongly dependent on the advances made in analytical methods. Moore and Reynolds defined clay minerals as materials that are abundant in the clay size fraction (<2µm). In order to understand minerals in the clay size fraction we need to characterize and quantify them.  Both characterization and quantification are difficult tasks and at time give apparent different results. Why do XRD and TEM sometimes give different results in terms of illite crystal-domain sizes? Why is it so difficult to determine that exact CEC for smectites? If you have a new method or adapted a method for characterization or quantification of clay minerals, please submit your abstract to this session. This session focuses on methods, rather than processes or specific clay minerals.

14. Teaching clay sciences – Franz Ottner, Czesław August (conveners)

Teaching, learning, and studying are the terms that determine the way of implementing knowledge in the field of clay science. This applies to both clay mineral structures and the non-clay nanoparticles, their physicochemical features, methods of their recognition and the geological environment of their formation, occurrence and transformation. In the 21st century, the interest in clay minerals, especially in medicine, catalysis and environmental protection, increased significantly, and this made it necessary to transfer knowledge at a high level. This thematic session should provide information on the methods of teaching clay minerals currently used in global research and teaching centers, especially in the academic centers of the V4 countries. Presentations will be followed by a round table discussion focused on proposing a common educational program based on the state of the art in clay sciences combined with a modern didactic approach. The inventory  on training needs will give impetus to educators to provide the courses and qualifications needed to attract young scientists.

15. General session