Swiss Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 111, Issue 3, pp 383–398 | Cite as

Multi-proxy facies analysis of the Opalinus Clay and depositional implications (Mont Terri rock laboratory, Switzerland)

  • Bruno LauperEmail author
  • David Jaeggi
  • Gaudenz Deplazes
  • Anneleen Foubert


Located in NW Switzerland, the Mont Terri rock laboratory is a research facility primarily investigating the Opalinus Clay as potential host rock for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste. In the Mont Terri area, this Jurassic shale formation is characterized by three distinctive lithofacies: a shaly facies, a carbonate-rich sandy facies and a sandy facies. However, the lithological variability at dm- to cm-scale is not yet fully understood and a detailed lithofacies characterization is currently lacking. Within the present study, petrographic descriptions at micro- and macro-scale, geophysical core logging (P-wave velocity and gamma-ray density), geochemical core logging (X-ray fluorescence) and organic matter quantification (Rock-Eval pyrolysis) were combined on a 27.6 m long Opalinus Clay drillcore comprising the three major lithofacies. The high-resolution investigation of the core resulted into a refinement of the three-fold lithofacies classification, and revealed high intra-facies heterogeneity. Five subfacies were defined and linked to distinctive depositional regimes. The studied succession is interpreted as a shallowing-upward trend within a storm-wave-dominated epicontinental sea characterized by relative shallow water depths.


Mudstones Early-Middle Jurassic Sedimentary petrography Multi-sensor core logger XRF core scanner Rock-Eval pyrolysis 



The authors thank Paul Bossart (Swisstopo) and André Strasser (University of Fribourg) for having launched the present project. Flavio Anselmetti and Hendrik Vogel (University of Bern) are sincerely acknowledged for their help with MSCL and XRF core logging, respectively, as well as Thierry Adatte (University of Lausanne) for providing Rock-Eval measurements. The technical teams of the University of Fribourg and the Mont Terri Project are warmly thanked for their technical and logistic support. Jens Becker (Nagra), the reviewers Andreas Wetzel (University of Basel), Bernhard Hostettler and Ursula Menkveld-Gfeller (Natural History Museum Bern), and the editor Silvia Spezzaferri (University of Fribourg) are thanked for their helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Finally, the partners involved in the SO-Experiment of the Mont Terri Project (Swisstopo and BGR) and the University of Fribourg are acknowledged for their financial contribution.


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Copyright information

© Swiss Geological Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Lauper
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Jaeggi
    • 2
  • Gaudenz Deplazes
    • 3
  • Anneleen Foubert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland
  2. 2.Federal Office of Topography swisstopoWabernSwitzerland
  3. 3.National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra)WettingenSwitzerland

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