Landscape Settings and Mineralogy of Some Geophagic Clay Occurrences in South Africa

  • Georges-I. Ekosse
  • Kirill V. Chistyakov
  • Andrei B. Rozanov
  • Nadezhda N. Bashkirova
  • Stefan Dultz
  • Yury S. Polekhovsky
  • Sofia N. LessovaiaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Earth System Sciences book series (LNESS)


In the regions of Asia and Africa geophagic clays are traditionally used by population based on historical and traditional motivations including ethno-medical ones. The aim of the present research was to reveal the general common properties of some geophagic clay occurrences based on their mineral composition and landscapes specificity, in which they were sampled. In addition to assess the potential source of the minerals in geoghagic clays, the mineral association of the hard rocks, located in geophagic loose material, was studied too. Mineralogy of the samples was investigated using X-ray diffractometry, FTIR spectroscopy, and optical microscopy. The studied samples were collected in two provinces of South Africa: Free State and Limpopo. It was shown that location of geophagic materials is spread widely in the studied provinces. Using material as geophagic is more historically and traditionally determined than by the type or specificity of a landscape, which cannot be characterized by common features. Whereas it was revealed that despite the differences in location and rock geneses, the most common mineral in the fine size fraction of the studied geophagic samples is smectite—a fine-sized clay mineral with high specific surface area being able to play a role as adsorbent.


Geophagic clays Clay mineralogy Smectite Cementing agents 



This study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (14-05-93959) and NRF UID 92199 project grants and St-Petersburg State University (18.42.1426.2015). XRD and IR studies were carried out in the X-ray Diffraction Centre of St. Petersburg State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georges-I. Ekosse
    • 1
  • Kirill V. Chistyakov
    • 2
  • Andrei B. Rozanov
    • 3
  • Nadezhda N. Bashkirova
    • 4
  • Stefan Dultz
    • 5
  • Yury S. Polekhovsky
    • 2
  • Sofia N. Lessovaia
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.University of VendaThohoyandouSouth Africa
  2. 2.Institute of Earth SciencesSaint Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Department of Soil ScienceStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  4. 4.Higher School of State AuditMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Institute of Soil ScienceLeibniz Universität HannoverHannoverGermany

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