White brick manufacture utilizing Kline Mountain, New Mexico clay.

Iskender Isik, The University of Texas at El Paso


The kaolinized tuff of the Kline Mountain area lies on the eastern margin of the Mogollon Plateau volcano-tectonic province, a major mid-Tertiary volcanic center. The dominant structural style found in the study area is high-angle normal faulting. The stratigraphy in the Kline Mountain clay deposit area consists of mid-Tertiary bimodal volcanic and volcanoclastic deposits that consist of basaltic andesite lavas, high-silica rhyolite lavas, and pyroclastic material. The kaolin deposit occurs as a result of hydrothermal alteration within the advanced argillic zone of the tuff of Kline Mountain. Relative to the Kline Mountain intrusive contact, the more distally located kaolinitic clay shows an inverse relationship between SiO$\sb2$ and Al$\sb2$O$\sb3$.

Based on the chemical analyses of surface localities and one drill core, the mineral 2 compositions of each sample were calculated. Within the kaolinization zone, the kaolinite proportion is between 30.97% and 58.20% by weight. However, this percentage drops drastically to 5.27%, and silica increases to 72.63% in the basal breccia zone, indicating the limit of economically viable kaolin deposits at 158 ft (48 m) depth. There is an inverse relationship between kaolinite percentage and proximity to the intrusion. Conversely, there is a proportional relationship between alunite content and the proximity of the intrusion.

According to SEM photomicrographs of three outcrop samples studied, four kaolinite textures are recognizable as follows: columnar covered by very fine silica silcretes, well-crystallized, relatively poorly crystallized, and stacks. Particle-size analyses show that the shallowest drill core sample has the highest percentage of clay-size particles.

There is a proportional linear relation between compressive strength and increasing firing temperature. The fired brick specimens also demonstrated excellent white color properties.

Water absorption is the only physical property determined to be high for the specimens. Water absorption is determined to be lowest in experimental mixtures that contain kaolin + #3 clay + nepheline syenite and white silica, which fire at lower temperatures than other mixtures, Thus, this mixture appears to be not only favorable for lowering the water absorption but also for providing highest compressive strength at low temperature. By using these clay mixtures followed by extrusion with vacuum, water absorption should be reduced in the fired brick to the required limit and possibly lower than the required limit.

Consequently, these experiments have determined that the experimental brick specimens made with the Kline Mountain kaolin have the plasticity, green strength, workability and extrudability properties needed for utilization by the brick industry without any defects as a result of firing and chemical composition.

On the basis of the NPV and DCFROI, exploiting the Kline Mountain clay and manufacturing white brick at the American Eagle Brick Company plant in El Paso is found to be economically viable under the projected conditions. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Isik, Iskender, "White brick manufacture utilizing Kline Mountain, New Mexico clay." (1993). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI9415226.