Warren D. Huff
- Professor of Geology
- Ph.D., University of Cincinnati
- Clay Mineralogy, K-Bentonite Stratigraphy, Paleovolcanology
- Office: Geology/Physics 614
- Phone: (513) 556-3731
- E-mail: Warren.Huff@uc.edu
Much of my research deals with the study of K-bentonites, which are the remains of explosively erupted volcanic ash layers. These layers are now altered largely to clay minerals although some original volcanic crystals remain. I study both types of minerals to learn about the nature of the source volcanoes, many of which are several hundreds of millions years old, as well as the natural processes by which the volcanic ash layers have been buried in the earth and altered to their present form. The following as a brief technical summary of these studies:
Ordovician K-bentonite beds in North America are present mainly in the Middle (Mohawkian) Series, but a few beds are known from older and younger Ordovician strata. In northwestern Europe Ordovician K-bentonites are widely distributed in Scandinavia, Poland, and the British Isles, and the Baltic States. The Deicke and Millbrig K-bentonites in North America and the so-called Big Bentonite in Baltoscandia are particularly thick and can be traced for several hundred kilometers. Based on biostratigraphic, geochemical, and petrographic data we have recently shown it is highly likely that the Millbrig and the Big Bentonite are distal remnants of the same ash bed. The recognition that the Ordovician K-bentonite can be traced from North America to Europe is of extraordinary interest and provides the first real opportunity to study lateral differentiation of the ash, the location of the source volcano, the volcano, the biological effects of giant Lower Paleozoic ash fall and, indirectly, the width of the Caradocian lapetus Ocean. More than 150 K-bentonite beds are also recorded from the Silurian successions in northwestern Europe. Of these, the best known occur in Great Britain, but those in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ukraine, and Estonia have also been subjected to several investigations. In contrast, less than 10 Silurian K-bentonites are known in North America, occurring mainly in the Great Lakes region and eastern Canada.
Magmatic discrimination diagrams show that the Ordovician and Silurian K-bentonites in both northwestern Europe and North America belong to a felsic calc-alkaline suite ranging from dacite to rhyolite and are characteristic of volcanism in a continental crust-based island arc setting along a destructive plate margin. Th-enrichment indicates that a highly evolved magmatic system gave rise to the ashes on both sides of lapetus. Consideration of the areal distribution pattern and volume of the most widespread beds indicates that they were formed during ultraplinian and co-ignimbrite explosive eruptions and that the volcanic sources were located along tectonically active margins of Iapetus during its closure.
An extraordinary sequence of Middle Ordovician K-bentonites in the Argentine Precordillera is unique in its abundance of individual beds, yet when compared with K-bentonite sequences of similar age elsewhere it provides no supporting evidence of a close association between the Precordillera and other Ordovician sedimentary basins at that time. The ash distribution pattern is more consistent with paleogeographic reconstructions which envision early Ordovician drifting of the Precordillera in fairly close proximity to one or more additional volcanic arcs and with eventual collision along the Andean margin of Gondwana during the mid-Ordovician Ocloyic event of the Famatinian orogeny.
The clay mineralogy of K-bentonite beds consists of random to regularly interstratified illite/smectite with varying amounts of chlorite, corrensite, and kaolinite. High resolution electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray fluorescence are being used to characterize the structure and composition of these clays and gain a greater understanding of clay diagenesis.
Some Recent Publications:
(Click here for complete vita)
- Huff, W.D., 2006, Volcanism and its Contribution to Mudrock Genesis:
Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences, V. 15, p. 111-122
- Su Wen-Bo, Li Zhi-ming, Shi Xiao-ying, Zhou Hong-rui, Huang
Si-ji, Liu Xiao-ming, Chen Xiao-yu, Zhang, Ji-en, Yang Hong-mei,
Jia Liu-jing, Huff, W.D., and Ettensohn, F.R., 2006, K-bentonites
and black shales from the Wufeng-Longmaxi formations (Early Paleozoic,
South China) and Xiamaling formation (Early Neoproterozoic, North
China) – implications
for tectonic processes during two important transitions: Earth
Science Frontiers, v. 13, No. 6, p. 82-95.
- Bertog, J., Huff, W.D.
and Martin, J.E., 2007, Geochemical and mineralogical recognition
of the bentonites in the lower Pierre Shale Group and their use in
regional stratigraphic correlation: In: J.E. Martin and D.C. Parris
(Eds.) The Geology and Paleontology of the Late Cretaceous Marine
Deposits of the Dakotas, Geological Society of America Special Paper
427, p. 23-50.
Wen-Bo, Li, Zhi-Ming, Ettensohn, F.R., Johnson, M.E., Huff, W.D.,
Wang, W., Ma, C., Li, L., Zhang, L., And Zhao, H-J., 2007, Distribution
of black shale in the Wufeng-Longmaxi formations (Ordovician-Silurian),
South China:Major controlling factors and implications: Earth Science-Journal
of China University of Geosciences, v. 32(6), p. 819-827 (in Chinese
with English abstract).
- Su Wen-bo, Li Zhi-ming, Frank R. Ettensohn,
Markes E. Johnson, Warren D. Huff, Wang Wei, Ma Chao, Li Lu, Zhang
Lei, and Zhao Hui-jing, 2007, Tectonic and eustatic control on the
distribution of black-shale source beds in the Wufeng and Longmaxi
formations (Ordovician-Silurian), South China: Frontier of Earth
Science in China, v. 1(4), p. 470-481.
- Goldman, D.,
Leslie, S.A., Nõlvak, J., Young, S., Bergström,
S.M. and Huff, W.D., 2007, The Global Stratotype Section and Point
(GSSP) for the base of the Katian Stage of the Upper Ordovician
Series at Black Knob Ridge, Southeastern Oklahoma, USA: Episodes,
v. 30(4), p. 258-270.
- Histon, K., Klein,
P., Schönlaub, H.P.,
and Huff, W.D., 2007, Lower Palaeozoic K-Bentonites from the Carnic
Alps, Austria: Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 100, p. 26-42.
- Huff, W.D., 2008, Ordovician K-bentonites: Issues in interpreting
and correlating ancient tephras: Quaternary International, v. 178,
S. M., Toprak, F. Ö., Huff, W. D. and Mundil, R., 2008, Implications of a new,
biostratigraphically well-controlled radio-isotopic age for the lower Telychian
Stage of the Llandovery Series (Lower Silurian, Sweden): Episodes, v. 31 (3),
Rompicharla, K., Novita, D.I., Chen, P.,
Boolchand, P., Micoulaut, M. and Huff, W., 2008, Abrupt boundaries of
intermediate phases and space filling in oxide glasses: Journal of Physics:
Condensed Matter, v. 20, p. 1-5.
Shihong Zhang, Huff W.D., Huaikun Li, Ettensohn F.R., Xiaoyu Chen, Hongmei
Yang, Yigui Han, Biao Song, Santosh M.,
U–Pb ages of K-bentonite beds
in the Xiamaling Formation: Implications for revised subdivision
of the Meso- to Neoproterozoic history of the North China Craton: Gondwana
Research, v. 14, p. 543–553.
S.A., Bergström, S.M. and Huff, W.D.,
2008, Ordovician K-bentonites discovered in Oklahoma: Oklahoma
Geology Notes, v. 68, no. 1 & 2, p. 4-14.
Wenbo, Huff, Warren D., Ettensohn, Frank R., Liu, Xiaoming,
Zhang, Ji’en, Li, Zhiming,
2009, K-bentonite, black-shale and flysch successions at the
Ordovician-Silurian transition, South China: Possible sedimentary responses to
the accretion of Cathaysia to the Yangtze Block and its implications for the
evolution of Gondwana: Gondwana Research, v. 15, p. 111-130.
Potter, Paul E. Maynard, J. Barry
and Huff, Warren D., 2009, Steps in the history
of mudstone investigations –
A timeline, 1556- through 2007: Earth Sciences History, v. 28,
no. 1, p. 84-107.
F.O. and Huff, W.D., 2009, Quartz crystal size distribution of
the Ordovician Millbrig K-bentonite: Journal of Volcanology and
Geothermal Research, v. 184, p. 285-291.
- Christidis, G.E. and Huff, W.D., 2009, Geological aspects
and genesis of bentonites: Elements, v. 5, p. 93-98.
Środoń, J., Clauer,
N., Huff, W., Dudek, T. and Banaś,
M., 2009, K-Ar
dating of the Lower Palaeozoic K-bentonites
from the Baltic Basin and the Baltic
Shield: implications for the role of temperature and time in the illitization of smectite, Clay Minerals, v. 44, p. 361–387.
- Huff, W.D., Bergström, S.M. and Kolata, D.R., 2010, Ordovician
explosive volcanism: In: Finney, S.C. and Berry, W. (Eds.) Earth system during the Ordovician Period: Geological
Society of America Special Paper 466, p. 13-28.
- Bergström, S.M., Schmitz, B., Saltzman, M.R.,
and Huff, W.D., 2010, The Upper Ordovician Guttenberg d13C
excursion (GICE) in North America and Baltoscandia: Occurrence,
chronostratigraphic significance and paleoenvironmental relationships: In: Finney, S.C. and Berry, W. (Eds.) Earth system during the Ordovician Period: Geological
Society of America Special Paper 466, p. 37-67.
- Su, Wenbo, Li, Huaikun, Huff, W.D., Ettensohn, F.R., Zhang, Shihong,
Zhou, Hongying & Wan, YuSheng,
2010, SHRIMP U-Pb dating for a K-bentonite bed in the Tieling Formation,
North China, Chinese Science Bulletin, v. 55 No.29, p. 3312–3323
- Dronov, A.V., Huff, W.D., Kanygin, A.V. and Gonta, T.V., 2011, K-Bentonites in the Upper Ordovician of the Siberian Platform: In: J.C. Gutiérrez-Marco, I. Rábano and D. García-Bellido (eds.), Ordovician of the World, Cuadernos del Museo Geominero, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España, Madrid, v. 14, p. 135-141.
- Haynes, J.T., Huff, W.D. and Melson, W.G., 2011, Major Ordovician Tephras Generated By Caldera-Forming Explosive Volcanism On Continental Crust: Evidence From Biotite Compositions: In: J.C. Gutiérrez-Marco, I. Rábano and D. García-Bellido (eds.), Ordovician of the World, Cuadernos del Museo Geominero, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España, Madrid, v. 14, p. 229-235
- Tankersley K.B., Scarborough, V.L., Dunning, N., Huff, W., Maynard, B. and Gerke, T.L., 2011, Evidence for volcanic ash fall in the Maya Lowlands from a reservoir at Tikal, Guatemala: Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 38, p. 2925-2938.
- Lehnert, O., Meinhold, G., Bergström, S.M., Calner, M., Ebbestad, J., Egenhoff, S., Frisk, Å., Hannah, J.L., Högström, A., Huff, W.D., Juhlin C., Maletz J., Stein H.J., Sturkell E. and Vandenbroucke, T.A., 2012, New Ordovician-Silurian Drill Cores From The Siljan Impact Structure In Central Sweden – An Integral Part Of The Swedish Deep Drilling Program, GFF, vol. 134, pp. 87–98.
- Huff, W.D. and Owen, L.A., 2012, Volcanic landforms and hazards. In: Shroder, J. (Editor in Chief), Owen, L.A. (Ed.), Treatise on Geomorphology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, vol. 5.
- Williams, L.B., Srodon, J., Huff, W. D., Clauer, N. and Hervig, R.L., 2013, Light element distributions (N, B, Li) in Baltic Basin bentonites record organic sources: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta v. 120 p. 582–599