Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Some Basic Geology -- Bakken -- Claystone -- March 21, 2017

This is somewhat embarrassing. After ten years of blogging, I'm still learning about basic geology in the Bakken. My hunch is that I know 1% of what most roughnecks have forgotten. If that make sense.


This all comes about because of a recent question about "claystone." A reader mentioned that claystone was one of many names associated with mudstone and shale.

So, with that, let's see what google leads us to:

From Pitt.edu:
Mudstones and shales are made of silt- and clay-sized particles that are too small to see.
The only difference between mudstone and shale is that mudstones break into blocky pieces whereas shales break into thin chips with roughly parallel tops and bottoms. Both are made of ancient mud.
From the point of view of understanding the ancient conditions of sediment deposition, it is more useful to subdivide mud rocks into siltstone and claystone. We cannot see the difference between these rocks, but it turns out that siltstone feels gritty when nibbled or rubbed against a tooth whereas claystones feel smooth.
If you find a claystone, you know that it accumulated in a very quiet environment with almost still water.
Wiki, of course, goes into great depth (no pun intended).

And, it makes sense, a site called Geology.com would cover the topic, also.

DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America,
Bryan Sykes (author of The Seven Daughters of Eve),
c. 2012
DDS: 559.93 SYK 

Starting at page 36.

So, back to A, B, C, and D among Native Americans. 

A, C, and D: Siberian origin.

B: not of Siberian origin.

B is predominant in Polynesia: 189 217 247 261.

Taiwan: 189 217 and 189 217 216

Polynesians did not reach North America but they did manage to cross the entire Pacific Ocean, reaching South America, and returning with the sweet potato, a decidedly Andean crop. Polynesians did not take part in colonization of America except in Hawaii.

Although the magical Polynesian "motif" in not found in America, the ancestral sequences certainly are: 189 217 and even 189 217 216 are right there at the center of the cluster B  sequences of Native Americans.

But how did "B" arrive in America? A, C, and D are of Siberian origin, as noted above. The author conjectures that "B" may have made it to Siberia/Alaska, but did not stop there. Rather, they traveled along the coast, south to Central and South America. A, C, and D were stopped by mountains and glaciers on the North American land mass.

Chapter 4
The Mystery of Cluster X

So, to review: among the Native Americans, A, B, C, and D have closest matches in Asia; but A, C, and D trace back to Siberia; B back to Taiwan and China.

Some years after the discovery of A, B, C, and D, a fifth cluster was found among some American Indian tribes. Much of the alphabet had already been taken for other clusters of non-American Indian peoples around the world, so near the end of the alphabet, the "X" was chosen for this new cluster among Native Americans.

The catalyst was a study of the Ojibwa.  The Ojibwa are the third-largest Indian nation in America, surpassed in numbers only by the Navajo and the Cherokee. They live in the general area of the Great Lakes. Cluster X is highest among Ojibwa, but is also found among the Sioux, the Yakima (Washington State), and the Navajo. The genetic connection between Ojibwa and Navajo also mirrors their related languages and may be an echo of a southward migration of the Dine -- the name the Navajo give to themselves -- mentioned in their mythology. Cluster X did not find its way south of the Mexican border.

Where did cluster X come from? No traces in Siberia or Alaska; only a single example in China. But plenty of matches in Europe. Seems to trace back to one of the "seven daughters of Eve," Xenia. 

Dating: cluster X in America is 15,800 years.

Research took the author to Norris Farms in central Illinois. 

23 of 25 clusters fit the A, B, C, D clusters.

Two did not.

One: 189 270 -- at the heart of U5 (the clan of Ursula, another of the "seven daughters of Eve").

The other: core motif of X (189 223 278) plus two other mutations, 227 and 357. 

Research took the author to Windover, FL -- near NASA/Cape Canaveral; Windover is a very unusual site, discovered accidentally. 

Genetic studies of Windover -- highly variable and only one cluster that is anywhere near Native American cluster A. Reliability is in question. But one of them as the core cluster X 223 278, which if genuine, would put a lower limit of 8,000 years on the antiquity of the cluster in America. 

This puts a European basis for some Native Americans; caused a huge outcry when published. 

The research takes us to "Kennewick Man," Washington State, discovered in 1996. Anthropologist thought the skull looked "European" which caused a huge stink, again. 

Who owned the skull? Went to court; settled in 2005, but genetics still had not settled the question.

Kennewick Man: probably no DNA left to recover. 

With this the author moves into the Native American beliefs, legal questions, etc. and uses the Havasupai as a case study (page 58). To make a long story short, it's unlikely "we" will ever get any more genetic research from Native Americans. But the author does discuss the most fascinating connection between diabetes type 2 and the Pima Indians.


  1. Don't be so hard on yourself. As a former roughneck myself, and still in the oilfield, if you knew so little, why do I have a shortcut to your blog on my home screen and read it daily? You're cool, Bruce.

    1. Thank you. I appreciate the kind words. But I sort of just took it for granted that "shale" was "shale" and never thought about it. But the blog has taken me in many, many directions -- I've learned a lot (and forgotten a lot). That's one of the reasons why I keep blogging -- to help me remember.