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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Vingt siècles d’exploitation des argiles plastiques d’Andenne (Belgique) : du gisement au musée de la céramique.

Eric Goemaere, Pierre-Yves Declercq and Yves Quinif (2012)

Vingt siècles d’exploitation des argiles plastiques d’Andenne (Belgique) : du gisement au musée de la céramique.

Annales de la Société Géologique du Nord, 19(2):87-98.

Arranged in strings, the plastic clay deposits from Andenne are fillings of cryptokarsts of white and colored clays associated with three layers of Dinantian Frasnian limestone oriented EW. Sands, brown coal and Tertiary (Neogene) clays have accumulated according to thekarstic dissolution forming a pocket of up to 100m deep. The sulphuric acid stemming from the oxidation of sulphides of brown coals is the main responsible for the formation of kaolinitic clays at the expense of clay minerals and the feldspathic sands. The circulation of water induced the leaching of the iron and their accumulation in certain horizons. White clays rich in alumina and of low iron and alkali content were the most looked for their refractory properties. Exploitedat first on surface then in subterranean galleries, the extraction reached its maximal development around the 19 and 20th centuries to stop definitively in 1970. The clay and the white sand were used in the industries of fire: glassware, crystal, metallurgy... and fed the pottery, brick, tile, earthenware factory, porcelain factories, pipe factory and the industrial refractories. The white clay first and then the final products have been exported since the Middle Ages in Holland, Germany and France, contributing to the international reputation of the clays from Andenne. Depressions generated by the subsidence as a consequence of the underground extractions form a string of pools and ponds, sources of biodiversity. Finally, the Ceramics Museum preserves the traces of this remarkable geological, mining, industrial and artistic with its outstanding collections of pottery, porcelain and pipes. Living museum holder of memory, it provides educational and cultural functions from its exhibitions.
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