Dolomitization by hypersaline reflux into dense groundwaters as revealed by vertical trends in strontium and oxygen isotopes: Upper Muschelkalk, Switzerland

Adams, Arthur; Diamond, Larryn William; Aschwanden, Lukas (2019). Dolomitization by hypersaline reflux into dense groundwaters as revealed by vertical trends in strontium and oxygen isotopes: Upper Muschelkalk, Switzerland. Sedimentology, 66(1), pp. 362-390. Blackwell Science 10.1111/sed.12530

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The Trigonodus Dolomit is the dolomitized portion of the homoclinal ramp sediments of the Middle Triassic Upper Muschelkalk in the SE Central European Basin. Various dolomitizing mechanisms, followed by recrystallization, have been previously invoked to explain the low δ18O, high 87Sr/86Sr, extensive spatial distribution and early nature of the replacive matrix dolomites. This study re-evaluates the origin, timing and characteristics of the dolomitizing fluids by examining petrographic and isotopic trends in the Trigonodus Dolomit at 11 boreholes in northern Switzerland. In each borehole the ca 30 m thick unit displays the same vertical trends with increasing depth: crystal size increase, change from anhedral to euhedral textures, UV-fluorescence decrease, δ18OVPDB decrease from −1‰ at the top to −6.7‰ at the base and an 87Sr/86Sr increase from 0.7080 at the top to 0.7117 at the base. Thus, dolomites at the top of the unit record isotopic values similar to Middle Triassic sea water (δ18OVSMOW = 0‰; 87Sr/86Sr = 0.70775) while dolomites at the base record values similar to meteoric groundwaters from the nearby Vindelician High (δ18OVSMOW = −4‰; 87Sr/86Sr = >0.712). According to water–rock interaction modelling, a single dolomitizing or recrystallizing fluid cannot have produced the observed isotopic trends. Instead, the combined isotopic, geochemical and petrographic data can be explained by dolomitization via seepage-reflux of hypersaline brines into dense, horizontally-advecting groundwaters that already had negative δ18O and high 87Sr/86Sr values. Evidence for the early groundwaters is found in meteoric calcite cements that preceded dolomitization and in fully recrystallized dolomites with isotopic characteristics identical to the groundwaters following matrix dolomitization. This study demonstrates that early groundwaters can play a decisive role in the formation and recrystallization of massive dolomites and that the isotopic and textural signatures of pre-existing groundwaters can be preserved during seepage-reflux dolomitization in low-angle carbonate ramps.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Adams, Arthur; Diamond, Larryn William and Aschwanden, Lukas

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

0037-0746

Publisher:

Blackwell Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Larryn William Diamond

Date Deposited:

19 Nov 2018 16:09

Last Modified:

16 Apr 2019 22:18

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/sed.12530

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.121205

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/121205

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