Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 179–196 | Cite as

Chemical diagenesis and dolomitization of paleozoic high-Mg calcite crinoids

  • Uwe Brand


Geochemical analyses suggest that during early diagenesis, shortly after death and disarticulation of the organism, the stroma of crinoids is rapidly filled by cement. Skeletal port space is only preserved in specimens which were rapidly buried and sealed in either asphalt-impregnated or shale formations. Cement-filling of the stroma and subsequent alteration of the skeletal high-Mg calcite to diagenetic low-Mg calcite generally obliterates original microstructures and mineralogy. These changes are accompanied by redistribution of trace elements and stable isotopes, and lead to increases for δ13C, Mn and Fe by factors of 7 to 140. At the same time Mg, Sr, Na, δ18O and in some instances δ13C decrease by factors ranging from 26 to 1.5. No specific trends were detected for Al, Cu, Ni and Zn. Multiple and discontinuous chemical trends of the sample populations argue for the ‘stepwise’ alteration of originally biogenic high-Mg calcite.

Diagenetic microenvironments for the studied crinoids span the whole spectrum of water types as well as reaction processes/rates. Specimens from the Breathitt and Brush Creek most likely altered in the presence of meteoric water through diffusion-controlled reaction processes. On the other end of the spectrum are the specimens from the Burlington and Banff Formations which probably altered in diagenetic systems dominated by marine water with minor input of meteoric water via fluidcontrolled reaction processes. Mixed-water and reaction process(es) account for the alteration of the crinoids from the Monte Cristo Formation of southern Nevada. Specimens from other units fall in between the fluid- to diffusion controlled to dominated reactions in the presence of marine to meteoric dominated to controlled waters.

Dolomitization of the diagenetically-stabilized web crinoids from the Irondequoit and Douro Formations probably proceeded in fluid-controlled systems in the presence of mixed water. The postulated KsrD of about 0.02 is similar to the value based on high temperature experiments and thus supports the postulated diagenetic microenvironment. The Δ18O value determined for the diagenetic low-Mg calcite-dolomite transformation is +2.5%. further supporting the postulated physicochemical parameters for dolomitizing fluid(s). Formation of ferroan dolomite depends on superjacent shale units and the redox condition of the dolomitizing fluid(s).


Calcite Dolomite Diagenesis Meteoric Water Dolomitization 
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© Springer 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uwe Brand
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesBrock UniversitySt. CatherinesCanada
  2. 2.McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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