Deposition of Manganese and Iron Carbonates and Silicates in Liassic Marls of the Northern Limestone Alps (Kalkalpen)

  • Klaus Germann
Part of the International Union of Geological Sciences book series (2817, volume 3)


Considerable manganese occurrences in the Northern Limestone Alps are restricted to lower and middle Jurassic marls, red limestones and radiolarian cherts. In the red limestones and cherts only minor contents of manganese are concentrated as oxides, forming in the red limestones carbonate-rich manganese nodules, texturally and geochemically comparable to some Recent shallow marine accumulations.

By far the largest quantities of Jurassic manganese are contained in a horizon of thinly laminated upper Liassic marls and shales (“manganese shales”) dispersed over more than 250 km distance, from the Allgäu and Lechtal Alps to the Berchtesgaden and Salzburg regions.

Apart from some manganese oxides of a thin weathering crust (e. g. pyrolusite, todorokite) carbonates of the system CaCO3-MnCO3-FeCO3-MgCO3 (Ca-rhodochrosites, and oligonite), and the silicate braunite are the prevailing manganese minerals. They are supposed to be primary precipitates and rarely replacement products of calcitic skeletons. The manganese minerals are characteristically associated with sedimentary iron minerals showing the vertical sequence carbonate — silicate (chamosite) — sulfide, thus demonstrating a lithofacies sequence leading from poorly oxigenated sediments to anaerobic black shale deposits.

A Mn/Fe ratio close to 2 and elevated contents of Cu, Co (up to 0.04%) and Zn, besides the lack of oolitic fabrics mark the most significant differences between Alpine Jurassic ores and the normal types of sedimentary manganese and iron deposits.

Chemical composition and mineralogy (the occurrence of braunite is known from volcanogenic or metamorphic deposits only) make appear volcanogenic solutions with high contents of Mn and Fe to be the most probable source of manganese and iron in this type of mixed Mn-Fe-deposits. For the first time, in the Northern Limestone Alps volcanic activity during manganese deposition could be proved by layers of celadonite. Celadonite, confirmed by infrared spectroscopy is supposed to represent altered tuff material intercalated in the manganese carbonate ores.


Black Shale Manganese Nodule Manganese Mineral Manganese Deposit Manganese Carbonate 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Germann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Angewandte GeologieFreie Universität BerlinBerlin 33Germany

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