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Sublacustrine hydrothermal seeps and silicification of microbial bioherms in the Ediacaran Oued Dar’a caldera, Anti‐Atlas, Morocco



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Álvaro, J.J. and González Acebrón, Laura (2019) Sublacustrine hydrothermal seeps and silicification of microbial bioherms in the Ediacaran Oued Dar’a caldera, Anti‐Atlas, Morocco. Sedimentology, 66 (6). pp. 2048-2071. ISSN 0037-0746, ESSN: 1365-3091

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Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sed.12568


This paper presents a case study of the sublacustrine precipitation of hydrothermal silica ± TiO2 in the Ediacaran Mançour Group of the Saghro inlier, Anti‐Atlas, Morocco. Lacustrine carbonates containing stromatolitic mats and bioherms occur in ephemeral ponds developed within the Oued Da'ra caldera. Its syn‐eruptive infill consists of pyroclastites, ashflow tuffs, and subsidiary lava flows and sills, whereas inter‐eruptive deposition is mainly represented by slope‐related debris‐flow breccias and landslides, alluvial fans and fluvial channels. Carbonate production took place in a mosaic of differentially subsiding, fault‐bounded intra‐caldera blocks controlled by episodic collapse‐induced drowning, pyroclastic blanketing and migration of alluvial/fluvial environments. After microbial carbonate production, the carbonates recorded several early‐diagenetic processes, punctuated by polyphase fissuring (controlling secondary permeability) locally linked to hydrothermal influx. Three generations of carbonate cements are recognisable: (i) fibrous, botryoidal and blocky/drusy mosaics of calcite; (ii) idiotopic mosaics of dolomite caused by flushing of hypersaline Mg‐rich brines; and (iii) euhedral to drusy calcite via dedolomitization. The δ13C and δ18O values from carbonate cements broadly become successively isotopically lighter, as a result of meteoric and hydrothermal influence, and were probably overprinted by the Panafrican‐3 phase that affected the top of the Mançour Group. Two mechanisms of silicification are involved: (i) early‐diagenetic occlusion of interparticle pores at the sediment/water interface of pyroclastic substrates and reefal core and flanks; and (ii) hydrothermal precipitation of silica ± TiO2 lining fissures and vuggy porosity encased in the host rock. Silica conduits cross‐cutting lacustrine mats and bioherms exhibit high potential of preservation in collapsed volcanic calderas. Primary fluid inclusions of hydrothermal silica contain brine relics with NaCl/CaCl2 ratios of 2·1 to 4·4, representing minimum entrapment temperatures of about 142 to 204°C, and abiotic hydrocarbons (heavy alkanes) related to serpentinization of the volcanic and volcanosedimentary basement of the Oued Dar'a caldera.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Caldera, fluid inclusions, Gondwana, lacustrine microbial carbonate
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Stratigraphic geology
Sciences > Geology > Petrology
ID Code:57117
Deposited On:26 Sep 2019 11:12
Last Modified:01 Oct 2019 08:58

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