Botryoidal Aragonite and its Diagenesis

  1. Maurice E. Tucker2 and
  2. Robin G. C. Bathurst3
  1. Djafar M. Aissaoui

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304510.ch11

Carbonate Diagenesis

Carbonate Diagenesis

How to Cite

Aissaoui, D. M. (1990) Botryoidal Aragonite and its Diagenesis, in Carbonate Diagenesis (eds M. E. Tucker and R. G. C. Bathurst), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304510.ch11

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Geological Sciences, University of Durham, UK

  2. 3

    Derwen Deg Fawr, Llanfair DC, Ruthin, Clwyd, North Wales, UK

Author Information

  1. C.N.R.S. (ERA 765), Laboratoire de Pétrologie Sédimentaire et de Paléontologie, Université de Paris-Sud, Bâtiment 504, 91405 Orsay, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 21 AUG 1990

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632029389

Online ISBN: 9781444304510



  • Botryoidal aragonite and its diagenesis;
  • aragonite to calcite transformation, dissolution-reprecipitation process;
  • Egyptian Red Sea coast, comprising succession of marine terraces;
  • botryoidal aragonite, spectacular growth-form occurring as mamelons;
  • dolomitization of Miocene botryoidal aragonite from Red Sea, requiring calcite intermediate stage


Botryoidal aragonite is a spectacular growth-form occurring as mamelons, up to 100mm in diameter. Three examples of this particular carbonate cement have been discovered in two distinct areas: in New Caledonia, small-scale mamelons have been recognized within Pleistocene reefal terraces at Ouvea, an Island of the Loyalty archipelago, and in the Red Sea, large-scale mamelons of botryoidal aragonite exist within Pleistocene reefal terraces along the Um Gheig region of the Egyptian Coast. In addition, a similar botryoidal cement, partly dolomitized but exhibiting aragonite relics, occurs within a Miocene reef in the same region.

Mamelons of botryoidal aragonite are isolated and/or coalescent but grow only on fixed substrates. They occur within cavities of varied origin. Their fabrics are characterized by fans of elongate euhedral crystals of aragonite fibres. Botryoidal aragonite can be preceded or followed by other types of cements or internal sediment.

Despite similar mineralogy, petrography and ultrastructure, there are differences between the fabrics of the Pleistocene botryoids from the Red Sea and Ouvea and the Miocene botryoids from the Red Sea. The former are of submarine origin as confirmed by the strontium content (8500–10,500 ppm) and isotopic composition (δ18O between −0·10 and +0·19‰ PDB). The latter, related to a Miocene karst, are rich in strontium (average 13,600 ppm), and have an isotopic composition (average δ18O −10·50% PDB) indicative of non-marine precipitation.

Diagenesis of these botryoidal aragonites consists of slight dissolution for Pleistocene botryoids and mineralogical transformation for the Miocene botryoids. The latter exhibit the diagenetic sequence aragonite[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]calcite[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]dolomite. The aragonite to calcite transformation is a dissolution-reprecipitation process, the void distribution and size influencing the distribution and the size of the replacement calcite crystals.