Abiogenic silica layers within a fluvio-lacustrine succession, Bolzano Volcanic Complex, northern Italy: a Permian analogue for Magadi-type cherts?



Thin layers of chert occur within a fluvio-lacustrine succession sandwiched between acidic volcanic rocks of the Lower Permian Bolzano Volcanic Complex in northern Italy. These cherts are interpreted as analogues to Magadi-type abiogenic chert known from modern volcanic lake settings. Soft-sediment deformation features, shrinkage cracks, and well-preserved palynomorphs document very early diagenetic silica precipitation, volume loss by dehydration, and consolidation prior to mechanical compaction of the sediment. Transformation to quartz and concomitant (re)crystallization resulted in a variety of silica textures, dominated by microflamboyant quartz. The oxygen isotopic composition of chert samples ranges from +25·4 to +29·0‰ and is negatively correlated with crystal size and ordering.