Sulphate–borate relations in an evaporitic lacustrine environment: the Sultançayir Gypsum (Miocene, western Anatolia)

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Abstract

Calcium-borates, mainly pandermite (priceite) and howlite, but also bakerite and colemanite, are intercalated within the Sultançayir Gypsum (Miocene, Sultançayir Basin, western Anatolia). This lacustrine unit, represented by secondary gypsum in outcrop, is characterized by: (1) a clear facies distribution of depocentral laminated lithofacies and debris-flow deposits, a wide marginal zone of sabkha deposits, and at least one selenitic shoal located toward the basin margin; (2) evaporitic cycles displaying a shallowing-upward trend; and (3) a diagenetic evolution of primary gypsum to (burial) anhydrite followed by its final re-hydration. The calcium borates precipitated only in the depocentre of the lake and were partly affected by synsedimentary reworking, indicating that they formed during very early diagenesis. The lithofacies, which are made up of a host gypsum (finely laminated) and borates (nodules, irregular masses and discontinuous bands; also fine laminations), indicate that the borates grew interstitially because of the inflow and mixing of borate-rich solutions with basinal brines. Borate growth displaced and replaced primary gypsum beneath a relatively deep depositional floor. Borate formation as free precipitates was much less common. The anhydritization of primary gypsum took place during early to late diagenesis (burial <250 m deep). This process also resulted in partial replacement of pandermite and accompanying borates (bakerite and howlite) as well as other early diagenetic minerals (celestite) by anhydrite. Final exhumation resulted in the replacement of anhydrite by secondary gypsum, and in the partial transformation of pandermite and howlite into secondary calcite.

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