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Facies analysis of the Trypali carbonate unit (Upper Triassic) in central-western Crete (Greece): an evaporite formation transformed into solution-collapse breccias



The Trypali carbonate unit (Upper Triassic), which crops out mainly in central-western Crete, occurs between the parautochthonous series (Plattenkalk or Talea Ori-Ida series, e.g. metamorphic Ionian series) and the Tripolis nappe (comprising the Tripolis carbonate series and including a basal Phyllite–Quartzite unit). It consists of interbedded dolomitic layers, represented principally by algally laminated peloidal mudstones, foraminiferal, peloidal and ooidal grainstones, as well as by fine-grained detrital carbonate layers, in which coarse baroque dolomite crystals and dolomite nodules are dispersed. Baroque dolomite is present as pseudomorphs after evaporite crystals (nodules and rosettes), which grew penecontemporaneously by displacement and/or replacement of the host sediments (sabkha diagenesis). However, portions of the evaporites show evidence of resedimentation. Pre-existing evaporites predominantly consisted of skeletal halite crystals that formed from fragmentation of pyramidal-shaped hoppers, as well as of anhydrite nodules and rosettes (salt crusts). All microfacies are characteristic of peritidal depositional environments, such as sabkhas, tidal flats, shallow hypersaline lagoons, tidal bars and/or tidal channels. Along most horizons, the Trypali unit is strongly brecciated. These breccias are of solution-collapse origin, forming after the removal of evaporite beds. Evaporite-related diagenetic fabrics show that there was extensive dissolution and replacement of pre-existing evaporites, which resulted in solution-collapse of the carbonate beds. Evaporite replacement fabrics, including calcitized and silicified evaporite crystals, are present in cements in the carbonate breccias. Brecciation was a multistage process; it started in the Triassic, but was most active in the Tertiary, in association with uplift and ground-water flow (telogenetic alteration). During late diagenesis, in zones of intense evaporite leaching and brecciation, solution-collapse breccias were transformed to rauhwackes. The Trypali carbonate breccias (Trypali unit) are lithologically and texturally similar to the Triassic solution-collapse breccias of the Ionian zone (continental Greece). The evaporites probably represent a major diapiric injection along the base of the parautochthonous series (metamorphic Ionian series) and also along the overthrust surface separating the parautochthonous series from the Tripolis nappe (Phyllite–Quartzite and Tripolis series). The injected evaporites were subsequently transformed into solution-collapse breccias.