Quaternary iron-manganese deposits and associated pelagic sediments (radiolarian clay and chert, gypsiferous mud) from the Tyrrhenian Sea

Authors

  • ALBERTO CASTELLARIN,

    1. Istituto di Geologia e Paleontologia, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni, 67-40127 Bologna and Laboratorio di Geologia Marina del C.N.R., Via Zamboni, 65-40127 Bologna, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author
  • RENZO SARTORI

    1. Istituto di Geologia e Paleontologia, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni, 67-40127 Bologna and Laboratorio di Geologia Marina del C.N.R., Via Zamboni, 65-40127 Bologna, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author

ABSTRACT

Various types of pelagic sediments occur on a dolomitic basement located at some 1000 m depth on the eastern slope of the Tyrrhenian Sea, i.e. in the most internal, collapsed and presently submerged portion of southern Apennines. The deposits include laminated limonites, muds with manganosiderite nodules, radiolarian clays, opal chert, gypsiferous muds, lutites with calcareous plankton, and all are of Quaternary age. They are interpreted as products of the interactions between submarine hydrothermal activity and deep-sea sediments, and represent the first documented case of submarine hydrothermal sediments not directly connected to active ridges or volcanic buildings and deposits. The iron-rich sediments are very similar to many other reported examples of submarine thermal activity. The radiolarian clay displays very abundant and almost exclusively radiolarian tests, and no calcareous fossils, but shows numerous dissolution traces of carbonate skeletons. It has been interpreted as deriving from a primary bloom of siliceous plankton followed by an extensive leaching of the calcareous tests on the seafloor. The radiolarian chert shows a very early and yet unknown Opal-A cement. The immediate source of the cement is biogenous silica, whereas the ultimate source is the bloom of siliceous plankton triggered by the hydrothermal and volcanic activity. The gypsum muds are the result of a hydrothermal chemical remobilization of the Messinian sulphate beds which overlie the dolomitic basement.

Ancillary