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ABSTRACT

Shell aragonite from ammonites collected in the Upper Cretaceous of West Greenland was investigated by means of macroscopic/microscopic visual evaluation, analyses of calcite/aragonite ratios, carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions and Sr and Mg concentrations of shell carbonate and of amino acid compositions of organic matrices. The results are:

(1) Material visually classified as well preserved may have suffered diagenetic modifications of mineralogical and chemical composition. (2) Of the chemical and mineralogical parameters studied, amino acid composition, calcite/aragonite ratios and magnesium concentrations were found to be most sensitive to post-depositional modifications, while oxygen isotope composition and strontium concentrations showed detectable diagenetic modifications only after more pronounced alterations. (3) Based on the Mg/Ca ratios and calcite concentrations of the shell aragonite, a diagenetic classification has been proposed grouping the material into well preserved, moderately preserved and poorly preserved. (4) The chemical and mineralogical composition of the best preserved material suggests that the Upper Cretaceous ammonites had a shell composition similar to that of modern Nautilus and other aragonite-shelled molluscs.