The diagenetic history of some septarian concretions from the Kimmeridge Clay, England


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    Amoco (UK) Exploration Co., Amoco House, 1 Stephen Street, London W1P 2AU.



Large septarian concretions from the Kimmeridge Clay, up to 1.2 m in diameter, have centres comprising anhedral calcite microspar passing into margins of radiating fibrous calcite microspar, with a pyrite-rich zone at the transition. Septarian veins formed and were lined with brown calcite synchronously with fibrous matrix growth, with white calcite precipitated in septarian cavities after concretion growth ceased. Septarian veins, filled only with white calcite, formed later, at the same time as the outermost calcite microspar crystals were enlarged.

The concretions were buried in the Late Jurassic to about 130 m, and in the Late Cretaceous to about 550 m, with uplift between. Oxygen isotopes show that the concretion grew throughout the first burial, with septarian veins forming from about 30 m depth onwards. Later septarian veins formed between about 200 and 500 m during the second burial.

Carbon isotopes show that the compact inner matrix grew in the sulphate reduction zone, the end of which is marked by the pyrite-enriched zone. Dissolving shells, and possibly minor methanogenic carbonate, slowly diluted sulphate reduction-zone carbonate during deeper burial. During early concretion growth, Mg and Sr were depleted in the pore water. During later stages of the first burial, Mg, Sr, Mn and Fe all increased, especially after concretion growth ceased. During the second burial, Fe, Mn and Mg decreased as calcite precipitated, implying relatively closed systems for these elements.

Synchronous formation of septarian fractures and fibrous calcite matrix shows that the Kimmeridge Clay became overpressured during the later stages of both burials.