Diagenesis of Barremian-Aptian platform carbonates (the Urgonian Limestone Formation of SE France): near-surface and shallow-burial diagenesis



The diagenesis of carbonate platform sediments is controlled by the original facies and mineralogy, climate, sea-level changes and burial history; these controls are clearly seen in the diagenesis of the Urgonian platform carbonates of SE France. Early diagenesis in the Urgonian platform included the precipitation of marine cements, dissolution of rudist shells and minor karstification. Diagenetic features produced during this phase were controlled by several falls in relative sea-level during the Barremian to mid-Aptian punctuating platform sedimentation, the original mineralogy of the sediment and the prevailing semi-arid/arid climate in the region at this time. Following a relative sea-level rise and further sedimentation, progressive burial of the platform led to minor compaction, followed by precipitation of coarse, equant, zoned to non-luminescent, calcite cement. This cement was cut by later stylolites, suggesting a relatively shallow-burial origin. Stable isotope (mean values - 7.94%δ18O and 0.36%δ13C) and trace element (mean values of Fe 334 ppm, Mn 92 ppm and Sr 213 ppm) data suggest that these cements precipitated from meteoric fluids at temperatures slightly elevated relative to depositional temperatures.

A variable thickness of replacive dolomite which occurs preferentially within the shelf-margin facies of the lower part of the Urgonian post-dates mechanical fracturing and chemical compaction, but pre-dates the main phase of stylolitization. It is probable that the dolomitizing fluid was sourced by the early compaction-driven release of connate fluids held within the underlying muddy units.

The burial history of these rocks suggests that calcite cementation and dolomitization took place at relatively shallow burial depths (1–1.5 km). The overall diagenetic history of the Urgonian Limestone Formation is a reflection of the pre-conditioning of the platform limestones by climate, sea level, tectonics and the shallow burial depths experienced by the platform during the later Mesozoic.