Diagenetic evolution of the Carnian Wetterstein platforms of the Eastern Alps



The carbonate platforms of the Wetterstein Formation of the Eastern Alps (Drau Range and Northern Calcareous Alps) show a distinct facies zonation of reefs and lagoons. While some lagoonal areas were episodically emerged and formed lagoonal islands, others remained permanently flooded. The scale of near surface, meteoric or marine diagenesis was related to this lagoonal topography. At shallow burial depth, cementation was dominated by altered marine solutions, which additionally caused recrystallization of metastable constituents of the sediment and earlier marine cements (high magnesian calcite, aragonite) connected with a carbon and oxygen isotopic change to more negative values.

Deeper burial cementation shows a succession with two types of saddle dolomite and three types of blocky calcite. Carbon and oxygen isotopic values of these cements show a trend towards more negative values from the first to the last generation, in the following succession: clear saddle dolomite—zoned blocky calcite—cloudy saddle dolomite—post-corrosion blocky calcite—replacive blocky calcite. Fluid inclusion studies of the carbonate cements are interpreted to indicate a deeper burial temperature development that first increases from 175 to 317°C, followed by a temperature decrease to 163–260°C, and subsequent increase up to 316°C, whereby the samples of the Drau Range always show the lowest values. Calculations of the isotopic composition of the water, from which the carbonate cements were precipitated, yielded positive δ18O values from 6.66 to 17.81%o (SMOW), which are characteristic for formation and/or metamorphic waters. Also, the isotopic compositions of the palaeofluids probably changed during deeper burial diagenesis, following the temperature development.