Pyrite in Silurian graptolites from Bornholm, Denmark

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Abstract

Pyrite is present in many horizons in dark grey graptolite-rich shales of Llandovery-early Wenlock age on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. The pyrite usually occurs as internal moulds of the graptolites, but rarely on the outside of the periderm. Occasionally the internal pyrite protrudes from the apertures of the rhabdosomes. Investigations using reflected light and scanning electron microscopy have shown that the internal pyrite is texturally variable. The abundance of the framboids is variable, ranging from thin linings on the inner side of the periderm to nearly complete infills of the graptolite colony. The pyrite also occurs as densely packed microcrystals and as larger euhedral crystals in all transitions from individual crystals, often developed on the surfaces of the framboids. to compact aggregations. Some of the pyritized graptolites have central cavities in the rhabdosomal linings. Within the cavities there are striking stalactite-like forms of pyrite suspended from the roof of the periderm. Some specimens have late infillings by calcite in the central part of the tubes. Most of the internal pyrite must have been formed very early during the taphonomic processes operating on the graptolites, pre-dating the compaction of the sediment. The framboids were first precipitated, followed by the aggregated euhedral pyrite. It is debatable whether the tubes of the graptolites were fluid-filled or partially gas-filled when the stalactites were formed; the latter is the more likely. The beds with fully pyritized graptolites might represent an episodic increase of sedimentation rate and oxygen content of bottom waters. □Pyrite, Silurian, graptolites, Bornholm, stalactites, early diagenesis.

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