Biogenic carbonate minerals are widely used as archives in paleoenvironmental research, providing substantial information for past depositional and diagenetic regimes. However, nearly all biogenic carbonates undergo post-mortem diagenetic alteration to variable degrees. Diagenetic features are essentially caused by complex fluid-solid interaction including recrystallization and neomorphosis of shell architecture and related geochemical resetting. A common conception is that a given primary shell texture is replaced by a secondary fabric via micro-scale dissolution-reprecipitation reactions that may reach geochemical and/or isotopic equilibrium with the diagenetic fluid. Here we document that the process of petrographic and geochemical alteration of a biogenic carbonate archive progresses stepwise, and the re-equilibration processes can be separated in space and time. More specifically, attached and bound aqueous fluids within the shell organic matter and fluid inclusions likely play a crucial role in the early stages of alteration within a relatively rock-buffered system. Degradation of organics was observed via decreased sulfur concentration and decreased fluorescence. In this early stage of alteration, the conversion of micro-scale aragonite biominerals to metastable diagenetic calcite (meso)crystals is documented by RAMAN spectroscopy, electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and a decrease in strontium concentrations. Further stabilization to larger, neomorphosed calcite crystals resulted from re-equilibration with external fluids and was evidenced by EBSD, oxygen isotope data, and further reduction of strontium. Spatial chemical and isotope data were used to decipher the impact of fluid availability and transfer behavior, i.e. carbonate-buffered versus diagenetic-fluid buffered, and isotope and element exchange behavior, and analyzed in context to textural alteration features. These data suggest that during diagenesis, the evolution to more sustainable (diagenetically induced) fabrics is accompanied by individual reaction steps traced by elemental and isotopic signatures. Kinetics, and thus degree of diagenetic alteration of biominerals at a given exposure to physicochemical alteration conditions is initially strongly controlled by the micro- to nano-scale internal architecture governing the availability and transfer of aqueous fluids. Results shown here have significance for those concerned with biogenic carbonate archives and have wider implications for a mechanistic understanding of carbonate diagenesis.
- isotope geochemistry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science