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This study investigates the Late Aptian–earliest Albian platform carbonates of the Benicàssim area (Maestrat Basin, Spain) in order to assess the relationship between bed-parallel stylolites and the flow of diagenetic fluids during dolomitization and subsequent hydrothermal alteration. Dolostones and burial dolomite and calcite cements were studied by a combination of field geology and standard petrographic and isotope analysis. Field data indicate that dolostones are closely associated with seismic-scale synsedimentary faults, preferentially replace grain-dominated facies and typically show wavy dolomitizing fronts that mostly correspond to bed-parallel stylolites. The dolostones are corroded and contain bed-parallel pores that are filled with hydrothermal saddle dolomite and blocky calcite cements. This late calcite cement frequently engulfs clasts of the host dolostones, suggesting that hydraulic brecciation likely associated with overpressured fluid occurred. Results indicate that stylolites play a key role in the distribution of dolostones and subsequent hydrothermal mineralization. During the replacement stage, stylolites acted as baffles for the dolomitzing fluids controlling lateral fluid flow and resulting in the stratabound dolostone distribution. During the post-dolomitization stage, stylolites became preferred pathways for overpressured hydrothermal corrosive and mineralizing fluids that likely came from the underlying basement, and increased bed-parallel stylolitic porosity and probably also permeability.

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