Abstract

The Lower Ordovician Aguathuna Formation (∼100 m thick) is formed of shallow-marine carbonates, which constitute the uppermost part of the St. George Group of western Newfoundland. Sedimentation was paused by a major subaerial exposure (St. George Unconformity), which likely developed a significant pore system in the underlying carbonates by meteoric dissolution. The sequence has been affected by multiphase dolomitization that caused complex changes in the rock porosity. The Aguathuna dolomites are classified into three main generations ranging in crystal size between ∼4 µm and 2 mm. The occurrence of fabric-retentive dolomicrites implies that dolomitization likely started during the early stages of diagenesis. Although dolomitization is pervasive in the upper part of the formation and significantly occludes the pores, some intervals in the lower part have higher porosity. The development of lower permeable layers overlain by an impermeable (seal) cap suggests a possible potential diagenetic trap. Unlike sabkha deposits, the Aguathuna carbonates do not have evaporite interlayers. Furthermore, the low Sr contents (∼96 ppm) and the δ18O values of earlier dolomites (–3.3‰ to –6.9‰ VPDB (Vienna Pee Dee Belemnite)) are also difficult to reconcile with a brine origin. The Sr/Ca molar ratios (0.0067–0.0009), calculated for the earliest dolomitizing fluid, suggest a modified seawater origin, likely mixed sea and meteoric waters. The least radiogenic 87Sr/86Sr values of the earliest dolomite are consistent with those of early Ordovician seawater, which supports an early-stage diagenesis. Petrography, geochemistry, and fluid inclusions of the late dolomites suggest precipitation at higher temperatures (∼73–95 °C) in deeper burial environments from hydrothermal solutions.

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