Abstract

Carbonate-fluorapatite, the mineral of marine phosphorite, is found to form contemporaneously within the sediments by the replacement of skeletal carbonate in a core sample of foraminiferal ooze from the eastern tropical Pacific. A systematic downward increase in apatite within the core suggests that replacement is continuing at a decreasing rate in the sediments. The widespread distribution of foraminiferal ooze on the California borderland and its common association with phosphorite suggest that this material may play a role in the phosphorite accumulation there. The reaction of CaCO3 with soluble phosphate in conditions favoring the slow dissolution of the carbonate mineral may result within the sediments in an increase of the carbonate ion concentration, which appears to control the rate of replacement.

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